How to Make Indian Parathas

Indian paratha served with vegetable curry
Indian paratha served with vegetable curry

Parathas are a type of Indian flatbread, similar in this sense to the perhaps better known naan and chapati but also very different, particularly in texture. Parathas are made with wholemeal flour and are rolled, folded and re-rolled in their preparation - in a similar way to puff pastry - to make the served bread layered and flaky. Known by a number of different names within India and the suroounding area, parathas are often stuffed/flavoured with a number of spices and/or vegetables but in the first instance, this page shows how to make a basic paratha as may be served in an Indian restaurant in the West. Serving suggestions and a couple of recipe variations follow further down the page.

Freshly made Indian parathas
Freshly made Indian parathas

How to Make the Dough for Indian Parathas

Measuring out the flour for Indian parathas
Measuring out the flour for Indian parathas

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 4 min

Ready in: 9 min

Yields: 2 parathas

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (½ cup) strong wholemeal flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus extra for frying

Starting to mix the dough for Indian parathas
Starting to mix the dough for Indian parathas

Put the flour in to a large glass or stone mixing bowl and season with the salt. Add the oil, along with two tablespoons of cold water. Use your hands to mix the ingredients in to a dough.

Indian paratha dough
Indian paratha dough

The dough is ready for dividing and rolling when it ceases to stick to your fingers. It should be moist but not wet. Different types of flour in particular, however, means that there is a possibility your dough may be a little bit too wet or dry. Should this be the case, add a very small amount of extra flour or water until you achieve the desired consistency.

Dough is separated for rolling individual parathas
Dough is separated for rolling individual parathas

Divide the dough in to two equal portions and roll between your palms in to balls. Each ball should be a little bit bigger in size than a golf ball.

How to Roll Paratha Dough

Rolling paratha dough
Rolling paratha dough

Lightly dust a clean, dry surface and a rolling pin with more wholemeal flour. Sit the first dough ball on the surface and roll out evenly until it is about the size of a saucer.

Rolled paratha dough is folded over on itself
Rolled paratha dough is folded over on itself

Lift half the circle over the other to form a semi-circle as shown above.

Rolled paratha is folded a second time
Rolled paratha is folded a second time

Fold the dough a second time to form a quarter circle.

Folded paratha is re-rolled
Folded paratha is re-rolled

Roll the dough out a second time - using a little bit more flour as and when required, though never too much or your dough will become too dry - to the same general size/thickness as before. The folding and re-rolling process should be repeated twice.

How to Cook Parathas

Vegetable oil is heated in non-stick frying pan
Vegetable oil is heated in non-stick frying pan

Parathas are traditionally cooked on tavas, which are heavy, cast iron pans commonly used in some forms of Asian cooking. The good news, however, is that they can be cooked perfectly well in a standard, Western, non-stick frying pan. It is important, however, that the pan be brought up to a very high heat, containing a little vegetable oil (about a tablespoon is more than sufficient) if the dough is to cook properly.

Paratha is fried in a hot frying pan
Paratha is fried in a hot frying pan

When you have rolled your dough out for the final time, it is likely it will have lost its perfectly round shape. You can cut it with a template, trim it with a knife, or fry it as it is, depending upon your preference. Do ensure however that it is of even thickness and can fit fully in to the base of your pan.

The parathas will take up to a couple of minutes each side. You will know it is ready for turning when it starts to blister significantly on the top. Flip it over and fry for a similar time on the second side.

Hot paratha is briefly drained on kitchen paper
Hot paratha is briefly drained on kitchen paper

When you take each paratha from the pan, sit it very briefly on some kitchen paper on a plate to drain off the excess oil. If they are not then going straight to a serving plate, keep them warm in a low oven.

Serving Suggestions for Indian Parathas

Indian paratha with spiced onions
Indian paratha with spiced onions

This is a (double) slightly different take on the popular Indian restaurant starter/appetizer of spiced onions with poppadoms. Not only are the poppadoms replaced by a quartered paratha, this spiced onions recipe sees the onions prepared with a homemade tomato and pepper sauce, rather than the more frequently employed tomato ketchup.

Indian paratha with vegetable curry
Indian paratha with vegetable curry

Parathas are also an excellent accompaniment to an Indian main course and can be used to scoop up and eat curry, especially perhaps where rice is not served. This is a simple vegetable curry, served with a halved paratha.

Simple Paratha Variations

As well as being served as an accompaniment to a meal, parathas can also be served stuffed as a main dish in their own right. Potatoes are a common filling in such instances and this is a simple spicy potato recipe that is perfect for the purpose. The recipe also sees garlic and coriander/cilantro incorporated in the paratha.

Garlic and Coriander Paratha with Spicy Potato Salad

A really simple but spicy potato salad is encased in a folded paratha
A really simple but spicy potato salad is encased in a folded paratha

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ready in: 45 min

Yields: Two servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium baking potato
  • Salt
  • 1 medium strength green chilli, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro, plus extra for paratha and to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 2 peeled and grated garlic cloves, one for potato mix and one for paratha
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Black pepper
  • 4 ounces wholemeal flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus extra for frying
  • Little bit of butter

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chopped potatoes ready for boilingGreen chilli and coriander/cilantroCooked potatoes are chopped for saladCombining spicy potato salad ingredientsSpicy potato saladCoriander scattered on once rolled paratha doughCoriander and garlic paratha is friedCoriander and garlic paratha is butteredSpicy potato salad is added to coriander and garlic parathaCoriander and garlic paratha is folded over potato salad
Chopped potatoes ready for boiling
Chopped potatoes ready for boiling
Green chilli and coriander/cilantro
Green chilli and coriander/cilantro
Cooked potatoes are chopped for salad
Cooked potatoes are chopped for salad
Combining spicy potato salad ingredients
Combining spicy potato salad ingredients
Spicy potato salad
Spicy potato salad
Coriander scattered on once rolled paratha dough
Coriander scattered on once rolled paratha dough
Coriander and garlic paratha is fried
Coriander and garlic paratha is fried
Coriander and garlic paratha is buttered
Coriander and garlic paratha is buttered
Spicy potato salad is added to coriander and garlic paratha
Spicy potato salad is added to coriander and garlic paratha
Coriander and garlic paratha is folded over potato salad
Coriander and garlic paratha is folded over potato salad
  1. The potato should be peeled and quartered. Although it is going to be more finely chopped at a later stage, if you cut it too small for boiling, the smaller pieces will soak up too much water and become soggy. Soak the pieces in cold water for ten minutes then drain, add to fresh water with some salt and bring to a simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes until just soft. Drain, return to the pot and allow to steam off for five minutes.
  2. Combine the coriander, one of the garlic cloves, the chilli, yoghurt and turmeric in a mixing bowl. Chop the potato to roughly three-quarter inch pieces and stir/fold in to the mix. Season as necessary with salt and pepper.
  3. The second garlic clove should be added to the dough mix for the parathas. When the parathas are rolled for the first time, a little coriander should be scattered over the top before each one is folded.
  4. As soon as each paratha comes out of the frying pan, spread with a little butter (or ghee if you have it) before laying on a serving plate.
  5. Spoon some of the potato salad on to half of each paratha, fold over and garnish with the last of the coriander to serve.

Chive Parathas with Turmeric and Garlic Dip

Freshly made, chive infused parathas are served with a turmeric and garlic yoghurt dip
Freshly made, chive infused parathas are served with a turmeric and garlic yoghurt dip

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 15 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and grated or crushed
  • Salt
  • 4 ounces wholemeal flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives, plus extra to garnish dip

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Turmeric and garlic dip ingredientsPreparing turmeric and garlic dipCombining turmeric and garlic dip ingredientsChopped chives are added to basic paratha dough ingredientsChive paratha is fried as normalChive parathas are drained on kitchen paperTurmeric and garlic dip is plated in a small ramekin
Turmeric and garlic dip ingredients
Turmeric and garlic dip ingredients
Preparing turmeric and garlic dip
Preparing turmeric and garlic dip
Combining turmeric and garlic dip ingredients
Combining turmeric and garlic dip ingredients
Chopped chives are added to basic paratha dough ingredients
Chopped chives are added to basic paratha dough ingredients
Chive paratha is fried as normal
Chive paratha is fried as normal
Chive parathas are drained on kitchen paper
Chive parathas are drained on kitchen paper
Turmeric and garlic dip is plated in a small ramekin
Turmeric and garlic dip is plated in a small ramekin
  1. Stir the turmeric and garlic in to the yoghurt in a bowl. Season to taste with salt. Spoon in to a small ramekin and garnish with some chives.
  2. The teaspoon of chives should be stirred in to the paratha dough ingredients before the paratha is rolled and cooked as normal.
  3. Serve the parathas hot with the dip on the side.

© 2014 Gordon Hamilton

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17 comments

Margie Lynn profile image

Margie Lynn 3 months ago from Beautiful Texas Hill Country

We are wanting to try some Indian recipes, this sounds like a good one to start with! Thanks!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 2 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, Margaret for your comment. Glad you like the idea. I hope you and your family love the results :)


Margaret Schindel profile image

Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

Gordon, I love Indian food and Indian breads in particular. Aloo paratha is among my favorites. Thanks for the recipe and the very helpful step-by-step instructions and photos.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 2 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks very much Sushma - I'm glad this was useful to you and very much hope it proves useful to your friends.

Thanks BigBlue54 - sounds like these could be ideal for you to try. Hope you enjoy the end result :)


BigBlue54 profile image

BigBlue54 2 years ago from Hull, East Yorkshire

I will have to give this a go Gordon. I enjoy Indian food and as I like baking as well it will give me a chance to try something different.

Thanks for sharing. :)


Sushma Webber profile image

Sushma Webber 2 years ago from New Zealand

Well done! My friends wanted to know how I made the parathas and now I can send then a link to your article!! Thanks for a comprehensive hub.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 2 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

I hope this maybe inspires you to give cooking a try, sam777777

Yes, onions are really delicious in parathas Harshit Pandey - thanks for visiting

Thanks ojhadv - I've never had them stuffed with cabbage or cauliflower but it certainly sounds good

Glad it's useful to you Blond Logic and thank you. Hope you enjoy these simple delights :)

You will probably be surprised by how incredibly simple they are to make, Journey. Hope you do give them a try to thanks for visiting.

Yes, the layer numbers could be varied as desired choosetolive. Thanks for the votes!


choosetolive profile image

choosetolive 2 years ago from London, Canada

Good recipe. Though the layers are less in this flat bread but it will definitely help beginners like me; who would like to try cooking paratha at home.

Thanks for the recipe. Thumps up & tweeted as well.


Journey * profile image

Journey * 2 years ago from USA

Hi Gordon Hamilton,

Thanks for this recipe. I really should try it some time. I enjoy parathas at Indian restaurants but I have never made them myself.

Best,

Journey *


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 2 years ago from Brazil

I have never had these before but look forward to trying them. I love the fact that you not only showed us how to make them, you showed us how we can use them.

Your pictures are very helpful as well. I am going to bookmark this for future reference. Sharing this one.

Thanks.


ojhadv 2 years ago

Well that's awesome way to create paranthas, and its considered healthy breakfast which i have daily, stuffed with cabbage, and couliflower + cheese is my personal favourite


Harshit Pandey profile image

Harshit Pandey 2 years ago from Varanasi

I love paranthas :) Especially the onion one ..... By the way great post (y)


sam777777 profile image

sam777777 2 years ago from Queens, NY

I do not cook, but I will learn a lot from this blog. Keep on creating more blogs on food.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 2 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, rebeccamealey - hope the ideas are useful to you :)

Thanks, randomcreative - I hope you get to give them a try. They're very different from naans or chapatis but I enjuoy them.

Thanks, MG Singh - me, too!


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 2 years ago from Singapore

I love parothas. Nice post


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I've had naan many times but never parathas. How neat to make it yourself, and I love that you included a recipe to go with it.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I love all the serving suggestions for the parathas. They look delicious. Thanks!

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