For most of us, Parotta has always been a restaurant affair!! But, sometimes we do crave for food that’s really not part of our everyday menu. Well, I’m talking about Kerala Style Parotta or Malabar paratha, which is a thing of immense joy that’s super delicious but preparing requires a special skillset and it’s also time consuming. I always wanted to give it a try. Believe me, truly exceptional parottas can be made right at home. Yet another addition to my repertoire of Indian Breads.
A Parotta, Porotta, Barota or Paratha is a layered flat bread usually available as street food and in restaurants across Kerala and some parts of Southern India, notably in Tamil Nadu. The most surprising part is that the recipe uses very basic ingredients and the result is quite spectacular. A good Kerala Style Parotta/Malabar paratha is flaky yet fluffy, crisp yet soft. This is a variant of the North Indian Laccha Paratha.
Well, to make a perfect parotta, one needs time, patience and a lot of practice. I guess, this is one reason why the cooks in Tamil Nadu who make these parottas are called parotta ‘masters’. You will be awestruck while watching a master at work, flipping the dough, slapping it on a greased tabletop, and spinning. That’s the reason it’s hardly ever made in homes. But, once you have the right recipe and a few tricks up your sleeve….you are good to go!!
I decided to crack the code and my parotta making marathon began in the kitchen. But, to my surprise, I was happy with the second attempt. And here’s my secret to making flaky parathas.
The key to getting the perfect Kerala Style Parotta/Malabar paratha lies in kneading the dough with warm water, letting the dough rest for the gluten to develop, shaping and rolling, and also in stretching the dough as thin as possible so that more layers can be incorporated. If you have ever made your own puff pastry or croissants, you will sense some déjà vu. The whole idea is to roll the dough as thin as possible and then create layers. Finally, cook this parotta with lots of oil.
Loads of oil….All Purpose Flour, definitely not healthy for regular eating!! Occasional indulgence is fine though 🙂
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Off to Kerala Style Parotta!!
Steps to make Kerala Style Parotta:
Preparing the dough:
- Mix together all the dry ingredients and then add oil and yoghurt. Mix well to incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
- Slowly, add lukewarm water and knead for 10 minutes to form a smooth and elastic dough.
- Cover and let the dough rest for 25-30 minutes to let the gluten develop. One rule of thumb to remember is that the bigger quantity of dough, the longer the rest period has to be.
- Take the dough, moisten your palms with a little oil, knead slightly and divide into equal portions and roll into smooth balls.
- Leave it to rest again for 15-20 minutes.
Let’s see 2 different methods to make the Parotta:
- Take each ball of dough and roll into a long oval shape. Gently pull the sides of the disks to form a large circle. It should spread effortlessly and this happens only if the dough is soft and rested well. The shape doesn’t need to be perfect. Don’t worry if your dough tears in a few places.
- Give the dough a light covering with 1 teaspoon oil (more the better) and spread it all over the surface. You can also sprinkle some flour. This is only if you want to get many layers.
- Starting from the side opposite to you, start pleating the dough. It’s a bit difficult to explain…will post a video soon!! But, let me still try. Pick the dough from the opposite side, fold it in without dropping the dough and pleat it back and forth to stack it neatly.
- You’re now left with with a snake.
- Starting at one end of the pleated dough, roll into a spiral and press the last edge onto the center of the roll.
- Repeat the process with other balls. Rest the spiral rolls for 20 minutes.
- It’s time to roll each one into a perfectly round disc. Make sure to dust each one with a bit of flour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out to a paratha as thick or thin as you like. Don’t worry if the layers are not perfect or sticking, you can always use your hands to stick them together.
- Roll out the dough, gently pull the sides of the disks to form a large circle. and give the dough a light covering with 1 teaspoon oil (more the better) and spread it all over the surface.
- Using a knife, cut into equal thin strips.
- Assemble the strips on top of the other to form one stack of strips, dust some more flour if required and roll into a spiral and press the last edge onto the center of the roll. Rest the spiral rolls for 20 minutes.
- Dust each roll with flour and using a rolling pin, roll out to a paratha as above.
Frying Kerala Style Parotta:
- Heat a pan over medium heat. The pan should be very hot and well oiled before the paratha hit its surface.
- Add some oil and cook on medium low heat for 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes.
- One last brush of oil on both sides ensures that the paratha browns evenly and obtains that fabulous golden sheen.
- Remove the paratha from the pan. For a finishing touch, keep three or four parottas on top of each other and scrunch the parathas between your palms (like clapping hands with parotta in the middle) to break it up a little and bring out its layering. This will make it soft and separate the layers.
- And Kerala Style Parotta is ready!!
- Serve Kerala Style Parotta with any of your favourite Vegetarian Curry or Non Vegetarian Curry.
- I find coconut based curries and the parotta complement each other perfectly! These flaky thin layers will trap coconutty curries or provide the perfectly delicious crisp-soft cover for enveloping any South Indian Stir-Fries. It’s ideal for scooping and dipping!
- I’m serving today with Chettinad Vegetable Kurma.
A Quick Summary:
For the dough:
- 2 cups Maida all purpose flour, heaped cups and about half a cup extra to use for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Yoghurt
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- Lukewarm Water as needed to make the dough (you can replace with milk if you like)
To make Parottas:
- Cooking Oil as needed to grease, shape and to cook with
- Mix together all the ingredients except water for the dough.
- Add water and knead for 10 minutes to form a smooth dough.
- Cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
- Divide into equal portions, roll to balls and rest for 20 minutes.
- Dust each roll with flour and using a rolling pin, roll out to a paratha.
- Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil, spread and sprinkle some flour.
- Start pleating the dough and roll into a spiral. Rest for 20 minutes.
- Heat a pan over medium heat. Slide the paratha into the hot pan.
- Add some oil and cook on medium low heat for 3-4 minutes on both sides.
- Remove the paratha from the pan. When it is slightly warm, use both palms to puff out the layers.
- Serve with your favourite curry.
- Kneading the dough with lukewarm water is important. You can also replace water with milk if you like. Knead the dough well till its smooth and soft.
- You can also include one egg in this recipe. But, you get good parottas even without egg.
- Resting periods between kneading, shaping and rolling is important.
- Keep the dough, balls, and the parottas covered when ever they are idle.
- Stretch the dough as thin as possible so that more layers can be incorporated.
- For frying purpose, oil is better to use than butter/ghee because the latter is on the heavy side.
- Finally, roast the parotta on medium heat to cook evenly and completely.
- Use more oil to make flakey parotta. But, you can reduce it to make it slightly healthy.
- You can prepare parotta with wheat flour for a healthy diet or also use 1:1 ratio of All purpose flour and wheat flour.
- You can freeze parathas for a few days by covering each one with two sheets of baking paper of equal size. Place it in a freezer bag and store. You can reheat it by placing it on a low-heated griddle until it’s fully defrosted.
Many more to come!!…..STAY TUNED!!
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Happy Cooking 🙂