A paratha is a flatbread that originated in South Asia. It is still quite prevalent throughout the area. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat and atta which literally means layers of cooked dough. Alternative spellings and names include parantha, parauntha, prontha, parontay, porota (in Bengali), palata (pronounced: [pəlàtà]; in Burma), and farata (in Sri Lanka and the Maldives).
It is one of the most popular unleavened flat breads in the northern part of the South Asian subcontinent and is made by pan fryingwhole wheat dough on a tava. The parantha dough usually contains ghee or cooking oil which is also layered on the freshly prepared paratha. Paranthas are usually stuffed with boiled potatoes (as in aloo ka parantha), leaf vegetables, radishes, cauliflower, and/or paneer (Cottage-cheese). A parantha (especially a stuffed one) can be eaten simply with a pat of butter spread on top, with chutney, pickles, ketchup, and yogurt, or with meat or vegetable curries. Some roll the parantha into a tube and eat it with tea, often dipping the parantha.
The parantha can be round, heptagonal, square, or triangular. When it is round, the stuffing is mixed with the kneaded flour, and the parantha is prepared in the same way as roti, but in the latter two forms, the peda (ball of kneaded flour) is flattened into a circle, the stuffing is kept in the middle, and the flatbread is closed around the stuffing like an envelope. The latter two also vary in that they have discernible soft layers, with one "opening" to the crispier shell layers.
The paratha is an important part of a traditional South Asian breakfast. Traditionally, it is made using ghee but oil is also used. Some people may even bake it in the oven for health reasons. Usually the paratha is eaten with dollops of white butter on top of it. Sides which go very well with paratha are curd, fried egg, omelette, qeema (ground mutton cooked with vegetables and spices), nihari (a lamb dish), zeera aloo (potatoes lightly fried with cumin seeds), daal, and raita as part of a breakfast meal. It may be stuffed with potatoes, paneer, onions, qeema or chili peppers.
The process of layering the "skins" of dough in a parantha can make preparation a difficult process. This, mixed with the popularity of this flatbread, has opened the market to several ranges of frozen parantha, especially in Western markets where consumers seek authenticity, but lack the time required to make a parantha from scratch. Ready-to-cook parantha may also be purchased. These preparations offer one-step preparation and save time. Some of the ready-to-cook products in the market are just the stuffings for making the stuffed paranthas.