|Place of origin||Indian subcontinent|
|Region or state||Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia|
|Associated national cuisine||Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka|
|Main ingredients||Atta, maida, ghee/butter/cooking oil and various stuffings|
A paratha (pronounced [pəˈrɑːtʰə]) is a flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent, prevalent throughout the modern-day nations of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Myanmar, where wheat is the traditional staple. 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 (Punjabi), porota (in Odia, Bengali, Malayalam), palata (pronounced [pəlàtà]; in Burma), porotha (in Assamese), forota (in Sylheti) and farata (in Mauritius, Sri Lanka and the Maldives).
The Hindi word paratha is derived from Sanskrit (S. पर, or परा+स्थः, or स्थितः). Recipes for various stuffed wheat puranpolis (which Achaya (2003) describes as parathas) are mentioned in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present-day Karnataka. However, Puran poli is a separate bread. Earlier references to paratha have been mentioned by Nijjar (1968), in his book Panjāb under the sultāns, 1000-1526 A.D. when he writes that parauthas were common with the nobility and aristocracy in the Punjab.
According to Banerji (2010), parathas are associated with Punjabi and North Indian cooking. The Punjabi method is to stuff parathas with a variety of stuffings. However, Banerji states, Mughals were also fond of parathas which gave raise to the Dhakai paratha, multilayered and flaky, taking its name from Dhaka in Bangladesh. O'Brien (2003) suggests that it is not correct to state that the Punjabi paratha was popularised in Delhi after the 1947 partition of India, as the Punjabi item was prevalent in Delhi before then.
Plain and stuffed varieties
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Dietary fiber||9.6 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Parathas are one of the most popular unleavened flatbreads in the Indian Subcontinent, made by baking or cooking whole wheat dough on a tava, and finishing off with shallow frying. Parathas are thicker and more substantial than chapatis/rotis and this is either because, in the case of a plain paratha, they have been layered by coating with ghee or oil and folding repeatedly (much like the method used for puff pastry or some types of Turkish börek) using a laminated dough technique; or else because food ingredients such as mixed vegetables have been mixed in with the dough, such as potato or cauliflower, green beans, and carrots. A Rajasthani mung bean paratha uses both the layering technique together with mung dal mixed into the dough. Some so-called stuffed parathas resemble a filled pie squashed flat and shallow fried, using two discs of dough sealed around the edges. Then by alternatively using a single disc of dough to encase a ball of filling and sealed with a series of pleats pinched into the dough around the top, gently flattened with the palm against the working surface before being rolled into a circle. Most stuffed parathas are not layered.
Perhaps the most common stuffing for parathas is mashed, spiced potatoes (aloo ka parantha) followed perhaps by dal (lentils). Many other alternatives exist such as leaf vegetables, radishes, cauliflower or paneer. A paratha (especially a stuffed one) can be eaten simply with a pat of butter spread on top or with chutney, pickles, ketchup, dahi or a raita or with meat or vegetable curries. Some roll the paratha into a tube and eat it with tea, often dipping the paratha.
To achieve the layered dough for plain parathas, a number of different traditional techniques exist. These include covering the thinly rolled out pastry with oil, folding back and forth like a paper fan and coiling the resulting strip into a round shape before rolling flat, baking on the tava and shallow frying. Another method is to cut a circle of dough from the centre to its circumference along its radius, oiling the dough and starting at the cut edge rolling so as to form a cone which is then squashed into a disc shape and rolled out. The method of oiling and repeatedly folding the dough as in western puff pastry also exists, and this is combined with folding patterns that give traditional geometrical shapes to the finished parathas. Plain parathas can be round, heptagonal, square, or triangular.
The paratha is an important part of a traditional breakfast from the Indian subcontinent. 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. Side dishes which go very well with paratha are curd, fried egg, omelette, mutton kheema (ground mutton cooked with vegetables and spices), nihari (a lamb dish), jeera 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.
- Ajwain paratha (layered paratha laced with ajwain)
- Aloo paratha (stuffed with spicy boiled potato and onions mix)
- Aloo cheese paratha
- Anda paratha (stuffed with spiced egg)
- Band gobi wala paratha or Patta gobhi paratha (stuffed with cabbage)
- Batuha paratha (Lamb's quarter, Chenopodium album)
- Boondi paratha (stuffed with salty boondi & baked with ghee)
- Ceylon paratha (from Sri Lanka)
- Chana paratha (chick peas)
- Channa dal paratha (stuffed with channa dal)
- Chicken paratha
- Chili parotha or mirchi paratha (small, spicy shredded pieces)
- Dal paratha (stuffed with boiled, spiced and mashed dal mostly available in northwestern and western India)
- Dhakai paratha (a type of layered paratha found in Dhaka, Bangladesh)
- Dhaniya paratha (coriander)
- Gajar paratha (carrot)
- Gobi paratha (stuffed with flavoured cauliflower)
- Jaipuri paratha
- Kerala paratha (popular version pronounced "porotta")
- Lachha paratha – tandoori (Punjabi in origin. Round in shape with multiple layers traditionally prepared in a tandoor)
- Lachha paratha – tawa wali (popular in eastern India, triangular in shape with multiple layers interspaced with ghee)
- Lasuni Paratha (Garlic flavoured)
- Lauki paratha (bottle gourd)
- Makka paratha (corn)
- Mattar paratha (stuffed with boiled, mashed and flavoured green peas)
- Meetha paratha (stuffed with sugar)
- Methi paratha (stuffed with fenugreek leaves)
- Mooli paratha (radish-stuffed paratha, popular in most regions of northern India and the Punjab region of India.)
- Mughlai paratha (a deep-fried stuffed paratha filled with egg and minced meat)
- Murthal Paratha, deep-fried, Dhabas of Haryana and specially at Murthal on Grand Trunk Road are famous for this
- Mutton paratha
- Papeetey ka paratha (papaya stuffed paratha)
- Mix paratha
- Palak paratha (spinach)
- Paneer paratha (stuffed with cottage cheese)
- Papad parantha
- Parton wala paratha (Lachha paratha)
- Petai paratha (Smashed paratha)
- Plain paratha (layered roti without any stuffing except ghee and baked with ghee – popular in most regions of India)
- Podeena paratha (laced with dry mint)
- Putthay taway ka paratha
- Pyaz ka paratha (stuffed with onion)
- Qeema paratha, (stuffed with minced meat (keema), usually mutton, mostly available in Punjab, Hyderabad in India, and Myanmar)
- Roti prata (Singapore & Malaysia)
- Sattu paratha (stuffed with spiced sattu – roasted gram flour popular in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar)
- Shrimp paratha
- Sugar paratha (layered with caramelized sugar, usually after a meal or as dessert)
- Tandoori paratha
- Tomato paratha (stuffed with tomatoes)
Punjabi Aloo Paratha served with Butter, from India
South Indian parotta
Trinidadian-style roti paratha
The process of layering the "skins" of dough in a paratha can make preparation a difficult process. This, mixed with the popularity of this flatbread, has opened the market to several ranges of frozen paratha, especially in Western markets where consumers seek authenticity. Ready-to-cook paratha 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 parathas.
- Chitrita Banerji (10 December 2008). Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-1-59691-712-5.
- Joe Cummings. Myanmar (Burma). Lonely Planet.
- Verma, Neera. Mughlai Cook Book. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. ISBN 9788171825479 – via Google Books.
- Platts, John (1884). "A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English". A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. W. H. Allen & Co. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
parāṭhā [S. पर, or परा+स्थः, or स्थितः], s.m. A cake made with butter or ghī, and of several layers, like pie-crust.
- K.T. Achaya (2003). The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-81-7371-293-7.
- Nijjer, Bakhshish Singh (1968) Panjāb under the sultāns, 1000-1526 A.D. Sterling Publishers 
- Banerji, Chitrita (2010) Eating India: Exploring the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices, Bloomsbury Publishing 
- O'Brien, Charmaine (2003) Penguin UK Of Delhi: A Food Lover's Guide
- Jaffrey, Madhur (18 December 2008). Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307517692 – via Google Books.
- "Sweet Corn Paratha Recipe: Learn How To Make This Delicious North Indian Dish".
- "The Tribune - Magazine section - Windows". www.tribuneindia.com.
- Balasubramaniam, Chitra (2013-02-02). "Food Safari: In search of Murthal Paratha The Hindu newspaper, 2-Feb-2013". The Hindu.
- "Highway Bites: Dhabas Vs food chains - Times of India".
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