Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gobhi ka Paratha- Cozy Comfort of a Cold Morning.

The humble cauliflower; and the mighty peas –possibly, two of my dad’s favorite things.

Sometime in November, the sabzi-wala bhaiya would come all excited and call out for my dad, announcing that he had procured the first cauliflower and peas of the season. My dad would hurry on downstairs. Then, they would engage in at least a half-hour haggle on prices; the bhaiya, unrelentingly adamant that his prices were reasonable, and my dad, equally strong-willed about making a good bargain. Finally, they always came to an agreement on “wholesale prices”, and my dad came back laden with 5kgs of fresh peas and 5kgs of cauliflower. The next half hour- my mom hemming and hawing about shelling all those peas and my dad trying to calm her down by saying that he’d help- which of course was the biggest lie ever!

Then I remember those afternoons when I came home from school to find my mom sitting on the balcony in the winter sun, elbow-deep in shelling peas. She not only seperated the sweet pea seeds, but also skinned the tender shells of new peas to make another one of my dad’s favorite – “matar ke chilke ki sabzi” (more on that, later some day….). Sometimes, I helped her. More often than not, the peas went straight in my mouth!

The cauliflower was another story. I hated cleaning those out. My mom would break all the heads into smaller sized florets, and then search through them carefully for hidden “worms”. The cauliflowers back home were notoriously infested with slimy, green caterpillars nesting between the florets. My mom picked each one of them out with the knife-point without hurting them, and put them on a newspaper. After she had them all, I would walk them to the park and release them on some bushes. They scared me- but this was a job that I couldn’t get out of.

All through the week then, we had cauliflower and peas in all their myriad avataars. My dad kept an insanely close eye on the supply- and before my mom could run out, he would bring home another lot….just in case!

And throughout the winters, as long as the bhaiya could keep up with his supply, my dad’s favorite Sunday brunch was Gobhi-matar ke parathe, topped with a generous amount of butter, and spicy green dhania-ki-chutney on the side.

Gobhi-Matar Ke Parathe

For the filling:
Cauliflower florets 1 ½ cups
Frozen peas 1/3 cup, blanched in hot water for 10 min, and drained.
Ginger ½ inch piece
Green chilli – 1 large (medium hot)
Salt to taste
Red pepper powder 1/2tsp
Amchoor powder 1 tsp
Ajwain seeds 2tsp (or to taste)
Roasted cumin powder 1 Tbsp
Cilantro A fistful, chopped fine

For the dough:
Wheat flour (atta) 1 ½ cups
Salt 1tsp
Water to knead the dough.
Oil (any kind- I use vegetable oil)- to shallow fry the paratha+1tsp.

Make the filling:
  1. Knead the dough with a pinch of salt and water, till you get a firm, elastic, non-sticky dough. Set aside for at least 15-20min.
  2.  Clean and wash the cauliflower florets. Pat dry.
  3. Run the cauliflower, ginger and green chilli through a food processor/chopper to get a coarse mixture.
  4. In a shallow pan, heat 1tsp oil, splutter the ajwain seeds in it.
  5. Then add the cauliflower mix with all the spices, including salt. Stir and keep on medium heat to dry out some of the moisture (about 5 min.)
  6. Mix in the blanched and drained peas and chopped cilantro. Smash the peas a bit with the back of the spoon, to make for easier rolling.
  7. Give another 2-3 min.  on the stove, then transfer to another dish to cool.
  8. Make the parathas as you do, with this filling.

Making the paratha:
  1. When ready to make parathas, heat a skillet on medium high heat.
  2. Once the mix is cooled, pinch off a small, slightly-bigger-than-golf ball sized portion of the dough.
  3. Dust with some flour, and then roll the dough into a small disc – 3 inches or so.
  4. Smear a little oil in the middle.
  5. Put 1-2Tbsp of cauliflower mix in the middle. Then pinch together the sides to get a neat bundle.
  6. Dust with flour again, and then roll the bundle into a small paratha, without tearing the dough too much. Mine comes about 6- 7 inches around.
  7. Transfer onto the hot skillet.
  8. Turn over after 1 min.
  9. Smear the paratha with oil, then flip back after a minute.
  10.  Smear the other side with oil. After about 2 min., flip again and cook the other side.

My two cents: An ideal comfort food for a cold winter morning. Tastes absolutely divine with mounds of butter; or take the chutney for that extra spice. The cooking times can vary based on how crisp you like your parathas to be. The hardest part for me is to roll the parathas evenly thin without tearing through. Even though I cook the cauliflower, it is still quite moist and rolling these parathas requires a bit of patience.

Some people do not precook the filling and knead in the cauliflower with the dough. While that certainly is an option, I assure you that the extra 10 min. of cooking time is so totally worth it. My mom actually grated the cauliflower using a hand grater - which gives the mix a coarser texture than if you use a food processor. Tastes good either way!

Linked to: Come - join us for Breakfast event for February.