Aloo Paratha for Mellow Bakers

aloo parathaTucked away in the Miscellaneous Breads section of Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman is a recipe for a flat bread which uses no leaven, yeast or baking powder. It is made with water, flour and a little salt, spiced up with a potato filling, full of ginger and chilli and other seasoning, rolled out and cooked quickly on a skillet.

I started my preparations fairly late one day and put both the dough and the potato mix in the fridge overnight and carried on the following day. It’s not the fastest process in the world, so even though there is no waiting for dough to rise time, there is a lot of handwork involved.

Curiously my biggest problem came with the potatoes; JH says to grate cooked potatoes. So being lazy I thought fine I’ll put them in the food processor on a coarse setting. The first one went through fine and then they started to liquify into something resembling primordial slime. So I stopped, rescued what I could and carried on grating by hand, which was much easier.

It was fairly easy to get the filling inside the dough, especially as both parts had been thoroughly chilled. It was more fiddly to roll out the balls to a thin seven inch disk without the filling breaking through the dough. I had a couple of break throughs but it wasn’t too bad.

At this point it appeared to be levitating!

Getting the temperature of the skillet just right was also a bit of trial and error but we got there and then, just as Abby said in her post – whoosh they blew up into balloons – something like a pita bread does, and as the potato filling cooked, any steam generated inside the paratha found its way out.

We cooked them all, made a quick Rogan Josh chicken curry using – I will not tell a lie – a delicious fresh ready-made curry sauce with no nasty additives, fresh chicken, courgettes and coriander (cilantro), steamed some basmatti rice and ate away.

Now the question is, did I make them properly?  You see, I thought they were a bit bland and a lot of work for something to scoop curry sauce up with. The texture is just what you’d expect from a soft wheaty unfermented bread and is a little lifeless.  I’d prefer to eat naan or dosa,  but  I am glad I have had a go at them though!  I’m also left with a huge can of ghee. I’m looking forward to making some sourdough later in the week when I have a moment.

Do visit Melanie and Abby, both excellent Mellow Bakers, who have also made these and check out how they got on! And here is a great set of pictures by Geraint!

What’s your favourite bread for mopping up a spicy sauce?


38 thoughts on “Aloo Paratha for Mellow Bakers

  1. OliePants

    I love aloo paratha and its quite fun to make – you know then the bread puffs up like that you’re doing it right!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hi OliePants! I’m guessing it’s the steam generated inside that creates the puff, as the dough has no yeast or levain? Do you make yours like this?

  2. Abby

    They look perfect, Joanna! So glad they survived after the potato ooze incident. ;-) I didn’t love them either (definitely prefer naan, too), but my hubby really enjoyed them. Still, always fun to make something different. :-)

  3. bagnidilucca

    Primordial slime – yum. I like roti – is that how you spell it? Actually I just love bread, with the possible exception of Tuscan bread, which is made without salt and virtually tasteless.

  4. sallybr

    Primordial slime…. very appetizing indeed! :-)

    I’ve always been curious about this type of bread, and thought I would give it a try during our trip back home last week, but did not have a chance to make it. I am such a great fan of naan, hoped that this would be similar.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Not much you can do when your food processor does that is there? gloop gloop….

      I’d be curious to see what you make of it too Sally, one day…. :D

  5. drfugawe

    We all think you’re putting us on, Jo – with all those good ingredients and your skills, how could it not be delicious? Maybe you’re losing your sense of taste – maybe?
    My favorite bread is a rustic loaf with soft, silky crumb, and a crunchy, chewy crust. And it must be used to sop up all the liquid sauce of a big bowl of steamed mussels!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Now you’re talking! I think it’s more the texture than the taste, if that makes any sense? Steamed mussels – I haven’t done those in a while…. I love mussels!

  6. Paul

    Well, I’ll let you know if they are “manbread” shortly, just picked up my cilantro, chili (a jalapeño, it’s all I could find) and ginger. I guess I’ll also need to come up with a nice curry type dinner to go with it, too.

    Looks great, in spite of the final review.

    “Manbread”. Harrumph!

  7. jan trounce

    Aloo Joanna, you are such an impressive cook. I make naan bread (man bread is a good description -I started it because of Himself). I sprinkle mine with nigella seeds – I think they’re also known as onion seed and, like your description of doing the poppy seed sand dance, I find them all over the floor so that it looks as though instead of ‘sprinkling’ in a professional manner – always my desperate aim – I do a mindless chuck (they look like cockroach droppings on the floor – eeew).

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Aloo Jan! Back from your hols? How were they? Nigella seed are also hazardous but marginally easier to spot as they are a bit bigger. When I read about adding seeds as a top dressing to breads, the writers always calmly have little plates and brush water on the top of the dough and gently press into seeds etc etc. When I do that I get clumps of seeds in spots usually and they still fall off. Beaten up egg is quite good for sticking stuff on tops. I want to see your naan bread one of these days too! Sure you’re not going to start a blog…? we all think it would be fun to read ;)

      1. jan trounce

        Yes, back from my jolly hols. Have hung up my all-terrain, thermo-nuclear knickers – for quite a while I think – it was a lot of up hill and then a lot of down hill, and a lot of plumping on my bum in the mud – but it somehow lodged in my soul and I miss it – the landscape, that is. Will attempt to send photos of me on my jolly hols. Bagni di Lucca’s Jim seemed to get through totally unsplodged whereas by the end of each day I looked like primordial ooze from head to toe and even then I landed on my bum in the shower! A most gorgeous young french man passed us on one of our water gathering breaks and we had a quick chat (and me with my hair not done!). Later in the day some folks reported him going at a canter because he’d unwittingly stepped on a tiger snake and it objected. Mon dieu@!

  8. GillthePainter

    Good morning Joanna.
    I think plain is good when it’s sitting on a plate beside an Indian meal. So you’ve done an excellent, expert job from what I can see.

    Nice tip in the book for making mustard oil I see.

    I can’t see, but may have missed it.
    Did you use chapatti flour?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Good Morning to you too! Ah, you’ve noticed all the bits I have skirted round… no I didn’t make the mustard oil and I didn’t have chapatti flour but used sieved wholemeal…. I must get over to St Marks Road and Bristol Sweet Mart and buy more supplies. I like plain breads too but I found this a bit heavy and sort of limp. A good baker would endlessly remake breads, tweaking till she got it just so. I’m a bit of a flybynight, so many breads to try, only one life and only so many meals one can eat.

  9. heidi

    I like naan bread and a crusty Italian or sourdough rye for sopping up the juices.
    I like bread, period.
    Except the poorly salted varieties!
    I agree about the texture- bread without texture is a cracker.

  10. Melanie Corley

    Your paratha look much better than mine, the way they browned and all. They were a bit bland, but if you spice up the potato filling well and then have a nice, soppy curry to dip it in, its not bad. The naan I’ve had was much tastier, but was made by my Indian neighbor so maybe she knows a secret or 2. I thought the brushed on ghee would add lots of flavor, but not so. Your meal looks wonderful. Basmati is my favorite rice to make! I’m hoping to try sourdough soon too. Starter looks much better this morning.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I thought yours looked better! Aren’t we funny? And they were bland, I guess by the time you’ve rolled out that filling so thin it loses its spiciness. You need to get your neighbour to teach you her secrets and then tell me!

      Glad to hear the starter is coming on too :D

  11. Nip it in the bud

    ”a bit bland and a lot of work” sums up my bread making experience generally!
    To be fair to myself though that was because I was experimenting with gluten free flours. Bread is contraband here sadly but if I was going to experiment I think this panda bread would be on my list just because it looks so ace!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Sorry to hear that bread is off limits. There was a small study recently which showed positive indications that maybe hydrolised wheat in the form of sourdough can be tolerated successfully by gluten intolerant folk, but it is early days yet and the sample was too small to be significant. In the meantime, I have read about some good gluten free bread. Celia wrote about a Dan Lepard recipe here that went down well apparently.

      Love that panda bread! Must try it one day soon :D

  12. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    These looks sooo pretty Jo! I’m surprised they’re bland with the filling though? My fave bread for mopping up fillings has to be a plain roti or naan. Can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with all that lovely ghee…maybe keep to the trend and make another Indian dish or two?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I don’t know what I’m going to do with all that ghee Celia! Any suggestions? I’m definitely going to make dosas again the Spice Girl way this time ;)

  13. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Ghee, ghee, ghee… I’ve got a sweet little Indian recipe for Semolina Cardamom balls somewhere that uses ghee if they appeal?
    These look lovely Jo, and I can’t imagine them tasting anything less than perfect!
    Favourite bready thing for a good mopping?…roti, hopper, chapati, naan…sorry can’t choose!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Yes please! Love cardamon flavours! Once upon a time I had the best carrot halva which was dark and rich and full of dried fruit, but I’ve never seen a recipe that looks like it would make what I tasted…

      Hopper? I don’t know hoppers… :) Are they something Australian to do with kangaroos?

  14. LovingFood

    Just stumbled upon your blog :) Fellow baking enthusiast here!
    I’d say spice up the potatoes more, they should be fairly spicy. I would never make paratha to go with dinner, it’s a bit of a waste of labour to be honest. Go with plain roti or naan with a curry. Paratha is more often eaten for breakfast or as a snack. They are also stuffed with spicy minced meat and sometimes grated radishes. I If you’d like to eat something with them, I’d say a spicy omelette or scambled eggs and some pickles. I would just make sure there was enough filling (without it coming out from here and there) to make it more substantial and would just eat them as they are – warm – with a cup of tea.

  15. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Hi there, thanks for visiting me. I like the idea of paratha and a cup of tea, maybe a spoonful of some good chutney to go with it? I’m on a bit of a learning curve exploring Indian cooking at home so it’s always great to hear more from people :D

  16. LovingFood

    Chutney would definitely be nice with paratha and perhaps a relish. Anjum Anand is good for learning authentic Indian cooking, I use her all the time. Dont be put off by the scary make up on her book covers! haha. There should be some recipes on

    Re: Croissants. Defo give it a go. I think the reason why Bourke St. Bakery’s were better than R.Allen was because they used a starter and longer rise, I think I made it over three days. So if you make a starter and leave it in the fridge overnight or use sourdough starter then that will improve taste, no doubt, and then just add that to R.Allen’s recipe. Also good idea to chill all the ingredients in the fridge before starting. Thanks for visiting me too and good luck!

Comments are closed.