Paratha is the ultimate breakfast pairing with eggs in most Pakistani and Indian homes. Mine was no different growing up. Come Ramadan, it was the only breakfast my family had during Sehri. I always asked my mom to make mine extra salty. But here’s the thing. I don’t recall ever thinking that paratha ought to be flaky, lachhedar and layered. Seeing mom coil the rolled dough on her palm and flatten it before pressing it flat and perfectly round with a rolling pin, I marveled at the process never once stopping to think why she was snaking the dough around like that. At that age, I didn’t realize that she was creating layers. I honestly never paid attention to the flaky layers. I just knew it tasted better than a chapati :p
This paratha has everything a good paratha should have–its has the flaky “lachedar” layers, it has the ghee that’s lathered generously in the dough and it has the perfect crispiness. The key to getting the perfect layers in all in folding the dough the right way. My two favorite methods are 1) the chinese fan fold where you pleat the paratha dough and coil. The second method that I have been using recently is simply folding the two ends of the dough over to the center and repeating the steps with the other two corners to make a neat square. Check out my video to see how I make these super flake lachedar paratha!
Paratha, How to Make Plain Whole Wheat Flaky Paratha
- 2 cups whole wheat flour aka "atta" make sure its finely ground. Try purchasing from a South Asian grocery store
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2-3/4 warm water as needed
- ghee and flour as needed for layering
- In a bowl, mix flour and salt.
- Pour in oil and mix until flour becomes crumbly.
- Next, slowly start adding warm water and bring the dough together until the flour is moistened. I typically end up using 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water but the quantity will depend on the temperature where you're located.
- Once flour is moist and you can pick it up in a ball, let it rest for 10-15 mins. The dough should just be a tad sticky to the touch. Dab on some oil so the surface does not dry out while dough is resting. Resting will help the glutens in the dough to relax.
- After 10-15 mins, start kneading the dough until it gets visibly soft. Add flour if it is too sticky. At the end of 3-4 minutes of kneading, the dough should be soft and it would bounce back when pressed with a finger gently.
- Next, divide the dough in quarters for medium sized paratha (make sure the paratha is not bigger than your pan!) and shape each quarter in a round ball. At this point you can let the balls rest for another 10 mins. Don't forget to apply oil so the top doesn't dry out.
- When ready to make paratha, roll out the dough very flat, as flat as you can. It's okay if the dough rips a bit.
- Next, smear ghee. I use my fingers to rub it all over the dough.
- Next, sprinkle some flour along with salt. The flour prevents ghee from dripping, however, you can omit this since we only use a small quantity of ghee.
- To make a flaky paratha, begin folding the dough from one corner like a Chinese fan and then twisting the dough up in a cinammon roll shape. You can also make a slit from the center down to one end and begin rolling the dough from the slit in the shape of a cone and flatten it.
- When you're ready to make paratha, roll the layered ball of dough and with the help of a rolling pin, roll it out flat and round. It should not be too thin but enough so that you can easily pick up the paratha and flip from hand to hand without ripping it.
- In a hot hot griddle, tawa or pan, plop down the paratha. Instantly, you'll see the high heat will begin to cook the paratha. When you see bubbles form on the surface, flip the paratha and lower the heat to medium. Apply some ghee and smear on the paratha with the back of a spoon.
- Flip again, when you see brown spots appear on the underside.
- Keep applying a touch of ghee and press down your spatula very gently. Lower the heat further if you think paratha is browning too fast.
- Remove from the pan once paratha is speckled with brown spots. Don't overcook, or else the paratha will get very crispy like a "papad." You want to remove it when its nice and soft.
- A tip to coaxing out the paratha layers (making it "lachhedar") is to scrunch it up while hot. Place you hands on either side of the paratha and clap them together, scrunching up the paratha. This will separate the layers. I recommend using kitchen paper or cloth to avoid burning your hands.
- Serve hot! Paratha and roti are best enjoyed hot off the stove.
Thanks for sharing this recipe. My Mom used to make us the same breakfast but the layering was done differently. She used to roll the individual dough ball into a square and then fold it in thirds, left/right, top/bottom. That would give 9 distinct layers. Then it would be fried as your recipe suggests. And yes, scrunching the paratha right off the pan does a great job of separating the layers.
A breakfast of three parathas and two piyaz ke unday would be filling enough for me to skip lunch. The onions and eggs were fried in makhan (butter) to enhance their flavour. Definitely a comfort food for those cold mornings. Top it off with a steaming mug of doodh pati chai and one is rendered immobile for about 15 minutes; time enough to savour the post-meal bliss.
Always love your anecdotes, Ralph! My mom actually rolled the paratha very differently too. She would indent the ball of dough and drop in a tbsp of ghee, pinch in the corners to the center and roll out the dough thin between her hands. She would then coil it on her palm before flattening and shaping it into a Paratha. I clearly take the more involved route to get the layers:)
I have been having this paratha with eggs in the morning lately, but I can compete with your king-sized three paratha breakfast hehe. I’m also hoping to share another Paratha (Paratha #2?) that is even flakier and tastes phenomenal.