INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT EUROPE
Flatbreads are among the oldest traditional foods, and much of the flatbread tradition in Europe was influenced thousands of years ago by migrating Asians who brought their own ideas and methods, yet strangely it has only been since the mid-20th century that the original flatbreads have come to prominence. Increasingly popular in the countries of Europe where Asians from the Indian sub-continent have migrated, paratha – generally a breakfast food – is served as a wholesome snack, a reminder of the unleavened bread made by the ancients – and not much has changed about the method.
Paratha is made with two parts wheat flour to roughly one part water, a sufficient amount of ghee or oil to make a pliable dough with a little salt. Cumin and lovage seeds or herbs can be added to the dough to give it a pungent kick.
Stuffings include almond, cashew and pistachio nuts, cauliflower, coconut, curd cheese, onion, potato, radish, spinach and split peas which are flavoured with a combination from coriander leaves, green chillies, fenugreek leaves, mango powder and mixed ground hot spices.
For our test recipes we made a filling with baked potatoes left to rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days, fresh spinach cooked in its own moisture, cumin seeds, garam masala and dried mango powder.
- 500 g white wheat flour
- 200 ml warm milk with egg / 275 ml warm milk without egg
- 1 egg (optional)
- 45 ml vegetable oil, for coating
- 30 g butter / ghee / oil
- 15 g yoghurt
- 10 g sugar
- 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves, dried
- 5 g salt
- Flour, for dusting
Sieve flour into a large bowl, add salt and sugar. Rub ghee or butter (or vegetable oil) into the flour, add milk or milk and egg plus herb and yoghurt. Knead into a smooth dough, coat with oil and leave to rest covered with a damp towel for several hours. Divide into 50 g portions, shape into balls. Coat each ball with oil, leave for 15 minutes. In turn, flatten each ball, dust with flour and roll paper-thin into round disks. Place two teaspoons of filling on each disk, smooth out over disk almost to the edges, roll loosely into a tube, twist into a spiral, seal the end. Flatten and roll out to a thickness of 1 cm, again disk-shaped. Coat each disk with oil on both sides. Bake on a hot tava coated with a little oil, a couple of minutes each side.