Here’s something different you can make with leftover potato that is really easy to make! Aloo Paratha is a potato stuffed flatbread that is a popular dish in India. This recipe is so flexible and I’ve provided loads of substitutions and alternatives so don’t be concerned about needing speciality Indian spices. I am addicted to this!
I was inspired to make this because I wanted to make something a little unique using leftover mashed potato I had from making Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins (yet again….I love them!). This recipe is from my favourite Indian food blog, Priya’s Kitchenette. Besides the fact that Priya is an incredibly generous and kind person, she is phenonemal in the kitchen and her blog opened up the world of Indian cooking to me. She shares dishes that I order at Indian restaurants and shows how easy they are to make at home. And a whole lot healthier too because Indian food at restaurants and takeout places here in Sydney is really, really oily. But Indian home cooking is not. All the flavour with far less oil. Win, win!
“The flatbread dough is just flour, salt and water and takes 3 minutes to make. The filling is flavoured with garam masala, a staple Indian spice, but don’t worry if you don’t have it, there are easy alternatives!”
Parathas (Indian flatbreads) are very popular in India and are typically served for breakfast. However, in the Western world this is served as a side with curries, or as an appetiser. Along with naan, parathas are always a “must have” when I go out for Indian. You can get plain Parathas, but my favourite is Aloo Paratha (“Aloo” means “Potato”). I’m a carb monster. So a double carb hit is pretty much my idea of Perfect Food.
“This is one of those recipes where it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the listed ingredients – you can even substitute the potato! Change it up and use what you have. I’ve provided loads of suggestions for substitutions and alternatives. It is still going to be delicious!”
I promised you right up front that this is really easy and the main reason is because the dough is so easy to make and work with:
1. It is just made with flour, water and salt;
2. It only takes about 1 1/2 minutes to knead;
3. You don’t need to flour the work surface because the dough is not sticky. Even after kneading and rolling it out, the work surface will be perfectly clean; and
4. The dough is smooth, silky and elastic so it is really easy to roll out and stretch into the shape you want.
The filling is very simple: potato, shallots (scallions), ginger, coriander (cilantro) and some spices. The beauty of this recipe is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the ingredients, you can substitute with so many other things or simply leave it out. Sure, what you end up with might not strictly be Aloo Paratha, but it is still going to be delicious. I’ve provided loads of suggestions for substitutions and alternatives. You don’t even need to use potato! You could use, for example, broccoli!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a pile of Parathas calling my name. Until next time! – Nagi
- 2½ cups plain white flour (Note 1)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or any other cooking oil), ghee or butter
- 1½ cups mashed potato (Notes 3 and 4)
- ½ cup shallots/scallions, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped (optional - adds a nice burst of freshness)
- ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated (optional - Note 5)
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala (Note 6)
- 1 tsp Ajwain/ Carom seeds OR 1 tsp thyme (Note 7)
- ¼ tsp chili powder (Note 8)
- ½ tsp salt
- Place the flour, water and salt in a bowl. Use a table knife to mix the ingredients together, then use your hands.
- Once the dough is sort of formed, turn it out onto a work surface and knead it 60 times. It should be smooth and elastic, not sticky or crumbly.
- Form the dough into a ball, cover with cling wrap and set aside for at least 20 minutes (up to a few hours). Do not refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, make the Filling. Place all Filling ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine.
- Preheat oven to very low (to keep Parathas warm because you can only cook one at a time).
- Cut the dough into 4 pieces with a knife.
- Take one ball and use a rolling pin to roll it out into a round about 18cm/7" in diameter.
- Place ⅓ cup of the Filling into the middle of the rolled out dough.
- Gather the edges of the dough to enclose the Filling (see photo below). Remove as much air as possible from inside then pinch to seal.
- Flatten the ball slightly and shape the flattened disc into a circle using your hands.
- Turn the dough over so the "sealed" side is facing down. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to about 1½ cm / ⅔" thickness. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non stick fry pan over medium heat.
- Place one Paratha into the fry pan and cook the first side for 1 minute 45 seconds. Use an egg flip to check if it is ready to turn - the underside should be golden brown.
- Turn the Paratha over and cook the other side for 1 minute 30 seconds.
- Remove from fry pan onto a wire rack (this stops the underside from going soggy due to sweat) and place into a low oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining Parathas.
- Add a small drizzle of the remaining oil into the pan (you should not need much). Proceed to cook the remaining Parathas.
- Cut into 4 pieces and serve immediately. It can be served with chutney or yoghurt on the side. I find that the Filling has so much flavour that it doesn't need anything on the side.
2. Different brands and qualities of flour will have minor differences in absorbency. Start with 1 cup of water, as per the recipe. Then adjust as required until the dough is right - it should be smooth and elastic, not sticky or crumble.
3. This works with leftover or freshly cooked mashed potato. With the leftover mashed potato, make sure that it isn't really runny mashed potato (i.e. like the really creamy French mashed potato which has loads of cream in it). You can also use roasted potatoes - just mash it up with a fork. The golden crunchy parts will add flavour into the filing.
4. You can substitute the potato with other mashed vegetables or soft cooked vegetables like broccoli. The vegetables just need to be cut into a small dice and cooked until soft so they can be "squashed" into shape when rolled out.
5. Ginger is optional - I often leave it out because I don't have it. Do not substitute with garlic (too sharp - doesn't cook out) or ground ginger (it doesn't "meld" into the Filling because the Filling does not get cooked).
6. Garam Masala is a spice mix and it is to Indian cooking what soy sauce is to Asian cooking. If you don't have this, you can substitute with the following: 1½ tsp ground cumin + ½ tsp ground coriander + pinch of cardamon powder + pinch of cinnamon + pinch of nutmeg + good grind of black pepper.
If you don't have all those spices, just use the ones you have. As long as you at least have cumin + coriander + one of the other spices listed, you will still get the essence of Garam Masala (and it will still be very tasty!)
7. Ajwain/ Carom Seeds are used in Indian cooking and it tastes like thyme. If you don't have either of these options, you can substitute with one of the following: ¾ tsp cumin seeds, ¾ tsp caraway seeds, ½ tsp oregano + good grind of pepper,
8. Chili powder in India and Australia (where I live) is different to chili powder in America! American chili powder is mixed with all sorts of other flavourings, it is not just ground dried chili. The chili powder in this recipe is ground chili, not American chili. It adds heat to the Filling. You can use American chili powder if you want, but you might want to increase the amount to achieve the spice that is synonymous with Indian food. Or substitute with cayenne pepper.