The Old Faithful: Aloo Parantha

aloo parantha

Usually, I love my time in the kitchen. More often than not, TH stays out, and is very appreciative of the food I put on the table (even when it is store-bought bread on days such as today when I am too rushed for even a 30-minute meal). But there are (many) days when I am not inclined to step into the kitchen at all.

One such day last year was my birthday. It is rather pathetic to have to cook yourself a special meal when it’s the perfect opportunity for others to show their love for a change. Yet, neither my son nor TH can be expected to bake a cake (not everyone is like Jai!). Every time I am not inclined to cook, the son is willing to order pizza and TH is only too happy to step out to get a fresh loaf of bread. But that day I insisted on a home cooked meal, and varan-bhaat was not going to cut it.

As it crawled towards dinner time and I showed no signs of getting off the couch, TH finally got the message and decided to grab the bull by the horns 😀 . Off he went into the kitchen and busied himself to prepare paranthas stuffed with my favourite vegetable – no prizes for guessing this time – potatoes. To bide my time till the paranthas were ready was a seasonal twist on my favourite drink – mango margaritas! Yes, he excelled himself.

Ever since then, I have been meaning to blog about his aloo paranthas. On occasion, I have heard what sounded like a complaint – how come it never made it to these pages. This post has been on the cards for almost a year now. Here they are, finally, TH’s special – absolutely the bestest-overstuffed-aloo-paranthas. They are #1 on Ani’s list of favourite foods.

tandoori aloo paranthaAloo paranthas come in many avtars. The best ones are the home-cooked kind. Every family has their own twist to the spicing of the potato stuffing. There is tandoori aloo parantha which is baked in a fiery hot tandoor, and smeared with butter or ghee; giant versions of these are available at Giani’s, near Fatehpuri Mosque (Old Delhi). One of these can feed two people of us. The Amritsari kulcha, a double layered tandoori bread, is also a potato-stuffed parantha. Spiced mashed potatoes are wrapped in leavened dough which then gets another layer of a butter-rich dough that gives it its characteristic flaky texture.

In my mum’s house we used to mix chopped onion, coriander powder, anardana (dried wild pomegranate seed), fresh ginger, fresh coriander, and green chillies into the mashed potatoes. TH’s family had a different take, and one that has grown on me. It is a much simpler mix and an excellent stuffing for paranthas. I stuff much more potato mixture into my paranthas than is usual, and TH manages to stuff his with even more! That is the reason his are the best; aloo paranthas are first about potato, right? Here is how he does it (pay special attention to the folding of the dough around the stuffing):

Aloo Pranthas
(Potato-Stuffed Paranthas)

the stuffing
6 large potatoes
1 C chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
garlic, mashed to a pulp (to taste)
handful of hot green chillies

for the dough:
3 C whole wheat flour
salt (or not)
a tablespoon of oil (or not)
water to knead

Boil, peel and mash the potatoes well. Pound green chillies with a pinch of salt till pulpy. Mix together all the ingredients for the stuffing.

Mix flour and water (with salt and oil, if using) and knead for 5 minutes to form a medium soft dough. Let rest for 10 minutes. Knead again till smooth. Pinch off balls roughly 1″ in size. Flour or oil your hands to roll dough into a ball. Dust with flour, flatten, and roll into a 3.5-4″ disc. Place stuffing, twice the size of the ball of dough you used (beginners should halve the stuffing!). Fold over, pinch edges together, and reshape into a ball [this is TH’s method for over-stuffed paranthas; I gather the dough much like for a dim-sum or modak, and pinch off excess dough from the top]. Flatten and roll out, as thin as possible, dusting with flour to help you along. Rotate as you roll 😀 to get an even thickness.
With practice you will be able to roll them in such a way that there is a thin layer of dough holding a generous amount of stuffing without tearing through. It is important that the dough be soft so that it can roll out along with the potato stuffing. If you are using refrigerated dough, make sure it has come to room temperature (and softened) before rolling out the paranthas; otherwise the softer potato will yield more to your pressure and tear out. Also, make sure your potato stuffing has cooled sufficiently before you proceed with preparing the paranthas. This recipe is specially for my Madrasi friend (she lives in Madras, people; therefore, Madrasi!) who has been waiting, hoping paranthas are easier to roll than roti!

get rolling

Heat a tava, cast iron or non-stick pan. Brush off excess flour from the surface of the paranthas. Flop them on to the hot tava using your outspread hand for support. Cook on medium-hot on one side only till the colour changes and the parantha has just firmed up enough to be flipped over. Apply 1/2-1 teaspoon of oil evenly on the surface, using the back of the teaspoon to brush it all over. A larger slotted spoon does this job faster if you are using less oil. Flip. Oil the other side of the parantha (and watch it puff up!); flip and cook till golden. The more oil you use the crisper the parantha is going to be. Serve hot with a bowl of plain yoghurt and mango pickle. If your fitness permits, serve with a dollop of butter.

Stuffed paranthas are best served hot, which is why it was nice to be the first one to be served for a change! If you are planning to serve them to an army, and want to make them in advance, do what I do. Half-cook the paranthas – they should barely get some spots on both sides – and cool before stacking. Shallow fry just before serving. This makes for faster service and everyone still gets them hot off the tava without a long wait. Once you get the hang of rolling, you’ll find that the frying takes longer, and you can actually have two frying pans going! Of all stuffed paranthas these are the easiest to make because potatoes make a cohesive stuffing that is easy to roll out, unlike mooli (daikon radish) or cauliflower which make moist stuffings that tear through the surface of the parantha. Those are family favourites too, and the recipes will follow when they will :D.

These paranthas are perfect for sending over to Srivalli’s roti mela! With this special family recipe, I am back!

49 thoughts on “The Old Faithful: Aloo Parantha

  1. in red fort there is an inscription…”If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here”. i don’t really associate red fort with paradise, so my logical conclusion was that the guy who inscribed it was munching on some aloo parathas!!

    will take these over tia-maria cake any day. i am sure b would concur!


    …munching on one, another one in the other hand, and eye on the one in the plate – truly heaven on earth!! But, for a birthday, a cake is hard to beat! 😀

  2. He’s a paratha-pro for sure, Anita!! Looks delicious! I can’t believe how much stuffing went into the paratha. I can never pull that much off (or even half of it, honestly!)! Thought it was funny you clarified Madrasi! 🙂 (I do understand why, though)

    It is a l-o-t of potatoes, but divine! He looked at the recipe and said, “I put more than twice the peda size!”
    That friend insists on calling herself Madrasi. It does sound better than Chennaiite, no?

  3. Anita dear thats one lovely looking paratha…will be a sweet gal and send it to my roti mela…:)

    I sure will!
    Oops! What’s going on with your site…hacked?

    Ok – fixed the url.

  4. Happy to see you post after ages 🙂
    After sambar and rice, aloo parathas are my next best comfort food….these look almost as soft as a pooran poli – Happy Mother’s Day to you 🙂

    It’s good to be back. Even more comforting when you don’t have to cook them!

  5. Anyone who can make aloo parathas as delicious as these is a complete pro in my book Anita – glad you could finally be served a hot meal with a cool drink! 🙂


    I have to stand my ground to get a meal! For someone who hates to cook, he really can cook well!

  6. Yes! More stuffing! That’s the way I make them, too. Except mine are much smaller.

    You are so lucky. I ate pizza for my last birthday.

    You should see Giani’s – they are HUMONGOUS!
    …pizza is good, fish curry – better! 😀

  7. hi anita…
    u r most awaited by me…i guess…
    as for alloo paranthas they are family favourite…i like the more stuffing and large ones…

    looking forward to your posts

    😀 Thanks, Shilpi! My MIL’s used to be thin and smaller, mine were thicker with all the stuffing, and TH’s are even heavier, and my favourite!

  8. The advice for the Madrasi friend works for me too! Rotis and paranthas do require a lot of skill and still have not perfected it. Sookhi Gobhi Aloo is a regular weekend meal (thanks to you) and the hole in the wall has long been forgotten (the hole place also made the best aloo paranthas too!). Now I am on my way to becoming an expert…. see you.

    I hope you have easy access to lovely roti prepared by Gujjubens, like my lucky Madrasi friend! Isn’t it great when we finally find the recipes that strike that nostalgia note? I too am about to try a recipe for ginger thokku that I hope is just like the one I had at my schoolmate’s home…

  9. what a lovely way to celebrate!! scores over anything store bought!!

    It was. I am hoping for a repeat this year…

  10. absolutely yummm!

    😀 How do your pulka’s measure up on the Gujju yardstick? I bet there was a steep learning curve!

  11. Well, I read this post, headed to the kitchen and made these aloo parathas. Delicious delicious! You just have that effect on me, Anita, what can I say?
    Thank you for the knitting tips. I am so thrilled by that easy sweater you mentioned. I’d love to have the “recipe” for it if and when you have time. Thank you so much for your generosity!

    😀 Glad you tried them!
    That was an awesome first knitting project! You will have the pattern in your mail soon!

  12. Welcome back Anita…Looks like you should make TH get into the kitchen more often.. anybody who can roll such beautiful parathas must have some great culinary skills… And are those mango pieces floating in those margaritas? This guy is good… 🙂

    He just hates to cook 😦 When he senses I am getting mad because he isn’t helping, he’ll lean over the counter on the side (outside the kitchen) and watch me cook. It is his way of saying he would if he could, but he can’t seem to cross the Lakshman rekha! 😀
    He’s started experimenting with the drinks…but those are just ice cubes.

  13. TH is a star! What lovely paranthas! Is it your influence or has he always been this good? 🙂 My stuffing is exactly like your mom’s, I am going to try this simple stuffing too, sounds delicious!

    He used to make great roti before we got married – too good to last. He started making these paranthas a few years ago. We made sure we praised him a lot 😉 …Now, we get them every once in a while – when I put my foot down or the son requests for them.
    The stuffing is really amazing with so few ingredients, but just the right notes.

  14. You say “with practice”, hey the TH has had enough practice rolling out parathas it seems. My parathas are no way as neat as his

    😀 Yes, it does look like he gets a lot of practice, doesn’t it? I think he deliberately makes bad roti so that he won’t have to…

  15. Anita, I’d definitely hold on tight to that husband of yours with one hand, and an aloo parantha with the other; both of them are real keepers! 😉

    😀 He’s a computer whiz too! He just fixed the computer (motherboard) which the technician was going to take back after trouble shooting for over 6 hours! And everything is ship-shape with my new computer now, and I am back on the network! He is indispensable!

  16. Aloo Parathas are most people’s favorite… i like them with a dash of grated cheese and oregano sprinkling…


    TH’s was of folding it is quite unique… never seen anyone do that…

    Ummm…cheese – gotta be good!

  17. You guys are surely the King n Queen of parantha’land. My paranthas are a work of art Anita…patchwork to be precise 😦
    Never tried mashed garlic in the stuffing, it sounds gooood 😀

    The best part about aloo paranthas is no matter how torn up, they always taste great! Try garlic, it is great!

  18. Hi! Anita,

    Next time you don’t feel like cooking, do this. Make a poster with the following script in it, frame it and hang it on your kitchen wall:




    It worked for you?! 😀 I am so checking for this on your kitchen wall.

  19. Beautiful post!! Lucky you to be getting hot delicious parathas for your birthday! 🙂

    It was beautiful. The drinks were yum too.

  20. delicious aloo paratha anitha!!my first time here..u have a really lovely blog….will keep visiting now:)

    Thanks for stopping by, Ranji. I am on my way to check yours!

  21. Yup, aloo-parantha means that aloo should take the lead here 😀 That’s how i have always had my aloo paranthas, with a LOT of filling, as much as is possible 😉

    Yes, the more the better! It’s all about the aloo!

  22. Parathas are stuffed that way at my inlaws place as well. Only that ghee is smeared generously over it. Btw, my MIL says if parathas puff up, it has less ghee inside! 🙂

    Oooh, ghee makes paranthas so special! Ghee inside must make for really special ones. I don’t use ghee to fry anymore ’cause it makes the whole kitchen smokey. Butter is not a bad substitute to top paranthas – my son always has his this way!

  23. wow! I am very impressed!
    I keep meaning to make parathas, but it feels like a huge job, that takes ages… hm hm

    Just do it. IF my husband, who hardly ever steps into the kitchen, can – you surely can!

  24. Those paranthas look scrumptious! All your posts have such an authentic feel about them, lifts me right back to my parent’s house in Delhi whenever I look at your blog.
    Garlic in the aloo parantha stuffing is first, need to try your recipe asap!

    You’ll love the addition of garlic – it is such a great paring with potatoes.
    😀 Thanks for reading, Ranjani.

  25. Well…mine done tored whilst I was a rollin’! Tell me what I did wrong…

    Just kidding. 🙂 I mean: they tore, but I know what the problem was: chunky taters. They still tasted pretty darned good despite the leakage (which browned delightfully anyway). You just can’t go wrong with garlic and green chiles in the potatoes!

    On yet another topic, your mum’s stuffing reminds me of a Punju recipe for stuffed mirchis I did awhile back. Was that an outside influence, or is that still fairly Kashmiri?

    😀 He he, you really overstuffed them, didn’t you?! Yup, chunky pieces will do that – happens to me when I am using day old boiled potatoes (in which case I grate them). Like you said, the crispy potato bits taste great!

    Mum’s stuffing is Punju-influence alright. Kashmiris have nothing to do with pranthas, stuffed or otherwise – we stick with rice. The breakfast and other breads (for tea time), all (used to) come from the friendly neighbourhood nanwaee (baker)!

  26. I don’t dare to overstuff my parathas. Aloo peaking out, and me hurriedly covering it up with extra dough – not a pretty picture 😀

    😀 Don’t patch up – let them get all crispy!

  27. Anita…I have given my site correctly..but somehow its changed…if you have access to that link, can you pls change it…thanks!..:)

    Fixed! There was a typo!

  28. oh i love the idea of mango margarita!! it sounds so refreshing….i’ll definitely try this in party im organizing this week 🙂

    Deliciously fruity they are!

  29. Hi,
    Lovely recipe for aloo paranthas!! My family loves aloo paranthas. I try to make them every once in a while. But I have a problem when I roll them out. The stuffing goes to one side or settles towards one side of the parantha. So the other side is just plain parantha. I would appreciate if you could give some suggestions to fix this problem:)
    Thank you!!

    Maybe you are using less potato-to-dough ratio? Try reducing the size of you ball of dough and see it that helps.

  30. Your explanation of the procedure to stuff the aloo paranthas is excellent. I finally made Aloo paranthas that everyone approves. I even make it for my 17 month old son for lunch at day care.

    Love your blog.
    Thank you.

  31. I liked your statement on every `family has their own take on Aloo Parantha’. I am impressed with your style and the flow of writing, I could feel the parantha melting in my mouth. Shorly you will see me doing apost on our families way of making Aloo Paranthas.

  32. No…I mean the joke: is it the dough we are rotating or do we ourselves rotate? 😀

    He he…whatever works for you1
    But jokes aside, the parantha (same for rolling roti as well) should rotate as you roll it – saves you having to pick it up and rotate. With practice, a certain way of applying pressure as you roll plus makes this happen! Easier if you have watched someone – I should put a video! My mum still can’t – nor does she try to!


  34. ur aloo parathas look so delicious… which variety of aloo do u use for making these parathas? the kind of aloo which i use turns out to be very sticky after its boiled and mashed.. i used the brown aloos called michigan’s best potatoes.. but they are not the best 😦

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