Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Aloo Paratha with a hint of Fennel

"Aaarrgh! I'm not well. My stomach hurts, something terrible " I groaned. 
"Come out in 2 mins., it will stop hurting", my Father would say.
knock...knock...knock.... my Mother would rap on the bathroom door
I refused to open the door and kept groaning, loudly.
" It's 7:45, come on, hurry up!"
"Noooooo...aaaaa, ouch!"
This drama would continue for another 5-8 minutes, until it was 'safe'. 
Around 8:00 I'd step out and weakly totter to the bed and curl up with a comic book, fully aware that it was too late to be sent to school.

I went to a school which started at 11:00 a.m, except on Saturdays, when we had to reach school at 8:00 a.m.

I liked the part where I could wake up at 7:30 am, do a bit of left over homework, get ready and walk to school with my group of friends. 
Come Saturday, I would transform from a happy-go-lucky child to a whiner, clinging on to my sheets like my life depended on it and bleary eyed, droopy faced, petulant child. One whom, I am sure, the parents wanted to pick up and dunk in a pool of ice cold water or at least slap on the head with a sock full of wet sand.
I would whine, crawl and creep  in to the bathroom and refuse to come out. I would, every Saturday, complain of a severe stomach upset which would cripple me and refuse to budge until I was allowed to stay home. My parents had no choice, we lived in apartment (office quarters) and had just one bathroom.
Of course, I was not allowed to stay home every Saturday, but believe me, I got away with quite a few! But I always wonder how they put up with all that, especially when I compare it to how angelic my son is. 
With a proper school routine, things have sort of fallen into place. We wake up early, Little S wakes up without a fuss, which I must admit is very surprising for me. 

With this routine, lunch boxes also come into play and I have to make something that he likes. This does not mean he will eat it all, un-unn! A week down the line, he comes home with a half-eaten lunch box and saying that he does not have time enough to finish it.
2 breaks, lunch and snack and my boy does not get time to finish the small portions. Well! He'd have time if he ate more and talked less!

Last week, I made these Aloo Parathas, with a small twist. The thing about Aloo Parathas is, there are SO many versions! I make this version often and it has always been well received. This new variation is also approved by M, Little S and my friends too.
Why is this version different? It has a hint of fennel seed. That is what makes it different! 

2 large Russet Potatoes ( boil, peel and mash / grate)
2-3 Green Chilies
1 tsp Fennel seeds / Badishep
Ginger, a small knob (grated, 1 tsp or a little more)
Salt to taste
1- 1.25 tsp Cumin Powder
1-1.25 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1-2 tsp Lemon juice ( I used the ready to use and used about 2 big squirts- please adjust sourness to taste)
Salt, to taste
2 hefty pinches Kasuri Methi
2 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
Butter /Ghee
Dough for cover

For the Dough:
2  cups Whole Wheat flour ( Atta)
dash of salt
1- 1.5 tsp Bishop's weed /Ajwain

Make the dough. If using a food processor, add the dough, salt, ajwain to the bowl and set it on the 'dough' setting. Slowly add water thru the feed tube and make a soft and pliable dough.

If you are making a dough without a food processor, place the dough, salt and ajwain in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center, slowly add water and knead into a soft and supple dough ball.

Cover and set aside.

Make the stuffing.
Grind the green chilies, ginger root and fennel seeds with a pinch of salt to make a paste.
Add the paste to the mashed potatoes along with the rest of the spices mentioned above (up to cilantro) and mix well.
Taste and check for flavor and salt. Add  salt or spice if required.

Set the griddle on Medium- High and  prepare to make parathas.
there are two ways you can make these Parathas.

Method 1. Take a lemon sized ball of dough and roll it out into a 4 inch  flat-bread, add a heaping of the potato mixture ( roughly the same size as that of the dough).
Pull up the sides of the dough and close them around the potato mixture. Remove any excess dough on top and flatten it, like a patty. Dust with flour and roll out a flat bread about 6 inch in diameter.
Transfer this paratha to the hot griddle and shallow fry in ghee/ butter or oil until golden brown spots appear on both sides.
Do not skip the ghee/ butter or oil.

Method 2. - simpler, IHO.
Take 2 key lime sized balls of dough. dust with flour and roll out circles ( 4 inch diameter).
Dust with  bit of flour and take one circle, place potato mixture on it and spread it out, ever so gently,now place the second rolled out circle on top.
Seal the edges, firmly with your fingers and sprinkle some flour on top and roll the paratha, gently.This will ensure that the potato mixture spreads out evenly

Transfer to a hot griddle and shallow fry in ghee/ butter or oil.

Serve hot with pickles/ yogurt.


- I prefer the second method, though slightly labor intensive. This ensures that the outer cover is thin and the filling spreads evenly (this sometimes is a problem with method 1, I am left with just dough in the middle and the mixture spreads to the outer ends.)

- Method 2 is also useful when the potato mixture is very soft - this is seen when a particular variety is very soft and pasty ( ex. red potatoes)

- This is a very forgiving recipe, you need not measure the spices , you can eyeball- as long as it is a reasonable amount, and still get delicious results.

- Sneaky Mom tip: I add a pat of butter in the potato filling and then cover it up and roll it in t a paratha for my son. This keeps the paratha super soft - specially in lunch boxes, and adds to the taste.
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  1. Just loved the way how u act to cut off the school.. Really funny... Btw Aloo paratha looks great with fennel seeds...

  2. Aloo parathas look ery healthy and fulfilling. Fennel gives it a unique taste altogether.

    1. Thanks, Deepa! I am glad I made this version and more importantly, my boys ( both a bit fussy, I might add) loved it.

  3. I really do enjoy fennel in a lot of dishes, lovely combinations. Your parathas look so good, I can eat it all by itself.

    1. Thank You, Asha. I have recently started to like fennel in food.

  4. The Aloo Parathas look yummy. Your story sounds very similar to mine. Those were good days :)

  5. I enjoyed reading about your Saturday morning stomach aches :-) I did something similar when we had guests over or there was some festival and I could foresee more fun time at home than in the school. I would pretend to sleep, refusing to open my eyes no matter how much my parents tried LOL! They rolled me on the mattress, picked me up, gently rubbed my eyes with wet fingers, make me sit up and sang me wake up songs ('Utha utha chiu tai') :P but I still pretended to sleep, knowing that if I don't budge this roller-coaster ride will finally get over. Then just as Cinderella's magic lasted till the strike of 12, at the strike of 8 in the morning, my father would leave home for work and my eyes would open wide and the fun times began as I hop-skipped-jumped around the house. :-) I loved going to school but on some special days staying at home seemed like more fun.

    I love a touch of fennel in my food and will try your version very soon. Thanks for bringing back my childhood memories :-)

    - Priti

    1. Hehee, Priti, I remember how sleep vanishes just after the school bus is gone or soon as it is too late to go to school!
      I would beg my parents for a half day note, so I could come home early if we were having guests :)

  6. Makes me hungry, paratha looks fantastic and love that fennel touch here.

  7. had a laugh reading this post... i myself have been thinking of making aloo parathas.. will add fennel seeds this time:)

    1. Thanks, Renu. I hope you like this version. Let me know.

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, Divya. You have elevated the humble paratha to a newer height with yur comment!

  9. very yummy :D
    aloo paranthas have always been my favourites ^__^


  10. lol.. Didnt we all do that ??? Very interesting post Manasi, and adding fennel to aalu paratha is my fav bit :)

    Glad to follow you :)

  11. Pallavi,
    Fennel really gives this dish unique taste. Yummy...was so good.. Keep try making different dishes so we get chance to eat innovative dishes😀😀

  12. It's been a long time since I attempted paratha, Manasi -- you are tempting me here :) I can just imagine how lucious these are especially with that extra pat of butter in the filling.

  13. As a kid, a paratha in the lunch box would simply make my day. And you really have a knack for rolling out beautiful ones!

  14. Tasty and simple parathas.Can have it just like that


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