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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Paneer Paratha - Wheat Tortillas stuffed with Paneer

The term "paratha" is a generic term used to described flat bread rolled out from wheat dough. These may be stuffed with vegetables, or seasoning can be added to the dough itself while rolling it. Where parathas are concerned, the sky is the limit. You can be as adventurous as you want and try out different kinds of stuffings, be it sweet or savory. There are two parathas that I have blogged about so far which are of the type where the additional ingredients have been added to the dough itself - Daikon/Muli Paratha and Thepla/Methi Paratha. This paratha is a "stuffed" type or paratha. The general principles remain the same across all stuffed parathas viz. knead the dough, make the stuffing separately, then fill the stuffing into a ball of dough and roll it out. Then cook the rolled out paratha with a little bit of oil.


Parathas are a perfect "travel food" - easy to pack and they stay fresh without refrigeration at least for a day or so. If the stuffing has a longer shelf life, then the parathas will last longer. Paneer paratha is possibly one of the yummiest parathas that one can ever eat. Serve with some butter and it's a complete meal. You can use homemade paneer or store bought paneer for this recipe.


I could go on and on about how great parathas are but I think I will end here and move on to the recipe.


Ingredients
For the stuffing
1 tsp oil
1 cup grated paneer
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped (this needs to be very fine so that the pieces will not poke through the dough while rolling out the paratha)
red chilli powder to taste
salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp aamchur powder/dry mango powder)
1tbsp cilantro/ corriander leaves (optional)


For the dough
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
oil to cook the parathas
water to knead the dough


Method
For the stuffing
Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add the onions. Once they turn translucent, add the garam masala, red chilli powder and amchur powder. Stir and then add the grated paneer and cilantro leaves. Turn off the heat and let the paneer cook for a couple of minutes in the remnant heat. Remove the paneer mixture into a bowl and keep aside.


For the dough
Take the wheat flour in a bowl, create a small well in the center. Add the salt and oil into the well. Then add a little water at a time into the well and start incorporating the flour into the water and mix. Add enough water so that the flour comes together. Do not add too much water else the dough will become soupy. Add just enough to form a soft dough which can be rolled out. Knead it well till it's smooth and keep aside.


To make the paratha
Take a fistful of dough, enough to make a ball about 2 inches in diameter. Roll this out into a flat disc. Then place 1 tbsp of the paneer mixture on to the center of this disc. Then gather up the sides so that they come together and gather them up so that the mixture is enclosed inside. Make sure the gathered sides are all brought together and then flatten the disc. Add some flour onto your rolling board if necessary and roll out the disc gently to form a paratha. This should be about 3 mm in thickness and about 5-6 inches in diameter. It is of course vary based on the amount of dough you start off with and the amount of filling. Do not roll it out too thin, else the dough cover may tend to tear. The photos should provide you with a good idea on how to interpret the instructions.







Add a little oil to a flat pan. Cook the paratha on one side for a min and the flip it over. Add some more oil around the paratha and let this side cook completely till the dough looks cooked and you can see light brown marks on the covering. Then flip it back and let the first side cook completely. Press the paratha gently with a flat spatula while it's cooking. This helps the paratha puff up and cook well.




Serve with some butter, pickle and yoghurt or raita.



Tips
If you cook the paneer for too long after adding it to the pan, it will dry out and will become hard and brittle. It is best to always let dough rest for 15-30 minutes, whenever you make tortillas, roti or chapatis. This helps the rolled out dough to puff up and cook evenly. Do not fret if you are not able to create a circle. The end result will still be tasty and that's what matters.

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