Parathas are non-leavened flatbreads shallow fried in oil. They are usually sinfully rich and very filling. Many different flours can be used to make parathas but wheat flour is the easiest to work with as it is very kneadable. Most other flours cannot be kneaded into a dough (as they are poor in gluten - the glue which binds the dough together). So when using other flours, mixing in wheat flour makes them easier to work with.
Parathas are eaten with butter, yogurt, raitas, pickles, curries or tomato sauce. They can be eaten plain, or dipped in tea. Parathas originated in Punjab and quickly spread to the rest of the world. They travelled with Indian immigrants to Singapore and Malaysia and came to be called Loti prata and Roti canai. They became Farata in Mauritius, Palata in Burma and Bussup shut ( Bust up shirt - what a flaky, crumbly paratha resembles) in Trinidad.
Parathas can be thick or thin, small or large, round, square or triangular, stuffed or plain. Parathas can be cooked on a skillet, baked in an oven or even deep fried in oil / ghee.
Plain parathas :.
North Indian parathas are made from wholewheat flour ( Atta) and the south Indian parotta is made from all purpose flour ( Maida). The traditional style of creating a flaky, layered parathas take quite a bit of skill. It is much easier to use the shortcut given in the one page cookbook.
See Pooja’s garlic paratha, Barbara’s Methi paratha, Lacha paratha, Indosungod’s Pumpkin paratha ( neither a stuffed nor a plain paratha! )
Stuffed parathas :
Anything that can be shaped into a tight ball can be used to stuff a paratha. My Punjabi friend tells me of his grandma's threat - "finish off what's in your plate or you'll have it inside a paratha later today ! "
Anything wet and soggy will not make a good stuffing. This is why paneer/ boiled potato / boiled dal/ boiled green peas make easy stuffings, but grated radish / cauliflower take quite a bit of practice. For many vegetables, water needs to be squeezed out of the grated vegetable completely, before using them as stuffing. See Srivalli’s Mooli Paratha, Grihini’s Papaya Paratha, Anjali’s Carrot paratha, Divya’s Aloo paratha, Sreelu’s Aloo cheese paratha, Sheetal’s Corn paratha, Skrible’s Stuffed Methi paratha.Jugalbandi’s Gobi paratha, Pakistan’s Chole paratha and the innovative Halwa paratha.