I created this recipe in an attempt to replicate the best meal I had in India (in the few days before I got ill). They were chilli parathas, circular fried flaky breads with fresh chilli slices all the way through them, and I had them for breakfast in Haridwar!
Haridwar is an amazinig vegetarian city in North India and I arrived there in the middle of pilgrimage when it was packed and people were making offerings and chanting by the ganges. I ordered the chilli parathas at a cafe that had no menu, as I saw them being served to somebody else and thought “Yes! That’s what I want to eat!”
I couldn’t find any recipes online for what I’d experienced, so I adapted this plain paratha recipe to make it my own, and added fresh chillis of course.
Makes 4-6 parathas.
You will need:
- 250g plain flour plus additional for rolling out
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus significantly more for brushing and frying the breads
- Water as required for the dough (approx 100ml).
- 2-3 large chillies, preferably green
1. Combine flour, salt and cumin seeds (if using) in a bowl. Make a well and add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus enough water for the dough to form a ball. You may need to dust with more flour to avoid the dough being too sticky.
2. Divide your dough into 4 or more pieces, depending on how big and thick you want your breads to be. I divided it into 4 and had fairly large fairly thick breads.
3. Chop your chillies coarsely, and divide into equal portions for each of the breads you are going to make.
4. Take the first piece and roll out into a large circle or square. Brush with oil (I use my hand rather than a brush as I find this easier). Fold in half and brush again. Repeat until you have a small ball again, then roll out and repeat (second repetition could be skipped for a less oily version!). This stage is what gives the parathas their distinctive flaky texture.
5. Roll out your bread for a third time, place a portion of fresh chillis in the middle. Fold each edge inwards to make a parcel, and then roll out for the fourth and final time into its final shape. Roll out fairly thin to ensure that they cook all the way through, say 1/2 cm thickness. The chillies should be well crushed into the dough, and will show through in the flatbread. Set aside on a plate ready for frying.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 for each of your breads.
Tip: I start my first bread frying while I am rolling out my second bread, and so on (see following steps).
7. Heat yet more oil (1-2 Tbsp) in a frying pan (a non-stick pan will make the job easier). When the oil begins to gently smoke you are ready to fry your first bread. Flip the bread when the underside is golden brown. When cooked on both sides set aside on kitchen roll until ready to serve.
Serve with a tasty curry of your choice!