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Flatbreads


Suvir Saran
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What do you all think of Chapatis, Naans, Parathas, Kulchas, Bhaturas, Rotis and other Indian breads?

Which ones seem more special than the others?

Where do you find your favorite Indian bread?  And what has made it better than other places?

Which lend themselves better to restaurant menus?

What shortcomings do you experience?

How would you like to see them change, if at all?

Do you crave for them?

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I don't think I've tasted my way through the whole roster of Indian breads, and certainly I've not had them in their definitive versions, but in terms of the ones I've tried at Indian restaurants around New York I can say one thing in general: They're fresh.

The significance of this attribute can't be overlooked. As between a superior piece of bread that is several hours old and a relatively unremarkable piece of bread that is just a couple of minutes out of the oven, most people (me included) are going to choose the fresh, hot one. Only professional bakers and academic bread types will choose room-temperature bread over hot.

Take the ubiquitous naan, for example, as served at any restaurant on East 6th Street in Manhattan (the street that I hypothesize has the highest concentration of bad Indian restaurants on the planet). At every one of these restaurants, there is one thing that is absolutely delicious: The naan. When I go to these places, I find myself eating almost nothing but order after order of naan hot from the oven and drizzled with clarified butter (sometimes I'll spoon on a little of that reddish onion condiment that always comes on the table in one of those three-little-stainless-steel-bowls contraptions). I have no idea whether this is the authentic way to serve it.

Strange but true: I prefer naan as served at bad Indian restaurants on East 6th Street to naan as served at better, more expensive Indian restaurants elsewhere in town.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Naans are made rather poorly in most of the better restaurants in NYC. I will eat on 6th Street since I respect your opinion.

The best Naan I have eaten outside of India, was at Bukhara Grill in NYC.  I was amazed at how good it was and also how authentic it was in shape, size and texture to what is served in similar restaurants in New Delhi.  The Naan there the other night took me back to Moti Mahal, a neighborhood restaurant in New Delhi that was one of the first restaurants our city had and has served great meaks for over 50 years to Delhites.

What about the other breads?

The three little condiments are not always served at all Indian restaurants in India.  IN fact, they are served depending on what you order.  The onions are not typical of the North Indian food that one normally sees on the menus.  In the north, onions cured in vinegar are served.  These are small pearl onions and they are delicious.  Again, the best version comes from Moti Mahal.  And they are credited across the board for having given that to the northerners.

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I won't be held responsible for your meal experiences on 6th Street! I'll only take the blame if you think the naan is terrible.

Basically, what I like about what I'll now call "6th Street naan" (also known as "Raj Mahal naan" because that's the restaurant on the block I've found least offensive over the past couple of years) is its utter simplicity. I don't know if this is how naan is supposed to be -- I just like it. It's basically flour and water stretched into a disc and baked at a brutally high temperature. Most of the flavor, I surmise, comes from the slight blistering of the bread as a result of contact with the baking surface.

Sometimes, in my experience, simple things are better at bad restaurants. There's often a certain modesty in a bad restaurant that precludes the recipe-tampering so common at the better restaurants.

Suvir, perhaps you can give us a link to or educate us directly regarding the taxonomy of Indian breads. A couple of the ones you've mentioned, I wouldn't even be able to identify.

It is amazing -- is it not? -- how ubiquitous flatbreads are across cultures and continents. Were we still living in the days when publishers were willing to underwrite expensive and eclectic book projects just because they were good ideas, I'd try to write a book comparing flatbreads around the world. I think one thing I'd learn is that these breads change dramatically when you make them from native grains as opposed to the local grains of other countries (this is certainly true of bread baked in France versus bread baked in the US; you have to modify your recipes because of differences in flour). I bet differences in water also matter somewhat.

Regarding those condiments, do I see a condiment thread coming? Yes, I think I do.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven,

I will work on the links.. by doing a search.. and will write something myself if I cannot succeed in findiing a good link.

Water changes everything, as does the flour and certainly t he humidity.  Breads change a lot very easily from kitchen to kitchen in nyc even made by the same person.  At least the Indian breads.

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Variations of that sort seem universal to artisanal bread baking. I think when you start getting into sourdoughs, the potential for variation becomes even greater. As we've discussed elsewhere on the boards, it's often in the most elemental foods that variations display themselves in the starkest manner.

This was certainly the case when I spent a couple of weeks sampling pita bread in Israel. Categorically, it blew away the pita you get here in the US. I mean, over there it was serious food. And everyplace you got it, it was different. Pita is so similar to naan, yet so different.

Suvir, I'd do those Web searches myself, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to judge the credibility of the results. Thanks for helping me learn about this.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I love Aloo Parathas... so where do you eat good ones?  

We Indians or those I know, prefer home made ones.  They are overstuffed with the potato filling, tend to be crispier and more greasy and more flavorful.  These are made in a skiller rather than the tandoor.

But today, many restaurants are serving skillet made versions to replicate what home made stuffed parathas are meant to be.  This is a refreshing change.  

But again, there are some restaurants, where you can find stuffed parathas made in the tandoor that are well stuffed and really amazing.  But I understand very well, how difficult it is to make stuffed breads in the tandoor.  Their weight can break the bread very easily.

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  • 5 months later...

I've tried to make onion kulcha, working from a recipe of an Indian chef from the Bombay Bar & Grill in Westport, CT, featured by Martha Stewart on her Food TV show.

Pretty good, using the baking stones in my oven, although nowhere near as delicious as the onion kulcha at my favorite Indian takeaway place, which I think are baked in the tandoor. (Whose conditions are not easily replicated at home, as pointed out about naan earlier on up there.)

I like how some Indian flatbread doughs are left to rise and others are ready to go after a short rest--such flexibility can mean the difference between having homemade bread or not, on a given day.

Is onion kulcha a good bread for the home kitchen? Of the Indian breads you mentioned, Suvir, which are best for a home cook?

Any pointers or recipes would be greatly appreciated!

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Suvir - what are pappadrums considered? I enjoy their flavor, and I prefer them roasted over an open flame to deep fried.

I've used them as an accompaniment to various dips and salads. What else would you use them for?

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Priscilla,

While certain Indian chefs may make kulchas at home, they are usually a food eaten outside of the home. I am sure the other members in the Forum will share their experiences. Mine have not been very good. I prefer eating them where they are great. A mediocre Kulcha is still bad food to my taste.

But like you, I crave them and hope someday I can learn how to perfect them at home.

I end up making pooris, bhaturas, parathas, chapatis and even berwins (pooris stuffed with lentils).

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My favourite flatbread is makai ki roti (maize flour) with sarson ka saag (a vegetarian dish made from mustard leaves). The combination of the two with a dollop of clarified butter is heavenly. This is the epitome of what I would call 'village food' or in the words of Anissa Hellou, 'street food', which in my mind is of course the best food in the world. You want to eat the best tandoori bread, go to the village and see how the women make it in two seconds flat. It is fascinating.

If anyone needs the recipe for makai ki roti let me know. It is similar to what Latin Americans eat, what they call arepas, except they are made slightly thicker than the makai ki roti (roti meaning bread.)

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Thanks Oliva!

Makai Ki Roti and Sarson Kaa Saag can be had at Bukhara Grill in NYC.

In fact Eric Asimov had taken me to this Deli called Eat Again Deli in Chelsea. It is a spot frequented by several Indian Sub-Continental cab drivers. At the Deli we ate the Makai Ki Roti and it was even better than at Bukhara.

Oliva,

Do you mind sharing the recipe with us? It is a very rich bread. And needs lots of butter. I hardly ever make it. But when in India in the winter, I absolutely must eat a few days worth.

And yes seeing village women prepare tandooir breads sitting on the street side is fascinating and humbling. Any and all arrogance one would have for restaurant food and grandeur is lost looking at the brilliance of these womens eyes, their magical hands and their zest to feed others. It is in short as good as life can seem. In poverty, in meager surroundings, in heat or cold, these simple folk are able to celebrate like we could not even in the most rich setting.

I always come back wondering what it would take for me to go back to such bliss. Or even if I can ever really be as happy in reality with so little? Am I too rotten and spoiled?

What flatbreads do you make at home Oliva? WHich kind would you prepare when entertaining at home?

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I was first introduced to Indian bread making when I took an introductory Northern Indian cooking course many, many moons ago. It may not have been the most authentic but it was a good start to being able to satisfy any cravings at home. I even purchased a roti fluffer to make the chapatis.

We learned how to make plain parathas, spinach parathas, plain chapatis, corn chapatis, and pooris. The instructor demonstrated variations of rolling parathas dependent upon regions such as Pakistani, Delhi, or Bengali. Suvir, I would be interested in your insight re: history or reasons behind the variations.

I love naan and onion kulcha which I find is only done well in restaurants with a tandoor.

I think I would like to start making the breads again. I have also come across recipes for chilla, idli, and makki ki roti made simply with water and corn flour - I would definitely like to see Oliva's recipe.

I've never had chilla but it sounds interesting - Suvir, any comments about this? The recipe sounds more like a crepe batter.

And is it true that Eno Antacid Effervescing Powder can be used as a raising agent for idlis?

Also, Bajre Ki Roti sounds too healthy (millet bread). What's your opinion on this?

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Degustation,

What great questions you pose. I hope every member on this forum could take some time in answering these with their insight. Mine alone will not be anywhere near complete or enough.

I think each region of India has different grains available as staples. And also different regions have different social and cultural practices. These dictate often as to what grains are used at what days. Many Indians fast during different days for different Gods. And these fasts have strict rules about what can be eaten or not. So, those rules also dictate as to what kind of grain flour is used in the making of flat breads.

Different regions use different mediums of fat. And that also changes the flavor and style of breah you find in those regions.

The produce that is available at any given season will also dictate as to what kind of stuffed breads are available in any given area. Like in Delhi and the other Northern Indian cities, in the winter months, in many homes, you will find great pea-stuffed pooris and parathas. In other Northern areas you will find Radish and Cauliflower stuffed parathas in the winter. Potato stuffed parathas (Aloo Paratha) are common throughout India in some form or another. The Punjabis do make them best in my opinion. They stuff them heartily and flavor them perfectly.

I agree with you about Naan and Kulchas being better eaten at restaurants.

I am hoping as well that Oliva can share her recipe with us. It will be a treat for all of us. I will share with you a recipe I have for Makayee Kee Pooriyaan.

Chilas are thick Indian pancakes. Actually thinner than some of the chain-restaurant pancakes you will find in the US. But thicker than the thin homemade pancakes. Does that make sense? These are made from a pancake consistency batter. If you share your recipe.. I can tell you what I would do differently if at all anything. They are delicious and are evening snack food. I serve them with mango-mint chutney and they are perfect for the summer months.

Eno ANtacid is used by many Indians in the preparation of the batter for making Dhoklas (The steamed caked from Gujarat. These are availbale at Dimple Chaat and also other Indian restaurants or some stores as well). I have never seen people using them for Idlis or Dosai, but have heard about it. Not sure how successful it is. I do have Eno's in my kitchen. Still waiting to be opened.

Bajre kee roti/rotli - These are great. They are not very common in the more cosmopolitan cities today. But were eaten far more frequently in older times. Many Gujarati homes make them even today. IN fact at Dimple Chaat, every so often you can get them for lunch. They are very healthy. And actually many Hindus that fast and cannot eat wheat, will eat Bajre Kee Rotli. It tastes very good as well.

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Makayee Kee Pooriyaan

(Fluffy Cornmeal Pooris)

Serves 4-6

These pooris are very similar to the pooris you find in restaurants. The only difference is that they are heartier, tastier and very satisfying eaten by themselves with some yogurt and chutneys or pickles.

1 cup makayee kaa atta (cornmeal)

2 med baking potatoes, boiled

1/4 teaspoon carom seeds (ajowain)

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon canola oil for kneading

Canola oil for deep frying

Warm water for kneading

1. Peel and mash the boiled potatoes, set aside.

2. Sift the maize flour with the salt into a bowl.

3. Add the carom and the teaspoon of canola into the flour and mix it well.

4. Mix the mashed potatoes into the flour and with some warm water knead it into a soft pliable dough that is moist but not sticky. Spend a good 5-10 minutes kneading.

5. Moisten your hands with canola, take some dough, form it into large marble sized rounds. Roll these into thin round pooris. Set aside on a platter. Continue doing this with the rest of t he dough. Place the pooris in a single layer on the platter. You could spread some Saran Wrap between layers and use the same platter.

6. In a deep fryer or a Karahi, heat the canola to 375?F.

7. Place the pooris one at a time in the deep fryer and fry them till they are a light golden brown. You should use the strainger very gently to press the poori down as you first place it in the oil. This will ensure that it does not come up very quickly and also encourage it to fluff up. Be very gentle as it fluffs, since it can just as easily puncture.

8. Remove from the fryer and drain on several layers of paper towels. Serve hot with raita and chutney and pickles.

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Bhaturas

Serves 4-6

Bhaturas are very similar to pooris. These were eaten in our home with Khatte Kaale Chane (sour black chickpeas). As a child I remember being amazed at how a bread could ever be so tasty. My young cousin Vikram who was born and raised in San Francisco, would come to Delhi and ask for this as the sister of the football bread. He would refer to pooris as the football bread. Elastic and chewy, bhaturas are just a perfect accompaniment to chickpeas made with a tangy runny sauce or made hot and spicy and dry. Bhaturas and chickpeas are a heavenly match. I never question their partnership. I only enjoy their union and love sharing it with all I know.

4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon sugar

6 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon ghee or soft butter

canola for deep frying

1. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

2. Add the sugar, egg, yogurt, warm water and knead into a dough that is soft but not sticky.

3. Rub the ghee or butter on your hands and continue to knead this dough to make it nice and pliable.

4. Cover the dough with a wet paper towel and leave in a warm place for 3 hours.

5. When ready to use, divide the dough into 12 portions. Shape each into a round ball.

6. Roll each ball into a 4-5 inch diameter bhatura and keep covered under wet papertowel in a platter. Like t he pooris, keep them in single layers with Saran Wrap separating the layers.

7. In a deep fryer or a Karahi, heat the canola to 375?F.

8. Place the bhaturas one at a time in the deep fryer and fry them till they are a light golden brown on both sides. You should use the strainger very gently to press the poori down as you first place it in the oil. This will ensure that it does not come up very quickly and also encourage it to fluff up. Be very gentle as it fluffs, since it can just as easily puncture.

9. Remove from the fryer and drain on several layers of paper towels. Serve piping hot with chickpeas.

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Chapattis

(Girdle baked flatbread)

Serves 4

Chaptis are comfort food to most any Indian. No meal can compare to a simple home cooked meal of a vegetable, daal and chapattis. Light, nutritious they are a perfect accompaniment to an Indian meal, chapattis are one of a few things that bind India together. Across India they are made with very slight variations for most any meal. At our home we would call them Phulkas which referred to the fact that they puff up as they are made. Us siblings would enjoy getting our perfect ball, have my mom put some ghee on it and then enjoy piercing a hole on it from which the steam would escape. In winter times this steam would give us a moment of warmth followed by a tasty meal. And now in New York, most friends are most happy eating daal, sabzi and chapattis.

2 cups atta (Indian wheat flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Close to 1 cup water for kneading

1. Combine the flour and salt together. Put into a bowl.

2. Knead the dough adding a half cup water into a well you make in the center of the flour.

3. Knead for close to 15 minutes using as much water as needed, The dough should be wet, soft and pliable but not sticky.

4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and place some flour on the surface where you will roll the chapattis.

5. Divide the dough into 12 –16 large marbel sized balls. Roll each in your palm into a smooth circular ball. Flatten these by pressing them. Coat these with flour and roll them out into a circle around 5 inches in diameter.

6. Place chapatti on the griddle and cook for a couple of minutes or until the top side seems opaque. Now flip the chapatti over and cook the other side for a brief minute.

7. With a tong, take the chapatti to the flame and bake on the fire till it puff up.

8. Serve hot with any Indian meal.

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Besan Ke Parathe

Serves 6-8

Panditji would make these upon my fathers request some Sunday mornings for brunch. When this happened, I remember feeling very lucky, since this flatbread is one of my most favorite one. I also loved those mornings as I enjoyed being able to feast on large servings of butter. Indian food is very light and very nutritionally sound. For the most part that is. Contrary to popular belief there is very little fat in our food. Having been created under the umbrella of Ayurvedic cooking, Indian food has very deep roots in food science and history. This is a hearty, crunchy and crisp bread that tastes sumptuous and fulfilling by itself or with yogurt. This flatbread gets really better with butter on it… it drinks a lot of butter since chickpea flour becomes a sponge. It will get better with the more you put. Spread as much as you are comfortable with, or none.

1 cup atta (whole wheat flour)

pinch of garam masala

salt to taste

1 tablespoon ghee

1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

3 hot green chilies, finely chopped

1 medium red onion, very finely chopped

oil for shallow frying flatbread

1. Sift the flour, garam masala, and salt together.

2. Rub the ghee into the sifted flour, making the flour seem like very fine cornmeal.

3. Add the remainder of the ingredients into the flour and mix well.

4. Knead the dough with water for 5-7 minutes using the heal of your hands. The dough should be moist, soft and not sticky.

5. Cover the dough for 20 minutes with a wet towel and let it rest.

6. Take small balls of this dough, roll into 5-6 inch diameter circles. Rub a little oil onto each circle, spread it evenly over the surface of each chapatti. Now take a small knife, and from the center of the circle going towards the diameter, make a cut on the chapatti. Start rolling the chapatti onto itself as you would form a cone. Once the cone is formed, hold it as such on your left hand and with the right hand press it into a squashed round. Smoothen the ends of the round and set aside on a plate.

7. Repeat this till all your dough has been used.

8. Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan over med heat.

9. Roll the rounds into 5-6 inch diameter chapattis.

10. Place the chapattis on the griddle, once the top part looks opaque, flip the chapatti to start cooking the other side. After a minute take a little canola in a spoon, spread it over the side facing you and flip it for shallow frying. The chappati will start to sizzle some, keep pressing the chapatti from the top. This ensures even browning and makes the paratha crisp. Rub some oil to this other side now and flip and do the same.

11. Fry the paratha till it is a nice crisp golden color and immediately rub some butter onto it.

12. Serve hot with yogurt and chutneys.

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Methi Kee Poori

(Fluffy Fenugreek Bread)

Serves 4-6

Fenugreek leaves are great in that they dry very well. Panditji would buy large bunches of methi (fenugreek) and clean, chop and wash them and drain them on large white muslin sheets on which the methi would sun dry. This fenugreek poori is very tasty, flavorful and has a very sophisticated bitter flavor that makes it very subtle and rich in taste. These days, I am able to find fenugreek at specialty gourmet stores in the summer. You can either use fresh fenugreek greens or use Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek) easily available at Indian stores. I would make these at a friends house in Bombay and then stuff them with some mango pickle and travel with these from Bombay to Pune.

4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)

1/2 cup rice flour

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek, washed and drained or 1/4 cup Kasoori Methi

1/2 cup warm canola oil for kneading

canola oil for deep frying

1. Sieve the flours, chili powder, garam masala and salt into a large bowl.

2. Add the uncooked chopped fresh fenugreek leaves or kasoori methi and the warm oil into the flour mix.

3. Knead into a soft but firm dough. Keep dough aside to rest for 30 minutes to an hour, covered with a wet paper towel.

4. Make small balls like those for the pooris.

5. Roll these balls into 4-5 inch discs, and place on a platter in a single layer with Saran Wrap separating layers.

6. Heat oil for deep frying to a smoking point and then reduce heat to low.

7. Fry the methi pooris one at a time and use the back of your drainer to keep the poori gently pressed to ensure fluffing. Do the same with the rest.

8. Serve hot with most meals.

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My favourite Indian flatbread is Roti Canai / Chanai. Some say Roti Canai is a Malaysianised term for Parathas as it was first introduced here by someone from Chennai.

Roti Canais are eaten throughout the day here - they are a favourite for breakfast or a late night snack at Mamak (Indian Muslim) restaurants / hawker stalls found in almost every street corner. They are usually eaten with dhall, chicken curry, fish curry, mutton curry or just a spinkling of sugar.

Besides the basic Roti Canai, there are also spin-offs such as:

Roti Telur - Roti Canai with Egg

Roti Telur Bawang - Roti Canai with Egg and Onion filling

Roti Pisang - Roti Canai with Banana filling

Roti Bom - a Roti Canai which is smashed in between the cook's hands so that it explodes like a bomb

Roti Planta - Roti Canai with extra margarine

Roti Sardin - Roti Canai with a Tomato Sauce-based Sardine filling

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Shiewie,

What a great post, thanks.

Would you have a recipe for Roti Canai? It also happens to be my favorite dish in Malaysian cooking.

I love the plain Roti Canai and also the Telur.

I also happen to love the simple curry the serve with them.

Do you make t hese at home? Or do you always eat these at the stalls? I ate them only at the stalls... and they were so much better than any we find in NYC. Much lighter and the curry just so much more flavorful.

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The flatbreads I miss most from the subcontinent are the ones my mom used to make when I was growing up. She would make these mostly for lunch as they retain their shape, texture and, largely, their taste as well. They are variations on traditional Punjabi parathas. Everyone seems to have had Aloo (potato) filled parathas. How many have had any of the following (AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHERE CAN WE GET THESE IN NYC)?

Other stuffings included:

Gobhi (cauliflower)

Mooli (Raddish)

Jeera (cumin)

Onion

Methi (??)

Mooli patta (bitter greens of raddish)

Paneer (cheese)

Dal (cooked lentils of all kinds worked into the dough)

etc etc

I especially miss the more exotic ones. Making all kinds of parathas is an art I think unique to punjabi culture and our mothers have the touch that makes the plainest of parathas so special. In the same way that South Indian mothers can make dosas that make you cry out with disbelief. Another flatbread for the list. I neeeeeeed to take a trip home to see my mom.

Vivin

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This thread makes me so happy; thank you for sharing recipes with so much detail, and for the terms and definitions!

My friend Indira (originally from the area that is now part of Pakistan) taught me to make bhaturas, but hers are quite basic: flour, yogurt, and baking soda, and the rise and "rest" times are very short. My sweetheart and I make them as a team; we have our timing down and impress the hell out of our dinner guests when they puff up like magic (the bhaturas, not the guests). I'm looking forward to trying the more complex recipe above.

I have lottery fantasies about opening a little place serving only roti and tea, modeled after a stall in the Camaronian Highlands in Malaysia. They had versions of roti that I hadn't encountered down in KL (not like I was able to try every roti stall), such as stuffed with honey and peanuts, or spiced potatoes. The ones stuffed with the little sweet bananas were my favorite. I loved that I could have a meal of the sweet and the savory. The Malay Satay Hut here in Seattle (soon to re-open, thank god), and their Bellevue/Redmond location, serve a wonderful roti canai, but only with curry. If anyone knows of restaurants in the US which make use of different fillings, I'd be happy to plan my future vacations around them. I think it will be awhile before I make it back to Malaysia or Singapore.

Shiewie, where are you posting from?

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      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Kasia
      A SANDWICH TO GO
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a snack which you can grab and eat "on the go". I know that it is unhealthy. We should celebrate eating and eat calmly and with deliberation. However, sometimes the day is too short for everything on our schedule and we still have to eat. Admittedly, we can sin and go for some fast food, but it is healthier and tastier to prepare something quickly in our own kitchen.

      Today, Camembert cheese and cranberries in a fresh, crunchy roll take the lead role. It sounds easy and yummy, doesn't it? Try it and get on with your day . Today I used a homemade cranberry preserve which was left over from dessert, but if you like you can buy your own.

      Ingredients:
      2 fresh rolls (your favourite ones)
      150g of camembert cheese
      1 handful of lettuce
      2 teaspoons of butter
      2 teaspoons of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
      preserve
      100g of fresh cranberries
      3 tablespoons of brown sugar
      100ml of apple juice

      Wash the cranberries. Put the cranberries, sugar and apple juice into a pan with a heavy bottom and boil with the lid on for 10-12 minutes, stirring from time to time. Try it and if necessary add some sugar. Leave to cool down. Cut the rolls in half and spread with the butter. Put some lettuce on one half of the roll. Slice the camembert cheese and arrange it on the lettuce. Put a fair portion of the cranberry preserve on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with the roast pine nuts or sunflower seeds and cover with the second half of the roll.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
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