Paratha (Flaky Indian Flatbread)

paratha
Paratha (Flaky Indian Flatbread)Matt Taylor-Gross

An India-born cook who teaches classes for New York City's League of Kitchens, Yamini Joshi taught us this reliable paratha—or flaky whole wheat flatbread—recipe. Made using atta or chapatti flour, a hard durum wheat flour found at Indian markets, it can be used to make any number of atta-based flatbreads, such as roti. Because it is enriched with layers of ghee between the dough, it takes on a layered, flaky texture and chewiness. Enjoy it as a part of a full Indian meal, or, on its own, drizzled with melted ghee or honey.

Paratha (Flaky Indian Flatbread)
Enriched with layers of ghee between the dough, this Indian flatbread takes on a layered, flaky texture and chewiness.
Yield: makes 22
Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 34 cups atta (chapatti) flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 12 tsp. corn oil or canola oil, plus more for shaping
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Melted ghee, for brushing

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, use your hands to combine the flour, oil, and salt. Add 1 cup water and mix, pinching and kneading the dough as you work. Add an additional ¼ cup of water and continue to knead and turn the dough in the bowl, scraping up the loose flour from the sides and bottom. Continue until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. (If the dough seems dry, add up to ¼ cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between each addition.)
  2. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Rub a bit of oil on your hands, and roll each piece into a log, about 2 inches thick. Pinch off golf ball-sized pieces, about 1 ¼ ounce each, and roll each into a ball. Cover the balls with a dish towel and set aside.
  3. Fill a small bowl with atta flour, then lightly dust a chakla or countertop with more flour. Working with one ball of dough at a time, flatten the ball into a thick disk. Dredge the disk of dough in the bowl of flour, then use a belan or rolling pin to roll the ball into a disc about 8 12 inches in diameter. Brush the dough with a thin layer of ghee, then roll it down to form a tight snake. Stretch the snake of dough to elongate slightly, then, holding one end of the snake down against the work surface, coil the rest of the dough into a tight circle. Flatten the circle of dough gently, dredge it again in flour, and roll out to a 6 to 6 12 inch circle.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a tava or a medium dry nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium to medium heat. When the pan is well heated, add the paratha. Cook until it begins to bubble and form brown spots on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes, then flip; continue cooking until lightly browned and toasted in spots, 1-2 minutes more.
  5. Transfer the paratha to a serving dish, brush one or both sides lightly with more ghee and cover with a clean kitchen towel while you continue rolling and cooking the rest of the paratha in this manner. Serve warm.