Late fall and winter are potato season at our house. The reason is simple: during most of the year, it's warm and humid enough in the kitchen even with the air conditioner running that potatoes sprout like mad, so I avoid stocking up on them. So when it cools down a bit, we have some pent up potato cravings. This is when I like to try new things with them, like these aloo paratha.
I've been wanting to make these for a while but was a little nervous about the technique. Then I found some excellent instructions on Holy Cow and felt like it was something I could do. I tore the first two (but I was still able to cook them) and then I got the hang of it. We had these with this curried lentil and squash soup.
Make the dough first and let it rest while you prepare the potatoes.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon canola oil
Water to make dough (I used 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)
3 medium russet potatoes, about 1 pound
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 teaspoon spices of your choice (see note)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Knead the flour, salt, oil and water together to make a smooth dough. (I used my stand mixer and kneaded for 3 minutes.) Set aside.
Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. In a medium saucepan, cover the potato pieces with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potato is fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl, and mash well. Add the cilantro, spices, salt and turmeric and mash again. You want the potatoes to be completely smooth so that there are no lumps to tear the dough. Let the mixture cool enough to handle.
Divide dough into 6 portions. Divide potatoes into 6 portions. Have a small bowl handy with a couple of tablespoons of flour in it.
Scatter a teaspoon or so of flour on your work surface. Roll a portion of dough into a ball on your work surface. Roll out to about 4 inches in diameter, not too big. With your hands, press a portion of the potatoes into a ball and place in the center of the dough. Stretch the sides of the dough over the top of the potato ball and pinch closed. Cup the ball in your hands and press the dough evenly around the potato. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough gently into a 6 or 7 inch disk, stopping to flour the dough when necessary to keep it from sticking. Don't try to roll the paratha too large, as this is when you risk tearing the dough.
Heat a skillet, preferably cast iron, to medium-high. Cook the parathas one at a time for about 3 minutes a side, or until they start to get toasty browned spots on them.
Note: I used a teaspoon of this curry leaf powder - probably not authentic in aloo paratha, but delicious nonetheless. Other possibilities are a cumin, coriander, chili powder, garam masala or a blend of a couple of them.