Paratha recipe – A detailed beginner’s guide to make perfect, flaky & soft parathas at home. Parathas are the most popular unleavened flatbreads from Indian cuisine. These are a staple in many Indian homes and are eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Parathas are mostly served with a chutney, pickle, curry, dals or even plain with tea.
What is paratha?
Paratha is a layered flatbread made with flour, salt, ghee & water. Traditionally these were made with stone ground whole wheat flour.
There are also variations made with all-purpose flour & eggs known as the malbar parotta or mughali paratha.
There are different kinds of paratha. One is the plain and the other stuffed parathas.
In this post I am sharing the recipe for plain paratha made with whole wheat flour. Basically they can be made to 2 shapes – triangle & square. I have shown making both of them here.
How is paratha made?
Firstly paratha dough is prepared by mixing wheat flour with water. Optionally salt and oil can be added. The dough is then kneaded until soft and is rested for a while.
Then small portions of the dough are rolled to thin layered flatbreads. A small amount of oil is smeared in between the layers so that they remain separated and cook through.
A generous sprinkle of ghee is what makes the parathas aromatic. These parathas will be flaky, soft & full of nutty flavor.
Tips to make paratha
1.Kneading dough well is the key to make good soft, flaky parathas. The dough can also be mixed in a food processor, kitchen aid or hand mixer. Just sprinkle some flour to the dough if it is too sticky after kneading.
2. Using right amount of water & oil is another important thing to get the parathas right. The dough should not be crumbly or sticky.
3. Resting the dough for a while helps the dough to absorb the water and keep them soft for long hours.
4. I use oil if making for lunch box as ghee tends to harden the paratha in cold temperatures.
5.You can also add a tbsp of curd or yogurt while mixing the dough. This helps the parathas to remain soft for long hours.
Once you master making the basic plain parathas then you can try the variations which I have shared below.
1.For vegetable paratha – Mash well 1½ cups of boiled mixed vegetables & add it to 1 cup flour along with half tsp garam masala and half tsp of red chilli powder & handful of coriander leaves. You can find the complete recipe of Vegetable paratha here
2.To make spinach paratha – Blend 1 cup spinach with 2 to 3 tbsp water, 1 garlic clove, 1 chilli & ¼ tsp garam masala to a smooth paste. Mix this with 1 cup flour, salt & 1 tsp oil. For complete recipe check Palak paratha
You can find more breakfast recipes here.
3.For spiced or masala paratha just add half tsp each of red chili powder, garam masala & handful of coriander leaves to 1 cup of flour. Mix the dough and make masala paratha. You can also sprinkle in between the layers like I did in this ajwaini paratha
4. To make methi paratha, just add half cup finely chopped methi leaves to 1 cup flour along with spices, ginger garlic & herbs. For complete recipe you can check this recipe of Methi paratha.
5. You can also make this egg parantha.
Paratha recipe | How to make plain paratha
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for paratha recipe
- 2 cups wheat flour or atta (substitute with all-purpose flour)
- 2 teaspoons oil for kneading (optional)
- ¾ to 1 cup water (or luke warm water)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 2 tablespoon ghee or oil as needed
How to make the recipe
Making dough for paratha recipe
- Mix together wheat flour, salt, oil in a wide mixing bowl.
- Pour water little by little as needed & make a stiff non sticky dough.
- Knead well to make the dough soft and pliable.
- If necessary knead with moist fingers.
- When you press down the dough with a finger, you must feel it is soft and dent easily.
- Wrap it in a moist cloth or cover it in a container and set aside for 30 mins.
- You can also grease the ball with a few drops of oil and cover.
How to make paratha
- Knead the dough lightly & divide to 8 parts.
- Then roll to balls & keep them covered.
- Take a few tbsp of flour to a small bowl & flour the rolling area.
- Dip a ball in the flour and dust off excess. Too much flour on the parathas can make them hard.
- Place the ball on the rolling area and flatten it slightly with fingers.
- With the help of a rolling pin begin to roll each ball to a round layer or roti of 7 inches.
Making square paratha
- Apply ghee all over the paratha and fold 1/3 part of it.
- Then apply the ghee to the folded part as well & repeat folding the other 1/3 part.
- Apply ghee over the 3 layered long strip and fold 1/3 part of it.
- Then repeat the other 1/3 part & you will have a square.
- Sprinkle little more flour if needed to prevent sticking.
- Then roll the square further to make a 7 inch square paratha.
Making Triangle paratha
- Apply ghee all over the roti & fold it to half to make a half circle.
- Next apply ghee over it & repeat folding it to get a triangle shape.
- Sprinkle a bit of flour & begin to roll evenly to a triangle paratha.
- Heat a griddle until hot on a medium high flame.
- Transfer paratha to the griddle. Cook it until you begin to see bubbles, then flip it.
- Fry on a medium high flame on the other side as well pressing down with a spatula.
- Pressing down helps the parathas to puff up and the layers get separated and get cooked through.
- Flip the parathas too and fro. Cook until brown spots appear on both the sides.
- Drizzle ghee or oil on both sides.
- Remove the paratha to a wired rack or plate lined with a clean cloth or kitchen tissue.
- Stack them one over the other to keep them soft.
- Serve paratha with curry or chutney or just yogurt.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- If the dough turns sticky, sprinkle some flour and knead it.
- If the dough turns hard or too stiff, then moisten your fingers and knead the paratha dough.
- You can also make the dough in a food processor or stand mixer.
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1. Add 2 cups or 250 grams whole wheat flour (atta), ¼ tsp salt (optional) and 2 tsps oil (optional) to a mixing bowl.
2. To knead the dough I use 1 cup water for 2 cups flour, it may vary slightly depending on the kind of flour. Add ¾ cup plain water over the salt and oil. You can also use luke warm water.
3. Begin to mix the flour. Use your fingers to mix.
4. Use water as needed and make a non sticky tight dough.
5. Begin to knead the dough on the kitchen counter or a wide utensil. If the dough is too tight and difficult to knead, I dip my fingers in a bowl of water just to moisten them. Then continue to knead. I repeat this until the dough turns soft.
6. After kneading the texture of the dough must be soft and pliable.
7. Wrap it with a moist cloth or just cover it. Cover & set aside for at least 30 mins.
8. Divide the dough to 8 equal parts and make smooth balls. You can also knead the dough again and then roll to balls. Keep them covered until we finish using them up.
How to make paratha – square
9. I suggest using melted ghee for rolling since it is easy to control the quantity used. You can melt the ghee in a small bowl and set aside. Lightly flour the rolling area . Flatten a ball. Sprinkle flour over it.
10. Roll the dough to a round layer. Smear ghee evenly using your fingers. You can substitute ghee with oil. Optionally you can also sprinkle some dry flour here.
11. Fold 1/3 of the roti as shown in the picture below. Repeat applying ghee.
12. Fold the other 1/3 and apply ghee.
13. Repeat the folding.
14. Finish off.
15. Roll this evenly to a paratha. You can also sprinkle some flour before rolling. I prefer to roll 4 to 5 parathas and finish frying them to prevent drying up. Then finish rolling and frying the rest.
Making triangle parathas
16.I made a round layer first and then sprinkled carom seeds. It is optional.
17. Fold it to half.
18. Fold it to a quarter.
19. Roll it to a thin paratha. Do not make it too thin.
20. While you roll the rest, heat a tawa or pan on a high flame. When it is hot enough, transfer the paratha to the pan. Very soon bubbles begin to show up. You will have to adjust the heat as needed. Very high flame may burn them and low flame tends to make them hard.
21. Flip it to the other side. Gently press with a wooden spatula. It begins to puff up and the layers get cooked and separated well. Add ghee as desired.
22. If you are on a low fat diet, ghee can be skipped while frying. Fry well until cooked & dark brown spots appear.
Stack the parathas to keep them soft.
How to keep paratha soft
1. Keep them covered using kitchen tissues or clean cloth.
2. Place a cloth or kitchen napkin in a casserole or a box, stack them. Keep them covered.
3. Do not fry them on a low flame as this will harden them.