By Nafisa Kagalwala
STUFFED with a moreish masala-infused chicken filling, this paratha is perfect as a meal-on-the-go. For fibre, a medley of fresh herbs is included in this Indian-style calzone for a nutritious meal, thanks to the wholewheat base of this Indian flatbread. It’s so good on its own and is great party food as well.
Total Time: 1½ hours
Yields: 6 pieces
A: Chicken and Spices
600g minced chicken
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon garam masala
B: Fresh Herbs, Cheese
30g spring onions, finely chopped
10g coriander leaves, finely chopped
5g mint leaves, finely chopped
15g onion, finely chopped
8g green chilli, finely chopped
80g cheddar cheese, finely grated
C: To Smoke Filling
Coal, 1 small piece
Aluminum foil moulded into a ‘cup’
½ teaspoon clarified butter
450g wholewheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon oil extra
1. Heat up a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add A ingredients and cook until water is absorbed and filling becomes dry.
Stir occasionally. Add garam masala and season with salt. Stir it through until fully incorporated. Set aside and allow filling to cool completely.
2. Mix B ingredients except cheese into cooked chicken mixture.
3. To smoke filling: Light a piece of coal over an open flame. Let it burn until it turns red.
Using aluminum foil, shape it into a ‘cup’. Position it in the centre of the filling. Place burning coal in the ‘cup’.
4. Add clarified butter on top of coal.
Immediately cover pan with a tight fitting lid. Leave it for 30 minutes. Remove and discard coal and ‘cup’.
5. Add grated cheese and stir it through the filling. Set aside.
6. To make dough: In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil.
7. Pour in 250ml water. Knead into a compact dough. Coat dough with remaining oil. Cover it with a slightly damp cloth. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Knead oil on surface of dough into it with the remaining 25ml water. Knead until soft. Cover and set it aside to rest for an additional 30 minutes.
8. Resting the dough helps gluten in the dough to relax, making it easier to handle. After 30 minutes, it will become smoother.
9. Divide into 12 equal portions, each weighing approximately 60g. Roll out each ball into a 15cm-18cm circle. Repeat the process for remaining dough.
10. On 1 piece of dough, brush on a thin layer of water with a pastry brush. Using a spoon, spread out 3-4 tablespoons of filling evenly, leaving the edges free.
Place another piece of rolled dough to cover filling. Gently press down to remove any air pockets between the 2 layers of dough. Seal edges by pressing them together.
11. Preheat a griddle on medium-low heat. Gently place 1 stuffed paratha on it. Cook until golden brown spots appear. Gently, flip it and cook the other side. Firmly press down along the edges so it also gets cooked. Apply a thin layer of oil or clarified butter on each side. Continue cooking until golden brown on both sides. Repeat the process for remaining parathas.
12. Serve piping hot with a chutney or sauce.
TIPS: Stuffed parathas can be refrigerated and then reheated on a griddle before serving. Cheddar cheese can be substituted with mozzarella. Leftover filling can be used to make grilled sandwiches.
TECHNIQUE: This simple and yet ingenious method, first introduced by the Moghuls, is commonly practised in Indian cooking. A heated piece of coal placed inside a covered pot infuses fillings or curries with alluring smoky accents.
Photos: Nafisa Kagalwala
About Nafisa Kagalwala: Nafisa’s 28-year culinary journey has taken her from novice to seasoned chef. Apart from India where she originates, she has lived in America, Africa and Saudi Arabia, gaining culinary exposure that has fuelled a wild obsession with food that often gets her daydreaming and conjuring dishes for a cookbook that will soon become a reality.
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