These scrumptious golden flatbreads (paratha) stuffed with a spicy potato (aloo) mixture are a staple in many Indian households. Eaten with a generous dollop of butter and cool yogurt, aloo paratha is comfort food at its best!
Aloo paratha, the very mention of which evokes feelings of comfort and nostalgia in Indian hearts. Roti and paratha, though North Indian in origin, have found their place on every dining table throughout the country. And mothers have always resorted to stuffing these healthy flatbreads with even healthier but delicious mixtures to feed their hungry families.
My mother is a whiz at making aloo parathas or Indian flatbreads stuffed with a spiced potato filling. It seems that the time she takes to make regular rotis and stuffed parathas are the same. I was not a big fan of chapatis in my lunch box. My mom would pretend to pack chapatis for me, but I would open the box at lunch time to find a couple of these soft and delicious stuffed potato flatbreads. Nothing lifted my spirits than aloo paratha at lunch time!
Aloo parathas begin with a simple chapati dough made with atta. Atta refers to a variety of fine-milled whole wheat flour. This is readily available in Indian or Asian stores and I use this flour to make my whole wheat cakes and breads as well.
There are a couple of ways to make the filling. At its simplest form, the filling can be made with boiled and mashed potatoes mixed with a few Indian spices (cumin and garam masala) and freshly chopped cilantro leaves. In the second method, the potato is added to sautéed onions and spices to make a sort of Indian spiced potato mash. Though it includes a couple of extra steps, I like to follow the second method. The sautéing imparts a better flavor to the stuffing mixture. Any extra stuffing can also be served on the side.
The stuffed dough is again rolled out fairly thin and even. Cooked on a hot griddle with a few drops of ghee, the paratha should ideally puff up. But don’t worry if it doesn’t, it will still be delicious. The parathas will puff up once you get the hang of rolling them evenly. Since they are stuffed, it is important to roll them pretty evenly so that they are cooked properly. Press down with your spatula on the sides so that they cook all the way through.
Once cooked, serve the parathas straight from the griddle with a generous dollop of fresh ghee or butter on top.
Aloo parathas are a meal unto themselves, but you can also serve them with a light side. I have pictured a side of sautéed black chickpeas (kaale chana) here. Traditional accompaniments include thick yogurt, sliced red onions and achar (Indian pickle). But my favorite accompaniment, a nod to my childhood, is tomato ketchup. Try it and see, you will be hooked on this combo!
Ideally, aloo parathas should be golden and perfectly pan-fried on the outside, but soft inside. Follow my recipe instructions carefully, and they will stay soft for several hours. The parathas can be refrigerated and re-heated on the griddle or in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel. But they are best enjoyed fresh. And since they are pretty easy to make, it makes an excellent and filling Indian breakfast recipe.
Read on for my easy aloo paratha recipe after this image.
- Atta or whole wheat flour - 2 cups
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Oil - 1 tbsp
- Warm water - as needed
- Potatoes - 2, medium-large
- Oil - 2 tsp
- Onions - ¼ cup, finely chopped
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Cumin powder - ½ tsp
- Garam masala powder - ½ tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Aamchur powder or lime juice - 1 tsp
- Cilantro leaves - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
- Ghee or oil - to cook parathas
- Thick yogurt
- Red onions, sliced
- Ketchup or other sauces
- Take atta in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and oil and mix with your fingers. Add warm water, a little at a time, and knead till the dough comes together. The dough must be soft and supple, so add as much water as needed. Knead dough for a few minutes till smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Boil, peel and smoothly mash the potatoes. Set this aside in a bowl.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions and saute till translucent. Add turmeric, cumin and garam masala powders.
- Add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Season with salt. Add aamchur powder or lime juice for tanginess. Sprinkle cilantro leaves and give it a final mix.
- Allow the potato mixture to cool down before filling the parathas. The mixture should be smooth and fairly dry as well.
- Divide both dough and potato mixture into 8 balls.
- Flour your work surface lightly. Roll a dough ball into a 3" circle. Place a portion of potato filling in the middle and gather and pinch the dough at the sides to make a sort of pouch.
- Roll this stuffed dough pouch carefully and evenly till fairly thin. Sprinkle a bit of flour if you find it too hard to roll.
- Meanwhile, heat a griddle till almost smoking hot. Rub a bit of oil or ghee on the griddle and place the rolled paratha on top. Cook on medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add a few drops of oil or ghee on top of the paratha and flip. Cook the other side for a minute or so. Both sides must be fully cooked with some browning. Press down with your spatula at the sides to help with the cooking.
- Once done, remove aloo paratha to a bread basket or casserole dish to keep warm.
- Repeat till you make all the parathas. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to simultaneously roll and cook the parathas!
- Serve parathas warm with a generous dollop of butter on top. Serve along with thick yogurt, achar, sliced red onions or my favorite, ketchup!
- If not serving immediately, store parathas in a covered container with a clean kitchen towel so that they do not sweat and become soggy.
- Parathas can be refrigerated for a day and re-heated on a hot griddle or in the microwave.
Nothing satisfies you like a couple (or more!) of piping hot aloo parathas fresh off the stove with some melted butter on top. Yum!
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Do you like aloo parathas? Do try this easy recipe and let me know how you like it.
If you decide to make a larger batch of the filling, here are a couple of recipes you can use them in.
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