A range of Indian breadis available. Roti, chapati (known as phulka in North India), and naan are included in the list. Also, parathas are grouped under Indian bread or accompaniments. However, unlike other bread that is served only alongside side dishes, parathas serve as standalone meals too.
Now, parathas can be plain or stuffed. Plain parathas are more commonly accompanied by subzis, dals, and curries. And the stuffed paratha varieties are enjoyed with curd/ pickle.
What are Parathas?
Parathas are described as round-shaped unleavened flatbreads. They are pan-fried and can contain a variety of fillings. You can prepare parathas with wheat flour and stuffings of a variety of vegetables. More so, you can ready parathas using cheese – including cottage cheese or paneer.
Parathas are considered rich foods for they are cooked in ghee. Additionally, the richness of parathas is owed to the different vegetables that are mixed in with the dough. Some vegetables that are added in parathas include carrots, green beans, cauliflower, and potato.
A popular way of consuming parathas is to roll the paratha and follow by dipping into tea.
Parathas are enjoyed along with lassi – constituting Punjabi cuisine. You can prepare lassi with dahi which is made using cow, goat or buffalo milk. Plain, flavored or sweetened lassi varieties are available too.
Rotis Vs Parathas
Paratha differs from chapathi in various ways. Both differ mainly in the ingredients that are used to prepare them. As such, parathas are richer than rotis or chapatis. Rotis are made using flour and water. Parathas, on the other hand, contain ghee or oil.
Additionally, chapatis are softer than parathas. A handy tip on how to make soft chapati is to set aside the dough for 15 minutes after preparation. The gluten sets in the dough then.
For the weight watchers, chapati calories rate far lower than the paratha ones. Although, you can enjoy parathas on your cheat day, right?
Surely, doling out chapatis is far easier than parathas. Even you have the option of using chapati maker which prepares chapatis speedily. Though, the effort put in to make parathas is worth the burst of flavor.
Also, rotis are accompanied by dishes while parathas can be relished with or without accoutrements. Rather than achapati sides dish such as sabzis or curries, parathas can be relished with curd, chutney or pickle – among other condiments. However, parathas are devoured accompanied by spicy vegetarian or non-vegetarian curries as well.
Normally, stuffed parathas go well with yogurt or pickled vegetables while plain parathas can be devoured with dals or curries.
Parathas: Brief History
In all likelihood, in the past eras, parathas were devoured by Mughal royalty for they are cooked in ghee. Moreover, they were served only on special occasions.
Even so, nowadays, parathas are relished for all meals – including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though, parathas are commonly eaten for breakfast by many people, especially Punjabis. The chewy, soft and crisp texture of parathas makes the dish a hit with many.
Parathas: Preparation Method
The preparation method of parathas entails cooking or baking dough. You must knead dough using wholewheat flour and water. Then, the dough is divided into dough balls that are stuffed with vegetables or meats. Next, they are, flattened with a rolling pin and shallow fried. Although, some paratha variants are folded (like the plain parathas); and others, are deep-fried – including the Mughlai ones.
As compared to rotis or chapatis, parathas are thicker. Take the example of plain paratha that contains layers and is cooked in ghee. Also, they are repeatedly folded via the laminated dough technique.
In general, to make plain parathas, the dough is rolled out, followed by a ghee coating and folded again. Then, the dough is rolled out into a circular shape and cooked on a hot Tawa.
Besides, some varieties of stuffed parathas are filled pies that are flattened and, then, shallow fried, with two dough discs fastened around the edges.
Another alternative is to use one dough disc to enclose a ball of filling and followed by sealing with pleats squeezed into the dough from the top, after which they are flattened in the palm against the circular board and rolled into round discs. However, the majority of stuffed parathas are not layered.
In the case of Rajasthani mung paratha, the layering technique is applied and mung dal is mixed in for the dough preparation too.
Due to the heat, the layers of the paratha puff up, imparting a flaky texture.
Further, to flavor parathas, you can add spices and herbs. Also, they can be stuffed and rolled. With a variety of dishes, you can serve parathas as an accompaniment. You can also enjoy parathas with fish, poultry, vegetable and meat dishes.
You can also read:- CHAPATI: A RICH BITE OF HEATH AND HISTORY
Plain and Stuffed Parathas
Parathas can be plain or stuffed. Parathas can be stuffed with eggs, salami, minced lamb, chicken, fish flakes and seafood. You can add any stuffing to parathas for a wholesome meal – that is the best thing about them. Commonly, Indian restaurants do not serve non-vegetarian parathas, except the minced meat ones.
Stuffed parathas are enjoyed with a dash of butter spread on top. Plain parathas do not contain any filling but are topped with butter.
Varied Types of Parathas
Parathas are filled with a range of ingredients. And depending on the paratha stuffings, the parathas derive their name.
Ajwain Paratha: Contains layers that are laced with ajwain
Aloo Parathas: Have boiled potatoes and spices
Bhindi Paratha: Bhindi parathas are stuffed with okra or ladyfinger
Boondi Paratha: Has salty boondi and is baked using ghee
Channa Dal Paratha: Served with channa dal fillings
Dal Parathas: Contain dal fillings
Egg Paratha: Are stuffed with eggs after they are sautéed in spices
Gajar Paratha: They are stuffed with carrots
Gobi Parathas: Are made of gobi or cauliflower vegetable
Laccha Paratha: These parathas are prepared in either Tawa or tandoor. The tandoor ones are round in shape having numerous layers are cooked in tandoor. Tawa ones are triangular in shape, containing layers that are coated with ghee.
Lasuni Paratha: These paratha varieties contain garlic along with a host of other ingredients
Lauki Paratha: These are stuffed with bottle gourd
Makka Paratha: They come with corn fillings
Meetha Paratha: They are sweet to taste due to their rich sugar content
Methi Parathas: Basically, methi is another name for fenugreek leaves and methi parathas are named so because they contain methi
Mooli Parathas: Parathas that contain radish or mooli stuffings are known as mooli parathas
Mughlai Paratha: Stuffed paratha containing minced meat and eggs and is deep-fried
Muttar Parathas: They are filled with peas or muttar
Palak Paratha: Contain palak fillings
Paneer Parathas: Parathas having paneer stuffings are the paneer parathas
Pudina or Mint parathas: Parathas containing pudina stuffing are called pudina parathas
Qeema Paratha: Contain minced meat stuffing
Tomato Paratha: They are filled with tomatoes
Nutritional Value for every 50 g of paratha
Dietary Fiber: 4.8 g
Vitamins (DV = Daily Value)
Thiamine (B1): 0.05 mg (5% of DV)
Riboflavin (B2): 0.038mg (3% of DV)
Niacin (B3): 0.915mg (6% of DV)
Vitamin B6: 0.04mg (3% of DV)
Vitamin E: 0.68mg (4.5% of DV)
Vitamin K: 1.7 μg (1.5% of DV)
Calcium: 12.5 mg (1.5% of DV)
Iron: 0.8 mg (6% of DV)
Magnesium: 18.5 mg (5% of DV)
Phosphorus: 60 mg (8.5% of DV)
Potassium: 78 mg (1.5% of DV)
Sodium: 226 mg (15% of DV)
Zinc: 0.41 mg (4.5% of DV)