Parathas with Herbs

Easy to make, flaky Indian flat breads that are so easy to make and better for you than you’d think. I gobbled mine up warm with a bit of butter right before eating a version of this frittata. DSC_0832 Makes 4 Parathas. (Serves four moderately hungry people who are eating something else, or two very hungry people who may or may not be eating other things.)

  • 2/3 C. all purpose flour
  • 2/3 C. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tspn. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 C. milk (I suggest almond or rice milk for vegans)
  • 1 Tbspn. butter (vegan butter works great, or use olive oil)
  • Herbs (I used chives) (1/8-1/4 C. finely chopped fresh herbs, 1-2 Tbspn. dried herbs)

Combine the flours and salt in a bowl. Mix. Add the milk and the olive oil. Stir until a dough forms. (You may need to add a bit more flour or a bit more milk in order to get a workable dough.) Knead the dough for approximately five minutes. (You can easily knead it in the bowl.) Leave the dough in the bowl for 15 minutes to 1 hour. (If you’re leaving it for more than 15 minutes, cover the dough with a clean and slightly damp towel.)

parathas 1

dough sitting for 15 minutes + chopped chives

At this point, you can take part of the dough, wrap in it plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for later. If you’re cooking for yourself, I suggest putting half the dough in the fridge so you can have extra-fast and extra-easy warm parathas another night. Use the dough within four days though. But assuming you’re making all four parathas right now: divide the dough into four pieces. On a lightly dusted surface, roll each out until approx. 1/8 inch thick. Lightly rub some softened butter or oil on the parathas. Then, sprinkle on your herbs. (You could also sprinkle on some cheese, grind pepper, etc.) Roll up the parathas into a log, then smush it flat.

parathas 5parathas 3parathas 4

Then roll up the “smushed log” into a spiral shape. Let the spirals sit for 1/2 hour – 1 hour. (Especially if you’re letting them sit for longer rather than less, cover them with a clean and slightly damp cloth.) 10 minutes or so before you’re reading to cook them, start heating your grill/a lightly oiled cast iron skillet on low. parathas 6Roll out the spirals into a circle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Cook on the pre-heated skillet or grill for a few minutes on each side, until they’re lightly browned. Eat plain or lightly buttered, or use them to scoop up a thick soup/stew.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Pulling from the Flickr archives — simple cinnamon swirl bread I only make this when I have extra pizza dough, but, well, pizza dough is just plain white bread (or plain wheat bread), the way I make it. (The lesson: never make one loaf of bread. You need at least one for the freezer and at least one to give away.) Made with extra focaccia dough. (Which is essentially plain white bread) In spite of this, I’ll give you the recipe for just one loaf.

  • Dissolve 1 Tablespoon yeast in 1 cup warm (not hot, warm) water
  • When the yeast is dissolved (about 5 minutes), add a splash of oil (1 Tbspn., I guess), 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Then add flour (white, ideally hi-gluten, although you could easily throw at least a cup of whole wheat flour in this). Add flour until the gooey mess starts to look like dough, something that could be coaxed into forming a ball.
  • Knead for about 10 minutes. (No! Don’t panic. You can knead. See this video, if you need some guidance.)
  • Allow the dough to rise until it doubles, approximately 1/2 – 1 hour. (Hint: as long as it rises enough, it doesn’t really matter if it rises extra. So you can feel free to disappear for an hour or so. I guess you should cover the dough with a towel, though.)
  • Punch down your puffy dough and lightly flour a work surface. Get a rolling pin and roll out the dough until it’s as long as your bread pan. It doesn’t really matter how wide your dough is as long as it’s approximately 1 cm. thick. (Dough being fussy? Hint: when working with bread dough, it’s best to let the dough sit for a few minutes after trying to roll it. So, roll, sit, roll, sit, roll. It probably won’t cooperate without a little breather between rollings.)
  • Sprinkle the dough generously with brown sugar. Shake on some cinnamon.
  • OR: cheese version! Sprinkle grated cheese, or spread a cheese spread. If you’re doing this, herbs and/or sea salt would be great too!
  • Carefully roll the dough up. Tuck/pull the ends over so that the sugar/cheese won’t spill out. Put the “loaf” into an oiled loaf pan.
  • Turn on your oven to 350 degrees. Let the loaf rise for 20 minutes or so while the over heats up.
  • Bake approximately 30 minutes, or until the loaf is lightly browned. (Hint: tip the loaf out of the pan and tap/knock on the bottom. If the bread sounds “hollow,” the loaf is done.
  • Cool … AND EAT, DUH.