Wednesday, June 25, 2008
One of my constant pursuits in the kitchen is to find as many ways as possible to add vegetables to our diet without allowing things to get too in-your-face. After all, even die-hard vegetable-lovers like Desi and I could get a little fed up on too many greens (not that it's happened yet!).
I try to get around this by putting veggies into almost anything I make- if it's rice, I try and throw in some peas or carrots or cauliflower, or a combination. With lentils you can get a lot more adventurous, because these little beauties will go with anything from leafies to cabbage, beans, zucchini or even mushrooms. But the most fun I have is stuffing rotis with veggies of all sorts to make richly satisfying parathas.
I have blogged before about my Sweet-Aloo Paratha, Mooli Paratha and Tofu Paratha. But today's recipe is for a variation: Gajar-Mooli Paratha, or Carrot- and Radish-Stuffed Flatbreads. Why? Because these were the two veggies I had lying around in my fridge during the weekday, begging to be used before they drooped. And because the end result was quite spectacular.
I usually play around a lot with the seasonings for the stuffing, simply because it is almost impossible to go wrong here. Chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala- they all work wonderfully. I often use aamchur powder, or mango powder, or even chaat masala, which gives the veggies a spicy-sour punch.
To this paratha I also added some kasoori methi, again another favorite ingredient that I often throw into stuffings because it's always in my pantry and because it's mild bitterness works perfectly with the sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors.
2 cups durum wheat flour (can use whole-wheat instead). Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp canola oil and knead with just enough water to form a stiff but pliable dough.
1 cup carrots, grated fine
1 cup radish (I used the little ones, but daikon would work perfectly too), also grated fine
Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp salt on the carrots and radish, put into a colander, and leave for around an hour for the water to express from the vegetables. This step is very important, otherwise your parathas will become a gooey mess when you try to roll them out.
Squeeze out all the water you possible can from the vegetables before adding the other ingredients.
1 tsp chaat masala (available in Indian groceries)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp kasoori methi, crumbled (also available in Indian stores)
Salt to taste
Mix well and set aside.
Divide the dough into balls, each about 1 inch in diameter.
On a floured surface, roll out each ball into a circle around 3 inches in diameter. Place 2 tbsp of stuffing in the center. Roll out another circle of the same size, moisten the edges with water, and place over the circle with the stuffing. Press down on the edges to seal.
Flour the surface and roll out the paratha, turning often and adding more flour if necessary, to prevent sticking. When it's around 7 inches in diameter, you can transfer it to a hot cast-iron griddle on medium heat.
Roast each side for about 2-3 minutes, coating with a few scant drops of oil, until brown spots appear evenly on the surface of the paratha.
Serve hot with chutney or pickle or any spicy curry of your choice.