Parathas Stuffed with Lamb, Chiles, and Cilantro (Keema Ke Parathe)
If you've never had parathas before, you're in for a treat. These are India's great griddlecooked
flatbreads-puff pastry-like, but without quite so much work-and stuffed with any
number of highly seasoned fillings. Hot from the pan, it's hard not to fill up on them alone,
though they're usually served in the context of a larger Indian meal.
Once you get the hang of the technique, you can vary the filling however you like. Suvir, who is a vegetarian, acknowledges the wide appeal of this traditional version, but also tells stories of growing up eating his grandmother's potato-stuffed parathas. You can use my [recipe_link slug="faux-potato-aloo-paratha"]potato filling[/recipe_link], with Suvir's technique here to make these, and see why he loves aloo paratha-potato-stuffed breads-so much. Look for carom or ajwain seeds in Indian markets or on spice websites.
1 cup whole wheat flour plus 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 pound ground lamb or beef
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 fresh, hot green chile, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain, optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala (page 248)
The juice of 1/2 lime Canola oil, for cooking
Butter, for serving
1. Mix the flour(s) and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add 1/2 cup water to the flour mixture and stir to incorporate, then add another 1/4 cup water and mix again. Continue adding water a little at a time while stirring the mixture with either your hands or the dough hook, until it starts to coalesce into a smooth dough.
2. Increase the mixer's speed or knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and clears the sides of the mixer bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle it with a few drops of water. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a clean damp kitchen towel pressed directly onto the surface, and let rest from 10 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat for 1 or 2 minutes, then add the lamb to the pan. Sauté the meat in its own fat, breaking it up with the side of a wooden spoon, and cook until it has lost its color. Add the onion, chile, garlic, cayenne, fennel, and carom, if you're using it; cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes more.
4.Stir in the cilantro, Garam Masala, lime juice, 1 tablespoon flour, and salt to taste; cool completely. (The meat filling can be made 2 to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before using.)
5. When the dough has rested, set out a bowl of flour and a small bowl of canola oil, with a spoon or brush, on your work surface. Lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin. Break off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Toss it first in the bowl of flour and then roll it in your hands to make a ball. Flatten it into a 2-inch disk, then roll into a thin round, about 5 inches in diameter, dusting with flour as necessary.
6. Mound about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of the round of dough. Bring the edges of the round up over the top of the filling and press them together to make a pouch. Press down on the "neck" of the pouch with the palm of one hand to make a slightly rounded disk. Turn the disk in the bowl of flour and roll it out again into a round about 6 inches in diameter. Pat it between your hands to brush off the excess flour. Put the paratha on a plate and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Continue to roll all of the remaining dough into parathas and stack them on the plate with a sheet of plastic wrap between each one.
7. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle (like you'd use for pancakes) over medium-high heat for 1 or 2 minutes, then put a paratha (or two, if they'll fit) on and cook until the dough darkens slightly, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the paratha with a spatula and cook another 30 seconds on the second side. Use the back of a spoon or a brush to coat the top of the paratha with oil. Flip and coat the other side with oil. Continue cooking the paratha until the bottom of the bread has browned; flip and repeat. Do this a few times until both sides of the paratha are golden brown and very crisp, 2 to 3 minutes total for each paratha. As the parathas finish, remove them from the pan and spread with butter. Serve immediately, or as soon as possible.