I love hot,straight from the griddleÂ flatbreads.With a dollop of butter and chai (tea) on side, the taste is better thanÂ the bestÂ foods around. Growing up, in my badi mummy's (grandma)Â house, winters were a season for parathas of all sorts.On few days we would just feed onÂ stuffed parathas for dinner with home churned white butter and pickled vegetables.It was a simple meal, yet very satisfying. My grandmother used to make parathasÂ with dough kneaded just when it was time to roll the bread,sometimes stuffing the stretchy, gluten layers with shredded mooli (daikon)Â or spiced crumbled cauliflower, and, a lot of timesÂ with the winter greens mixed in to hide but form a robust & flavorful dough. All the greens and vegetablesÂ came from the house grown patch, of whichÂ I have talked about a lot in my previous posts.On daysÂ when theÂ power was out, she would igniteÂ angithis (small clay containers of fire) in the verandah,repeatedly waving old newspapers in front of the glowing coal pieces. If the potatoes were plenty from the yard, they were put as it is inside the gusto of the brazier. We sat around the heated fire,wrapped in sweaters and shawls,our faces lighted by the flickering candles,soaking warmth of the burning charcoal, chit chatting and tearing bites from the fresh made hotÂ parathas. A few potatoes were taken out, smashed with fork, a drizzle ofÂ ghee, salt & chill powder and a rustic side was ready.With each morsel,wafted a aromatic steam smelling of garlic, fenugreek and warm spices. Many winter evenings were spent like this, no invertors or generators, a pre convenience era you would say.
MakingÂ rotisÂ orÂ parathasÂ is such an everyday thing for me. I make flatbreads of some kind each single day, it never feels like a chore, it is such a happy routine. I fail to understand when people say its too much work.They say when you love something you embrace it as joy. Maybe because I am used to it that I secretly enjoy it or I cook because I care.If you have dough in the refrigerator,its a matter of minutes to get the bread together.
The approach of spring season is usually indicative of the end ofÂ methiÂ season.To me it leaves behindÂ a similar departed feeling of sorts when fresh tomatoes start vanishing at the knock of fall. I loveÂ methiÂ leaves, I am addicted to them, sometimes I specially go to the store just to pick them, they are part of our weekly menu- they are so flavorful, addictively bitter and so good for you. I am yet to spot freshÂ methiÂ leaves in non- indian grocersÂ here in the States so you will have to make a visit to indian grocery to get these.However, few of my friends compare its taste to fresh watercress sometimes.I haven't tried the substitution but this recipe can very well be used for any kind of greens you like - think finely shredded rainbow chard, think tucson kale or think good ol'spinach (the cooking variety).
I rollÂ the flatbreads both as triangles as well as well in the usual circle shapes. The triangle one needs more oil to be brushed inside layers and definitely comes out much more soft & flaky.You can refer to a previous post on step by step for makingÂ triangleÂ paratha. The husband prefers those. But you could do any way. Circles or triangles - they taste awesome!
These methiÂ parathas are so easy to make.Throw everything together and knead the dough.They are soft, flaky and packed with taste and nutrients. Let the dough sit in the refrigerator for no more than aÂ day or two and make them to go along with meals or just enjoy rolled up like a cigar all on its own with a cup of chai. I would recommend making them before this winter season goes away.
Methi Paratha (Fenugreek Leaves Flatbread)
- 1.5 cup methi fresh or frozen fenugreek leaves
- 1.5 cup atta whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup besan gram flour or use chickpea flour
- ⅛ teaspoon hing asafetida
- ⅛ teaspoon ajwain
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil optional
- 4 tablespoon onion finely chopped
- 1 scallion finely chopped
- 2 garlic finely chopped
- ½ tablespoon ginger finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon cilantro finely chopped
- 2-3 green chillies finely chopped, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ -¼ cup water or as needed
- Oil for frying the paratha I use avocado oil
- Pick the methi leaves from stems. Discard the stems and wash the leaves so that all the dirt is washed away. Drain them completely.You don't need to dry them out but ensure that the are not watery. Use a paper towel if needed. If you are using the frozen variety, squeeze water from the leaves and finely chop the methi leaves. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together flours, ajwain, hing and turmeric. Add oil and mix with the flour.
- Add the chopped methi along with onions,scallions, garlic, cilantro, ginger and green chillies. Combine.
- Add little water at a time and knead to a smooth dough. As the flour absorbs water, it will start clumping up into a ball.
- Use your knuckles to flatten the dough out and then pull it all together towards yourself, using your palm & fingers, then knead again with knuckles to flatten out. Knead this way for 5-6 minutes to form a smooth dough.
- At any point you feel that the flourÂ is tight or drying out, add a light splash water (but not too much) Towards the last 1-2 minutes of kneading, use both hands to knead for a very smooth & elastic dough (this will work up the gluten really fast). Once the dough looks and feels really really smooth, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 - 20 minutes.Tip - Do not to make a very loose dough because as it sits, it will soften. If you are not planning to make parathas right away, place the dough into an air tight container with lid and refrigerate.
- When ready to make parathas, uncover and divide into equal portions. Take each dough portion between palms of your both hands and roll to make as smooth balls as possible. Flatten the balls. Get some loose atta on a separate dish.
- Place dough ball on a floured rolling surface. Flatten out lightly on edges using tips of your finger. Using a rolling-pin, start rolling the dough to a flat circle.Dust the board as and when required when rolling. Initially, you will need to dust more but it will get easier as you continue.
- Using a rolling-pin, roll the ball into a 3 inch circle. Brush a little oil. Fold into a semi-circle.Brush oil on the semi-circle and fold again to form a triangle.
- Sprinkle the top with more flour and carefully with the help of rolling-pin, roll out until its ¼ inch thick.
- Spread some oil on the heated griddle.Carefully lift the rolled out dough with your hands and place on the griddle.Let cook for 2 minutes on medium heat and then flip over using a spatula.
- Using a spoon,spread 1 tablespoon oil thoroughly on the first side while the second side is cooking. Flip again and repeat brushing oil on the second side. Cook both sides till you see small brown spots and smell the aroma of cooked dough. In some cases the paratha will fluff up while cooking.Dont worry you did a good job if that happens. Be careful of the escaping steam though.
- Once cooked & golden brown on both sides, remove from griddle using a spatula & transfer to cooling rack to cool slightly so that they dont become soggy , later you store them in a box lined with dry cloth or paper towel.Serve warm with pickle, curries, salad or raita.
- If you do not get fresh methi leaves, look for frozen methi in the freezer. You can it in this recipe after thawing it and squeezing excess water out.
- Make small batches of this dough.Its gets sticky and soft as it sits and the vegetables start leaving water from the salt. I do not keep it for more than 2 days. The taste changes after a couple of days. You can half the recipe if you want.
- This recipe can very well be used for any kind of greens you like - think chard, tucson kale or good ol'spinach.