Real Indian food is definitely outside my cooking comfort zone. So it was a leap of faith for me to make aloo paratha, potato-stuffed flatbread, for my Secret Recipe Club selection this month.
I own – and love – one Indian cookbook, by Madhur Jaffrey. And I’m always game for adding Indian spices to dishes, whether it is cauliflower steaks, apple-onion chutney, or soup. But making a homestyle Indian bread was an adventure. In the end, it turned out to be simpler than I thought. It will be even simpler for you, with the benefit of a few lessons I learned along the way.
My decision to make aloo paratha was sparked by my February assignment from the Secret Recipe Club. My partner is the creator of My Hobbie Lobbie. A former corporate executive from Mumbai, she left the business world to follow her passion for baking, cooking, and crafts. Intrigued by other posts on her site – a simple potato dish called aloo bhaji, savory cornflakes or cornflakes chivda, and a rice and peas dish known as peas pulao, I picked aloo paratha because it looked different from anything I’ve ever made before.
Tips for Making Aloo Paratha
- The ingredients are simple. After consulting with a number of experienced Indian cooks among my blogger friends, I discovered that the chilis could be any hot type – I chose jalapeno, which are not too hot, yet have a kick.
- This recipe yields aloo paratha with a pleasant taste, but not a lot of heat or spiciness. To turn up the heat use double the jalapeno or choose a hotter chili. For more spiciness, add more cumin or throw in some garam masala. (The original recipe called for a tiny amount of amchur, dried mango powder. I couldn’t find that spice and wish that I had been able to include it. From what I’ve read, amchur or amchoor would have added depth to the flavor, but not spiciness.)
- Use water sparingly when making the dough ball. Then, keep extra flour on hand to keep the dough from getting sticky as you divide it into smaller balls, put the filling in it and press or roll them into aloo paratha.
- Although no single step is particularly time consuming, the entire process is a bit lengthy. Still it’s worth it for homemade Indian bread that will wow your friends and family.
- You can make your own ghee (Indian-style clarified butter) to brush on the aloo paratha as they cook, using this easy set of instructions from Alton Brown. He isn’t known as an Indian cook, but provides clear and simple directions.
- As you finish the aloo paratha, keep them in a single layer or put waxed paper between the layers. I piled several and they stuck together as they cooled. Once they are cool, they can be stacked.