I am often asked what a typical Indian Sunday brunch is. This is a difficult question for me to answer, because there is no such thing as a typical anything in India, as far as I am concerned.
One popular weekend brunch is Cauliflower filled Parathas (flat breads). Parathas can also be filled with other things like potatoes (my favorite), daikon, keema (minced meat) or paneer (home made cheese).
Following is how you make them.
My recipes are simply suggestions. Follow the basic rules and then go to town with it. The fillings are limitless – let me know what you made and what you liked most.
To make the dough
Parathas (flat skillet breads) – makes about 8
3 cups chapatti flour (available in Indian stores) – if unavailable, use equal parts whole what and unbleached white flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup melted butter or vegetable oil
about 3/4 – 1 cup water
½ tsp. ajowain seeds (carom) – optional
extra flour for rolling out dough
extra melted butter or oil for brushing on bread
Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl, or the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup butter or oil. Pulse the food processor a few times until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. With the machine running, gradually pour in the water, until dough leaves the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball. The dough should not be too sticky or dry.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 2 minutes or until dough becomes smooth. Place the dough in a clean bowl; brush with some oil and cover with plastic. Set aside for 30 minutes.
(If not using right away, at this point, the dough can be covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days. Let the dough return to room temperature before rolling).
For the Filling:
1/2 head of cauliflower, grated
2 TBS. grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
1 or 2 green chillies finely minced (put more or less based on your tolerance for heat)
Salt to taste
Now to making the Parathas:
Divide the dough into 8 balls.
Working with 2 pieces at a time, roll the dough into a 6-inch circles on a lightly floured surface.
Place one circle on the board and put 2 heaping tablespoons of the cauliflower mixture on the dough.
Place another disc on top and pinch the two discs together by pressing down.
Start rolling out the stuffed package. Add more flour if needed, to prevent sticking.
Sometimes the cauliflower will ooze out – don’t worry about it – it adds to the flavor of the paratha, when the cauliflower will caramelize on cooking. Roll the paratha as thin as you can, about 1/8 of an inch. Make sure that the thickness is even throughout so that it cooks evenly.
If you have a tawa (Indian flat iron skillet), start to heat it on medium heat. If you don’t have one, use a non stick pan or another well seasoned iron skillet.
When the pan is hot, place the paratha on it. Let cook for a couple of minutes. (leave it alone! No need to fiddle).
Flip it in a couple of minutes, and then brush oil or melted butter. Let the other side cook – flip and brush that side.
You will have to flip the paratha back and forth a few times and press down to make sure that the dough is cooked through. The time that it will take will vary – just make sure that it looks like the following on both sides.
Make all the parathas and put in a piece of foil to keep warm or serve your guests as each one is ready (that’s the old fashioned Indian way – but I am not a fan of this way. I like everyone to be able to sit on the table together and eat).
After they are all made, you are ready to enjoy one of the many Indian Brunches.
(I know you know, but I have to say this. You can eat these parathas, anytime – day or night).
In this case, I accompanied the parathas with Indian style scrambled eggs (we’ll talk about that in another post), radish salad and some plain yogurt. Other popular accompaniments are a pat of butter put in the middle of the hot paratha (think pancakes), or any of your favorite Indian pickles and chutneys.
I know this was a long post – but it had to be done.
To recap – make these cauliflower parathas, or fill them with a filling of your choice. Just make sure that the filling is cooked before hand because you won’t have enough time on the skillet to cook things through. Since cauliflower can be eaten raw – we don’t cook it first. If you use potatoes or meat – make sure they are cooked.
If you make these parathas, please tell me what you made, how you fared. I live for comments from you. Such is the state of my life.
Now get in the kitchen and cook something!