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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stuffed Parathas – The Indian Sandwich!

A lunch box is my household is a simple or a complicated affair, depending entirely on me, the mother and the cook. My 6 year old wants to take a cheese sandwich everyday for lunch (it’s easier to eat Mommy!). The underlying truth behind the preference is of course that there are no veggies in it. Also, she refuses to carry any food, the shape or smell of which screams our loud “Indian food” when she opens her lunch box in the school cafeteria. While I don’t entirely approve of this attitude of being embarrassed of standing out in a crowd because of food, I understand that at this age, blending in is more important and hey, nothing can really beat the convenience of a sandwich!

So basically, if I fix her a cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich everyday (using wheat bread of course), things are simple and smooth, she is happy, I am not. And so, one day I thought what food would be as easy to eat as a sandwich and more nutritious, not to say sandwiches aren’t but eating the same kind and without vegetables, definitely not so much.

So here’s what I came up with as one of the alternatives for the everyday lunch box. I told my daughter that a sandwich was slices of bread with one or more fillings between them and a paratha was circles of dough with fillings in between. So it was the Indian Sandwich! The name did the trick and she was happy to give it a try!

Stuffed parathas is a common and a popular dish in most households, I simply “vegetablised” and toned it down for the lunch box.

The Dough

Wheat flour – 2 cups
Water – as needed
Oil – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients and knead dough (slightly firmer than what you would knead for a Roti or a Chapatti). Keep aside for an hour.

The Stuffing

Broccoli- 1 medium crown
Carrots – 2 medium
Potatoes – 2 medium
Cilantro – chopped finely, half a cup
Seasoned bread crumbs – half a cup
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – ½ tsp
Salt and pepper
Butter or oil for shallow fry

 Boil all the vegetables, drain and mash them. Add cilantro, bread crumbs and seasonings. Mix well, set aside for 10 minutes for the flavors to blend thoroughly.

Make a medium sized ball of the dough and roll it with a rolling pin to make a circle. Stuff in one and a half tablespoons of the vegetable filling. Gather the dough circle in the center to form a ball again. Now roll it to a small circular paratha. You can also press it with your hands along the center and edges and come up with the small parathas. Heat a flat skillet, cook one side for a couple minutes and flip over. Once the other side is also cooked, grease the paratha with oil or butter and shallow-fry till crispy. Serve warm or sizzling hot!

·         You can use poha (flattened rice) in place of breadcrumbs for binding.
·         You can also roll out two small circles, layer the vegetable stuffing between them and seal the circles along the side to create one paratha.
·         Serve with ketchup, chutney or yogurt.

  Interesting fact
·         ‘Paratha’ means layers of cooked dough. It is called ‘Palata’ in Burma and ‘Farata’ in Maldives. 

This Healthy Lunch Box is going to :