Paratas, Please!

Para-whats?  Paratas!  Reminiscent of a Mexican tortilla, paratas are my go-to flat bread when it comes to Indian cuisine.  They are easy and really quick to prepare; it’ll take about 35 minutes total : 15 minutes down time while the dough sits, 15 minutes preparation, and about 5 minutes cooking time.  Now that’s my kind of fast food!

Like many small-town kids, I didn’t have my first taste of “real” Indian cuisine until my first visit to London.  Still in high school, I stayed with a wonderful young host family who would never have allowed me to step foot in a regular old Indian restaurant, no sir!  My curry-baptism was to be home-cooked, thank you very much, made with love and care.  Pauli, aka host-mum and chef extraordinaire, showed me how to make paratas that night – it was the first time I’d ever really done anything in the kitchen other than eat!  It was such an amazing evening – and I think of my sweet little host-family every time I have paratas.

Don’t let the directions intimidate you – you’ll see, it’s really easy!  Just follow these simple steps :

Our favourite paratas

for 8 paratas

300 g whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp flax seeds (optional)

1/2 tsp sunflower seeds (optional)

2 pinches of salt

200 ml soy milk

8 tsp non-dairy butter

1) Using a wooden spoon, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl.

2) Add the soy milk, a little at a time, until a smooth-ish dough forms.  Knead it just a little bit : if it’s too sticky add a little bit of flour, or  add a little soy milk if it’s too dry to stick together.

3) Form into a ball and let it rest 15 minutes.

4) Now divide the dough into 8 balls.

5) Roll out the balls to form little tortillas, about 15 cm in diameter.

6) Put a 1/2 teaspoon of the butter on each disc, and spread it a little.

7) Now roll up the paratas so you get 8 cigars.

8) Let’s make snails!

9) Roll each snail out so that you get again 8 discs.

10) Now cook the paratas in a non-stick pan with a little melted butter over high heat.

11) Paratas are best when served hot from the pan, so serve and eat as soon as possible!

*Sorry for the yellowish pictures…it’s still dark come dinner time!