For the dough:
100g plain flour
1 generous tsp olive oil (or groundnut. Cooks hotter and good flavour)
For the filling:
1 large potato, cooked and mashed
salt (to taste)
1 dessertspoon favourite curry powder, or own spice mix*
- Add oil to flour, then add boiling water, while stirring, to make a firm dough. (This isn’t too critical. It’s probably easiest to make it a little soft, then firm it up by working in more flour as you knead the mixture, rather than struggling with a too dry mix.)
- Turn the hot mess out onto a floured board, and knead – carefully at first, it’s hot! – to make a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest while you get on with the filling.
- Add salt and spices to the mashed potato and work with a fork until smooth. It can taste a bit bitter and unprepossessing at this stage, but don’t worry. The alchemy of the oven heat will do its tricks.
- Knead the rested dough a little, then divide into 8. Roll into balls.
- Roll each ball into a disc about 10cm across, put a ball of potato mix in the centre, then gather up the dough round it to make a dumpling. I like to give it a good twist to make sure it’s well sealed. It looks pretty, too, and just occasionally you can still see that cute little spiral on the finished paratha.
- Roll, gently at first, into a disk about 12-15cm across. This is surprisingly easy! Don’t worry if the potato bursts out a little here and there.
- Put on well-oiled trays, paint with oil (preferably groundnut, but any veg oil will do), and put in a preheated hot oven, 220°C, for about 10 minutes. Serve with chutneys, yoghourt, or dips, or alongside your favourite curry.
The painting with oil is my attempt to be slightly healthier than the traditional recipes, which involve frying the parathas in gallons of ghee. It also fits in with the needs of my household, namely as few calories as possible, and non dairy, but you can go ahead with the gallons of ghee method if you like!
I always make at least 8 and freeze half of them. They are great straight from the freezer to the hot oven.
*My spice mix. I like to toast and grind my own spices from scratch, because I reckon that if I’m being super tight with all my cheap ingredients, I should put some effort into using the best, most flavoursome seasoning. But that’s just me, and I’m sure few people could tell the difference from a good supermarket curry powder. My spice mix is, vaguely, a couple of dried chillies, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 stick cinnamon, about 12 green cardamom pods, 4 cloves, 2 bay leaves and a teaspoon full of ground turmeric. I carefully nuke the mix in the microwave for half a minute, stir it with my finger, then give it a bit more of a blast. You have to be cautious, because half a minute too long can blacken the whole lot. You then have to throw it all away and start again. I then grind it in my Krups spice grinder, and sieve it, because hubby doesn’t like tooth shattering bits in his food.