Friday, August 21, 2009

Aloo Paratha

Aloo paratha is one variety of Indian flat bread that is quite popular. It is invariably included in most Indian restaurant menus. The recipe below is slightly modified from the traditional aloo paratha recipe.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 2 large potatoes (2 inch diameter, 4-5 inch long Russet potatoes)
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 tsp subrus
  • 1 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 tsp aamchur
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cup chopped raw spinach
  • 4 cups wheat flour for dough
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Oil to shallow fry or Pam Original No Stick Cooking Spray

  1. Boil or microwave potatoes to cook them.
  2. Peel the potatoes, then mash them.
  3. Add ginger paste, cilantro, hing, subrus, aamchur and salt.
  4. Mix well. Make 8 balls of potato stuffing
  5. Mix spinach, flour, oil and salt to taste. Make a dough soft to touch but not sticky. Make 8 balls.
  6. Making the paratha ball: In left hand take a dough ball and with right hand thumb and fingers start making a bowl. Put potato stuffing ball on top. At this stage both hands work: the right one pushes the potato ball gently downwards and then the left thumb and fingers gradually cover it by dough. At the end, it looks like a big ball of dough. Pat it and make a patty.
  7. Using rolling pin on a clean surface covered with dry flour, make a circle of about 8 inches diameter. This is a raw paratha.
  8. Frying paratha: If afraid of lifting paratha without breaking by hand, use aluminium foil. Put on non stick gridle at medium hot temperature. Flip it when color darkens. Put some oil and cover whole surface. One can use brush. Alternatively use Pam Original No Stick Cooking Spray. Again flip and cover the surface with oil. In a few minutes, paratha starts showing bumps and developes few brown patches on the bottom surface. Flip the paratha over and cook it until both sides show brown patches.
  9. Put on cooling rack. After cooling briefly, the paratha is ready to serve.

I usually serve it with plain yogurt and mango pickle. Instead of potato stuffing, one can use grated paneer, grated cauliflower, grated raddish/mulee or any other combination to create your own variety of paratha. The only consideration is that the stuffing and dough should have similar dryness and soft texture. You may serve paratha as a full meal and dessert of pie or cake.

If you are interested in seeing high quality images of many Indian dishes, some of which are described on this blog, I strongly recommend browsing Cooking with My Indian Mother-in-Law: Mastering the Art of Authentic Home Cooking

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Nankatai is an Indian style butter biscuit. In winter, we were to enjoy it with hot pakoda or hot samosa. The shortbread cookies Lorna Doone from Nabisco remind me of Nankatai.

(For approximately 48 pieces)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Cream Of Wheat
  • 1 and 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spices
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 12 almonds or 24 pisachio

  1. Mix sugar and powdered cardamom. Add butter and beat until smooth.
  2. Mix flour and cream of wheat. Add this to butter sugar mix gradually and make a soft dough.
  3. Make small round balls and press them to make thick circle. At the center of each press 1/4 th almond or 1/2 pistachio. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until turns light brown.
The crumbs of Nankatai can be used to make a base for cheese cake.
Looking for more vegetarian dessert ideas? Check out BabyCakes!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gulab Jamun

Gulab jamun is a common Indian dessert, made of milk powder, flour, and using rosewater flavoring. The word gulab means rose.

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 8) :
For balls (Jamun)
  • 4 cups milk powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (not baking powder)
  • 2 cups yogurt (Vary according to the firmness of yogurt to get soft dough)
  • Vegetable shortening or ghee for frying
For Syrup
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • For flavor (a) Rose water 1/4 cup, OR (b) Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp and 1/8 tsp saffron

  1. In a bowl, mix the milk powder, flour, and baking soda.
  2. In a cup, beat yogurt to make it uniform.
  3. Add yogurt gradually to the mix and make a dough that should be soft to touch.
  4. Make 1/2 inch diameter balls (use ghee on palm to reduce dough sticking).
  5. In a frying pan with ghee on medium heat, deep fry 4-5 balls at a time till they turn brown. Put balls in strainer to get out the excess ghee.
  6. In a pan, mix sugar and water. Heat until sugar dissolves completely and mixture starts boiling. Turn off heat.
  7. Float the balls in syrup and cover them completely with the syrup.

Several variations are possible. While making the jamun balls, one can put at the center a variety of ingredients such as saffron, nutmeg, cardamom, sugar cube, or pistachios. Or, you can try the jamun-within-jamun approach: mix a small portion of dough with powdered spices of your liking and place this at the center of a larger jamun ball.

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