Saturday, March 12, 2011

Aloo Paratha (Mellow Bakers: March) & Cream of Wild Rice Soup

Aloo Paratha is a type of Indian flatbread, which is stuffed with a spicy boiled potato and onion mixture.  This was one of the breads that we could choose to make in March for Mellow Bakers, and since I'm still working on my starter for one of the other breads, I chose to try this one first. 

First of all was to gather all of my ingredients.  I needed some ghee and decided it'd be fun to learn how to make it.  After consulting several online videos/articles I made ghee during lunch one day.  I melted a stick of unsalted butter over low heat, hovering over it for ~ 45 minutes.  After the first 10 minutes, I began skimming off the foamy stuff floating on the surface and did this for about 5 minutes.  One article said the process takes ~ 35-45 minutes and one of the videos I watched said the ghee was done when you started to perceive a toffee smell.  I turned off the heat when it smelled toffeeish, and poured my ghee into a pint glass jar with a coffee filter affixed on top, to catch any impurities still left in the clear, golden ghee.  I left the ghee to sit on the counter a couple days while I gathered everything else.

One of my favorite blogs is Aparna's at My Diverse Kitchen.  She is a vegetarian cook living in Northern India so I knew she would surely have something on her blog regarding paratha.  Sure enough she had a video, which I'm including here,

and a recipe for her version of aloo paratha.  Since the recipe in the video was for making 8 parathas, I went ahead and used their ingredient list for making the dough.  However, I neglected to look back at our Bread book to read that the dough should be made w/ 2 parts whole wheat flour to 1 part unbleached bread flour.  Oooops!!  I made my dough with all whole wheat flour, but it tasted fine and was easy to work with.  For my potato filling I kind of looked to Aparna's recipe for the spices and I decided to use a couple Yukon Gold potatoes (a larger potato with yellow skin and golden, waxy flesh) and red onion.   The spices I used were:

chili powder (1/8 tsp + pinch)
coriander (1/8 tsp + pinch)
cumin (1/2 tsp)
garam masala (1/4 tsp)-this is one of my favorite spice blends consisting mainly of coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon.

I forgot to add salt to my potato filling and I really wanted to include finely chopped fresh chilies in there too, but it is not the season for them at the farmer's market and local groceries only have tasteless, shriveled orbs that they call hot peppers.  Oh, I also included a clove of minced garlic and ~ 1 Tbsp minced cilantro in the filling.  After boiling, cooling, and peeling potatoes and sauteing my onions, garlic and spices, I mixed everything together in the skillet, then dumped into a bowl to cool.  Here are my formed potato balls ready to go:

and here we are ready to fill our rolled out disks of dough with potato:

I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to pull all the dough up over the potato so I cheated and probably used less potato than I should have.  I will make bigger balls of potato next time.  I had no trouble bringing the dough together around the balls of potato and pinching the tops closed.  I then rolled the balls to ~ 1/4 inch thickness and tossed them into my preheated cast-iron skillet, which I had to reseason for this project.

I put a thin coating of olive oil in the skillet just in case I had sticking issues.  After cooking 2 minutes on each side, I brushed each side with some ghee I had heated on low, and cooked a minute or so more on each side.  They got puffy as they were cooking and the last couple even puffed up like pita breads do when baked in the oven.

We didn't eat until almost 7:30, but the adventure was worth the wait and we had some wonderful, piping hot cream of wild rice soup (thickened w/ potato flour) to go with our aloo paratha.

We definitely want to up the spicyness of these next time, including some fresh, hot chili peppers, from the farmers market, but this was excellent for our first Indian cuisine.  I will have to work on learning to make some chutney variations to go with this.  Tucker, my sous chef, approved of these too, judging by the amount of drool on my husband's pant leg, but unfortunately for him he wasn't allowed to taste test these because of the spices.
Thank you for visiting my blog and stop by mellow bakers online to see what the rest of us were up to in March!


  1. Those look totally delicious. Can't wait to get all my stuff together and give these a try.

  2. These look so great! I made the potato filling and the ghee this afternoon...making these with Indian-spiced chicken and tomato chutney for dinner tomorrow...hoping they turn out as well as yours did! =)

  3. Gorgeous ! I'm definitely going to have a go at these too.

    Your lovely pictures have brought the whole process to life for me - thanks Melanie!

  4. Your stuffed parathas look perfect. Am happy my blog was of some help.
    In India, we use all WW flour to make our parathas, so your version was authentic. :)