Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aloo Paratha- a flavorful indian flat bread

This was a really new experience for me. I have never actually made Indian food. This was also a first because I baked with my new friend Caryn which was a lot of fun. Cooking and baking with others is something that I have just started to get into, and I really like it.

Aloo Paratha is a stuffed flat bread. The stuffing is made of toasted cumin seed, toasted coriander, mustard oil (which I prepared), chilies, ginger and salt (I forgot to put the salt in the filling, so we salted the bread at the end). The filling is prepared by boiling the potatoes in their jackets and then peeling and grating them. This is placed in a medium sized bowl with the toasted cumin seed and coriander seed. The mustard seed oil is prepared by toasting 1 tablespoon of black or brown mustard seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop. While still warm, grind the mustard seed in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and then mix the ground seeds with 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil. This mixture is then added to the potato mixture along with a finely dices serrano pepper and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground ginger.

The dough is prepared by combing 200g of whole wheat flour (finely ground) with 100g all purpose flour and 1 tsp salt. The dough is mixed on medium with a dough hook for five minutes or by hand until it is very smooth and supple. This dough is divided into 8 equal pieces, and then each is rolled into a tight ball.

Next you make a whole in the ball and fill it with 1/8th of the potato filling and then tightly seal the dough around the filling. It is very important to have this done well to prevent the filling from escaping.

Caryn filled and sealed and rolled the breads, while I baked the ones that were ready.

Then once the breads were filled and sealed, they are rolled out until they are approximately 7 inches in diameter. Jeff Hamelman explains that it is very important to understand how the filling is dispersing in between the two layers of dough. Once again Caryn did this, so I was off the hook and free from blame, she did a great job.

These then prepared doughs are cooked on a heavy skillet on about medium high for about a minute they are then flipped. Once they have been flipped the first time, the surface of the dough is brushed with clarified butter, and the flipped and brushed again, then flipped once more. They should have some coloration and spots of brown. Once they have achieved color, and have a brilliant aroma they are done, place them on a plate and wrap them in a towel to keep them warm. 

These breads can also be made a day ahead, and reheated in the oven at 350 degrees. It is important to wrap them loosely in tin foil to avoid locking into much moisture as well as prevent them from becoming dry.

Notice the brown coloration, this is what you are looking for
Aloo Paratha the finished product
This is a wonderful little bread and it would go great with soups and stews, I think I will make this again, next time I will remember the salt, as it will greatly improve the taste. I really love the taste of the mustard seeds in this bread, really quite unique and very Indian.
Another success story.

Two breads to go!

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