09 November, 2011

Ajwain ka Parantha (Flaky Panfried Flatbread with Carom seeds)

Because you're worth it.

Go ahead. Spoil yourself (or a loved one)  with this simple but versatile bread that can be a teatime snack, a meal by itself, or even the main accompaniment in a grand spread.

Ajwain paranthas are in a class by themselves.  With just some salt and a few seeds of ajwain in the dough, the end result is complete enough to be rolled up and munched right away. With a dash of butter as above. Or with some fresh home-made yoghurt to dip into. Accompanied by a nice cup of chai on cold days or some "chaas" or spiced buttermilk when the mercury is up.


Aata (Dough) kneaded with a little salt to taste - as required
Ajwain seeds - 1/2 tspn per parantha
Oil or Ghee - for cooking - approx 1-2 tspns per parantha.


Here's how ajwain looks. (A bit like the tinier, rounder version of jeera or cumin seeds, but with a distinct, and strong, - quite pungent when raw, - aroma). It is also often used as a digestive aid and an antiseptic.

The usual way is to knead the ajwain seeds into the dough, (use as little as half a teaspoonful for 3-4 paranthas or double or triple that much).

To make the paranthas using plain dough (which is what I usually do, since that's what is always available in my fridge as daily stock), roughly and thickly roll out a ball of dough (this is called a "loi" in Hindi - the ball of dough that will be used to roll out one flat bread).

 Sprinkle some ajwain seeds on the surface. Skip this step and the next (embedding), if the ajwain is kneaded in.

This can be by hand, or using one of those sprinkle-capped spice jars.

"Roll" over the seeds to embed them in the dough.

Spread out evenly half or one tspn of oil using a spatula (less oil will do if you roll out a smaller circle this first round)

Make a radial cut - again using the same spatula that will also be used cook the parantha on the griddle.

Start rolling one end from the cut -

And making a cone shape while rolling around the centre

Radially -

All the way around till it forms a cone shape.

Stand this 'cone' on one end

And squash it down into a flat circle.

This forms the new "loi" to be rolled out once more, a procedure that creates many 'layers' in the parantha.

 Place this on a hot tawa or griddle (cast iron is great)

As soon as the layers start looking 'cooked' flip it over and let the other side 'cook' for a few seconds,

Then add some oil

And spread it with the spatula


The oil from one side might be enough for the other side when flipped again, if not, add a few drops more

Press down (using a medium flame - keep adjusting the heat so as not to burn the parantha) and cook evenly both sides till golden brown,

The secret of a great parantha lies in the multiple layers and perfect texture - soft and layered inside and crisp outside.

Also great with some Khatta-Meetha Achar (Sweet-Sour Pickle) and Chaas (Spiced Buttermilk).

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