Friday, September 16, 2011

Laccha Parantha/ Flaky Flatbread

Laccha Parantha literallly translates to a flaky flatbread which is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Its a variant of the versatile Indian flatbread or Roti as it is commonly known. You could also identify the laccha parantha by the layers it has. Wikipedia gave me this bit of info that Parantha (paratha) is an amalgamantion of two words - Parat meaning layers and Atta meaning dough.

Now it is a little embarrassing to admit that I have been eating this since I was a toddler and didn't know its literal meaning. It was just another variety to be eaten with delicious curries and yummy vegetables, sometimes even stuffed and eaten as it is or sometimes made salted to be eaten with a cup of tea or sometimes (a lot of times actually) rolled up and eaten with pickle as a midnight snack when I was in school. Its an absolute favourite of the North Indian cuisine or the Punjabi cuisine as it is widely known.



Although I must also admit that it is an absolute gluttony to indulge in one. It is quite heavy on the fat content. There's lots of ghee (clarified butter) added to it. My mom did substitute the ghee with oil, but a parantha is a parantha only when you cook it with oil/ ghee/ butter. But don't you think that sometimes, it is necessary to pamper one's self. I think we owe it to ourselves the pleasure of this exalted indulgence.

Making the layers in the paratha is the fun part and every home has a unique way of doing it. I'll be sharing 2 ways to layer it, you can make your own way. The more the layers, the flakier it will be. Though I don't think I could ever make them as good and layered as my grandma does and the secret behind it is tons of ghee and tons of love.Oh you know actually, in punjabi we have this quote 'jo ma kare na peo, sab gallan kare gheo' which loosely translates to that (with a child) what the mother or the father can't accomplish, is accomplished with Ghee! Till today, in a punjabi household it is believed that the more the ghee in the food, the more you love that person :) 

I admit, the other day, I was wanting to indulge in this pleasure, but my mind wouldn't allow me to eat one that was full of ghee. So what I did was, I made one with very less amount of oil and just 1-2 drops of ghee for the beautiful aroma. The result was quite spectacular. The parantha was layered and flaky and soft in the middle. Though not quite as much as it would be with all that ghee but still...try it and judge for your own self!

Serves: 2

Complexity: ***

Time: 20-30 mins

You'll need 

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + more for dusting
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil/ ghee/ melted butter
lots of love

Method

Combine the flour with 1 cup of water.


Knead it into a smooth dough. This should take you about 7-10 minutes. The dough needs to be soft and a little springy. Add more flour if the dough is sticking to your hands or water if the dough is too firm and knead again. Rest if for 10 minutes.



Now you can divide the dough into two smooth balls. Roll one ball with a rolling pin till it is around 5"-6" in diameter. You can now smear oil/ghee over it. Use just a few drops and spread it evenly. The trick now is that you can sprinkle a little flour on there so the dough doesn't quite stick when you layer it.



Now fold it like it is shown in the picture. For the first one, I folded the roti in half, and then again in quarters and again and again till it became a triangle. Now make it stand up vertically and twist it around like a rope, this will further add to the layers, and squish it down.

FIRST





For the second, I cut the roti into 3 and layered it on top of one another after applying oil/ ghee and salt. I then rolled the layers and again held it upright, twisted it and squished it down with the palm of my hand.

SECOND





Now you have to roll the dough out again. You will see a few marks of layers all over it. Roll it out about 6" big.

Put a girdle/ tava/ flat pan on a medium flame. Let it get heated through well. Now transfer the rolled out parantha to it. flip it after a minute. take care not to brown this side too much. Same for the second side. You can now add a few drops of oil/ ghee on the surface and flip it again. Press it down with a metal spoon. This gives a crispy texture to the outer layer. Press it around evenly. And then flip it over once the side turns golden brown. Do the same with the other side. The cooking on the tava should take not more than 2-3 minutes or you might end up burning your parantha. There you go! But wait, before serving, you have to crush it a little with your hands. Hold the parantha in your palm and crush it slightly so the layers begin to separate a little. But be careful, it is going to be very hot!



Serve with lots of love and indulge!  




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