Sunday Brunch: Gobhi Paranthas

Gobhi Parantha
A lot has happened in the past four weeks since my last post.  I am back to eating foods through the week that are usually reserved for weekends!

It’s not a very long story, actually.  Over the past few years I gave into TH’s helpful insistence on delegating more housework to the maid so that I had less on my mind and hands.  But that is more complicated than it sounds.

There are two kinds of people: those who like to have extra hands to do their work, and those who wish they could do without.  If you have a slight OCD regarding how you want things in your home and kitchen, you may have to start by teaching the maid everything.  And then you have to remind her constantly (about the same thing) in a kind of continuing education for her (which has nothing to do with your OCD).  If you can look the other way, then it is all fine and dandy.  I cannot.  I cannot drink out  of cups with the lightest tea-stain; I have to have my veggies cut exactly so; the rug centered, the doors shut, and the windows open.  All this takes supervision.  I mean, really super-vision!   One time I caught her about to chutney a roach along with the coriander!  I  don’t know how I saw from the corner of my eye what she could not while putting the ingredients in!  Enough to say that after that there was little chance of her being allowed to cook unsupervised.  To me it always felt as if the maid was in control of my time!

pizza dinner
Pizza dinner on Monday

A few months ago she took sick and was out of circulation for almost two months.  I loved the feeling of freedom that brought.  I was back in charge of my time.  I could overrun my class without worrying if I needed to call and leave instructions for dinner.  I could make mid-morning tea and call it as a break; maybe even plan lunch or dinner while the tea brewed as I used to before I had all this extra help.  More than anything, as before, I could plan pizza or paranthas for weeknight dinners!  With the maid I was more worried about whether she had had too long a day!  No wonder I used to insist she take Sunday afternoons off!

But she got better and was back.  I couldn’t fire her; she needed her job.  One fine day she had a fight with her husband and decided to quit.  I had to capitalise on this before she changed her mind.  Two days later the carpenters were in and we were working on modifications to install a dishwasher!  Spent a day traversing the city shopping for one and finally selected Kaff, no reason other than that they had a built-in option while all others were stand alone machines.  It’s installed and working!

I know it is not like having a maid.  But, dearies, that is the point!  You should look at my stainless steel shining like new silver!  Okay, so I have to scrub the milk pot a little, and scrape the food off the plates (which we did earlier as well).  This takes maybe five minutes a day.  Add another five for loading the dishwasher.  The dishwasher is unloaded in the morning while I am waiting for the water for the tea to boil.  I tend to clear up as I work so another 10-20 minutes is a good estimate of general kitchen clean-up time which is no big deal and you know that every corner is wiped clean.  So, is this extra half-hour (not counting time spent cooking) spent in the kitchen really worth it?  To me it is.  It translates into not having an outsider hanging around for a good part of the day.  It means my time is mine alone.  The maid for sweeping-and-mopping is in and out while I am still reading the morning paper.

I am not saying it’s for everyone; but it is certainly for me.  It also helps that there are just three of us in the house, all adults.  I do not have young children pulling me in different directions, or elderly parents needing special care.  The 85 years old father-in-law, by God’s grace, is very fit and fine, with no food restrictions whatsoever (other than that he and TH are vegetarians).  I love spending time in the kitchen (this blog is a BIG sign!).  Which is not to say I don’t have days when I’d rather not do anything, including mess in the kitchen.  On those days my family is happy to suggest eating out; they are also perfectly happy eating butter-toast.

puran poli lunch
Puran-poli lunch on Wednesday

Right.  Really.  So I have all this supposed extra time now.  And what have I done with it the last few weeks then?  Spent a Saturday at my sister’s enjoying good food and playing with the niecelet.  Last week there were just the two of us at home; father-in-law was away at a spiritual retreat.  The maid was the last person I needed hanging around!  Sunday we rode the DTC around town running errands and doing sundry stuff.  Mundane is underrated, believe me.  Spent 3 evenings this past week at the theater at the Sahitya Kala Parishad’s Bharatendu Natya Samaroh, a Festival of Modern Plays.  Planning to make that 4 evenings this coming week.  Last night, immediately after locking up the office, we left for my sister’s place again.  Next Saturday the family is planning to visit and check out the new machine!  This Sunday or the following, I am planning a High School Reunion Picnic in the park!

Another BIG plus is I get company in the kitchen!  It’s like this.  TH hates to cook but feels guilty when I do all the work.  So he hangs around as I work.  Isn’t that cute? 😉 And, on occasion he can be made to cook.  You already know his prowess with aloo paranthas.  Well, it is winter time and the time for stuffed paranthas in Delhi.  Last Sunday we ate this season’s first batch of gobhi paranthas.  Guess what, TH makes the awesome kind!

Since he steps in on a rare occasion he doesn’t mind the extra time stuffed paranthas require.  Here in UP-Punjab, the veggies for stuffing are raw.  Potato is the only exception.  Grated cauliflower, mooli, even carrots, or chopped methi and spinach (kneaded into the dough) are excellent in paranthas and great ways to enjoy the seasonal bounty.   The cold weather is also perfect for a richer diet of fried paranthas served with fresh butter.

Gobhi ke Paranthe
(Cauliflower stuffed paranthas)

(makes 10 medium paranthas)
1 medium cauliflower (about 700 gms), broken into florets
handful fresh coriander
5 hot green chillies
2 T grated ginger
wholewheat atta to make paranthas (while kneading add 2 teaspoons of oil and season flour with a little salt)
oil or ghee for frying paranthas

Knead wholewheat atta into a soft dough as you do for roti. Mince coriander, green chillies, and grated ginger in the jar of a food processor. Put aside. Using the fine grating blade grate the cauliflower florets. Remove to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of salt and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze the grated cauliflower, pressing between cupped hands, to remove as much water as you can (ask people with stronger muscles for assistance). Mix in the minced coriander-green chilli-ginger mix. Adjust salt to taste.

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Pinch off lime-sized balls of dough. Roll them out to a circle of about 10cm diameter, trying to keep a thicker centre as you do so. Heap stuffing on to it (check pictures to get an idea of how much!) and pinch the sides (TH has his special technique so that all the folds don’t gather at one point). Gently roll out, about 3mm or so thick, dusting with flour as needed. It is okay if the stuffing breaks through a bit here or there; it is inevitable if you like thin paranthas. Lift the rolled parantha on to your outstretched hand and gently flip onto a heated cast-iron or non stick pan. Flip when the paranthas has just firmed up, a minute or so. Brush with oil (about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon), flip and press down with the back of a spoon inbetween rolling the next parantha. Brush the other side with oil. Remove when crisp and golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately with a dollop of fresh homemade butter, Punjabi mango pickle, and yoghurt.

Gobhi Parantha

42 thoughts on “Sunday Brunch: Gobhi Paranthas

  1. Anita

    TH’s gobi parathas are no doubt wonderful but the question that is not letting me wander away is — why do you have three servings of rice and dal, salt, lime, chutney but single serving of other things on that plate ?

    🙂 That is a long story…really long. But the short of it is that this was for a special pooja – three thalis are set: one with single servings of everything for the invited brahman, two of everything for the yajman, the third with three servings of everything for the house help! I have been planning to blog about it now for almost 4 years…At least I could sneak in a picture this year!

    1. Wait! So you made that FOUR years ago but had it for lunch on Wednesday? I guess I’m bringing my own food next time. Fresh. 😀

      If you bring it won’t be fresh enough. Better you cook it here; then you can wash the dhaniya with Bisleri!
      Where did you get the “four years” – I make it every year!

      1. I’ll bring space food. Or those scrumptious Korean dried soup cakes. You said “almost 4 years…” (ellipses included) O_o

        🙄 4 years planning a post…

  2. Love the post. I have precisely the same reasons for not keeping a maid. I’d rather do things myself. Keeps me fit and schedule my work accordingly. We are just two of us and we don’t need a maid, certainly. Only downside is the dust that accumulates if I don’t sweep/mop even for a day ( which I don’t do everyday) but well, after living in hostels, I think this is perfectly fine!

    That said, A makes the best paranthas in the house. I can’t, can’t bring them together and all the stuffing spills out. I’m planning to make your vegetable achaar and my granny’s for a side by side comparison now that winter is on and I CAN HAZ RED CARROTS HERE TOO! 😀

    Yes, you can finally eat our beautiful red and much sweeter carrots now!

    I am with you on the dust thing. How I get around it is that I do it when I think I can. TH does the same. At other times we just live with it! And if that gets to be too much, we just decide to have friends over for dinner. No, not to dust – but then we have a reason to clean house! 🙂

  3. Ha! Love this post! And YH is a gem! I don’t blame you at all for relishing the absence of the-maid-who-quit- I also could not deal with any of those things- especially her chatni. Egads… I am too picky about certain things in the kitchen- I can totally relate! Congrats on your new dishwasher, btw…

    I just don’t like having to supervise – makes it work instead of help! I have better things to do!
    She was quite trained by now as far as cooking goes…if you can overlook the occasional oversight!

    1. What! A little protein in the chutney every now and then has to be good for health. We used to find mouth parts of roaches in our salad *after* we were done eating at the hostel in Bombay.

      Of course. Some people do eat them and relish them after all(eek). They just gross me out way too much; they are the only of nature’s creatures that I come close to hating.

  4. P.S. You can do what you like, but after trying mooli-stuffed paranthe both ways, I prefer the pre-cooked filling. Gobhi this way (the raw way), however, is acceptable. 😀

    Are you sure you also don’t have mooli seasons like we do here? TH is quite sensitive to oogre stuff as you know and he likes the mooli paranthas. But, no one in our house will eat the summer mooli – quite strong and even bitter. In contrast, the winter ones are so watery and sweet.

    1. Same here. there seem to be 3 crops/plantings (this is talking about the open-air/farmers’ market offerings- not the major supermarkets)- the two “cool ones” which are nicer, and the pungent one in-between in summer- the leaves of that harvest are “off-tasting” as well, I’ve noticed!

      But no, that’s not why I prefer that “bharta” cooked first: the shreds tend to catch in my teeth otherwise- and I can’t take it! 😀

      You can try another method – what I usually do is squeeze to remove some of the water and knead the grated mooli into the dough. Makes quick work of making paranthas since they don’t tear so much from the wet filling! Slightly less mooli-flavour but works well enough. With mooli I add only fine sliced green chillies, and either coriander or some of the mooli leaves; ginger is optional. You can do the same with carrots.

      1. And I have such nice, sweet carrots right now! I went a little crazy at the last-of-the-years’ farmers’ market- the supermarket carrots cannot hold a candle to these beauties! And now I’m overloaded despite the pickles and I’m trying not to make a cake.

        Err, make a murabba? 🙂 You are the preserves-guy after all!

      2. Correcting something that was designed to be incorrect is like … oh, I don’t know, you figure it out.

        (I don’t know where this comment is going to land. This is in reply to the mooli / moomf-ali / moom-bye thread)


  5. Sigh – I know what you mean, I resisted for as lomg as I could and didnt have anyone in my kitchen certainly…..but then my health failed and even when it got better , K entered our lives and I knew I had to spend more time with her than in the kitchen. BUT I can’t complain – for four years now I have the most fabulous live in help EVER !!.

    She has progressed from babysitter to now having learnt almost everything I cook, my stand in the kitchen, especially in the last 6 months when I have been more or less confined by my illness to doing the bare essentials. She knows I like things just so – and just so they are!.

    But I would so so love to roll up my sleeves and cut some veggies and stiry fry them into a simple sabzi. I see TH hasnt rolled up his sleeves but done a fab job!! 🙂

    You are lucky to have someone who does things exactly as you like them! Mine did but I had to remind and repeat all the time. It felt like another job to get the work done by someone else!
    Protect your maid from the evil eye! 😉 You need her; so enjoy the help!

  6. I was also curious about the one, two and three portions in those thalis 🙂 Got the half answer in the first comment 🙂

    Maids can be really a pain if you need to supervise every single thing and be around when they work. I prefer cleaning to be done by them but i have managed cooking myself till now. You can always do one pot meals when you are not in a mood to elaborate cooking.

    I am so J seeing your husband make those stuffed parathas. My recipe of gobi parathas is exactly the same but my gobi florets are a little bigger that yours in the stuffing mix and i add a generous pinch of ajwain to it.

    I hope to get to the mystery pooja one of these days… 🙂
    The gobhi gets that fine thanks to the fine grater option of the food processor! I like the thinner paranthas that makes possible.
    I guess since paranhtas are richer it is a good idea to add some ajwain.

  7. Agreed a lot with you, and yes dishwashers are gem. We love the shines and sparkles of our favorite cups after a wash. You are right – parantha’s get so different as you walk down from north to south in India!

    We had been waiting for some time…had already planned for it when we renovated our kitchen last time – over 10 years ago. Locating a store that stocked the dishwasher detergent was quite a task even in Delhi!

  8. I’m with you a hundrend percent. With help hanging around in the kitchen like an appendix it’s not easy to manage time that once was yours. And yet it is yours to spend on supervision
    .At my place it’s a big NO NO to have someone cook for us. For the cleaning, I have the good fortune to have a maid who takes pride in her work.
    Can’t live with them….can’t live without them…sigh !

    I hear ya – can’t live with them; can’t live without!
    I had cooking assistance (prep work) only for the last 5 years or so, and am happy to be back to no kitchen help!

  9. :-)! Gobi Parathas look scrumptious; it must be time for those lovely red carrots too?

    The red carrots are here; the black ones will arrive at the end of winter!

  10. Maid? What maid? I live in Melbourne!! Anyway I experience all what you said about maids when I am back home in India.I tend to find fault in everything she does,the kitchen is cleaned up before she arrives and I keep washing up so there is nothing left for her to washup much to my sister’s horror.She is always worried the maid will quit when I am there.And after living without a maid I actually wonder how you can live with one, if you know what I mean!!
    But top post as usaul Anita.

    I never missed a maid when I was in the US but here the huge house that needs to be swept and mopped and dusted everyday…We have to just live in smaller houses, or just forget the whole thing and only keep the kitchen spotless! 🙂

  11. So glad you’re back. I was checking every day to read a new post. That is kinda depressing actually. Looks like I’ve nothing else to do…. oh well, food is important!

    It’s absolutely ok – all of us here obsess about food!

  12. Out with the maid, in with the husband. Nice!

    I am so glad your dishwasher worked out well. But just 5 minutes to load it? I guess I know what I have to time on my next visit!

    I haven’t made cauliflower parathas ever. Maybe that needs to change. But my maid’s been sick too and refuses to do any work. Even the laundry has piled up. It’s been a little difficult to say the least, so we’ve been eating a lot of eggs, one-pot dals and yesterday we cheated with some Asian fusion carry-out.

    Ummm, you’re right; it likely takes longer to load the dishwasher. Maybe 10 min? I’ll have to time myself. But usually I do it in two parts not wanting the dishes to pile up in the sink.
    Cauliflower paranthas are very different because the veggies peeking out tend to cook in a unique way, and if you use a little extra oil or ghee, they are sooooooo crisp! And if you let fresh churned butter ooze into those holes – uff, heaven! Then you can sleep the rest of the afternoon off! 🙂

    I hope you are making these this weekend. Ask you maid; such a slacker she is! 😆

    1. Don’t feel bad: just a few minutes ago I was relishing with love in my eyes a bowlful of khichri topped with a few smart taps of red-and-oily lemon pickle. Not yours- a different one. But I just thought of a better way to parathasize a gobhi: just sandwich two partially-thawed frozen ones around said filling up above and fry normal-like.

      That’s an idea that can be tried. But I think the gobhi tearing through the parantha contributes to the texture and feel in a big way.

      1. Well, your lal-khaar’d pickle has that paradisiacal touch of sugar, you know… and I was in the mood for something totally Perky to make my lips go mwah! Come to think of it, has Anita blogged a lime pickle recipe yet? I don’t think so…

        Did I not do one for nartangai limes? Maybe I just said I made them and never got around to posting about it; was good. And kept the whole year – remember I was worried it was spoiling and added more salt? I ought to stop winging it and actually measure the salt wrt the main ingredients. A weighing scale. Sigh. I don’t want to own more things. Sigh.

  13. Maids! Can’t live with them can’t live without them. Dishwasher is supposed to save a lot of water too.
    Those gobhi paranthas have to be made soon.

    The cycles I normally pick use either 11 or 16 litres of water (for a daily load!); no prior rinsing required! I am loving it!

  14. I think I need to show this post to hubby and the family. they always insist upon a maid and finally succeeded in thrusting one upon me. Am happier with a part time jharu-pocha-bartanwali. am glad to know about your dishwasher working fine. am planning to install one soon.
    The stuffed parathas are the essence of this season and they are made often for dinner.

    They think it will be less work but little do they know that to get one hour of ‘usable-help’ we have to contribute at least 15 minutes!
    Bosch has also just entered the market with their models – but only Kaff seems to have a built-in option. Else you have to consider the super expensive imported models [staring at 5xKaff!].

  15. Loved your post and even I am with you ,just cant stand a maid, so have been cleaning on my own.
    Your post has inspired me to buy a dishwasher. i will be grateful if you do a special post on how you use the machine , how many times you run it and what all utensils can be loaded in it.
    Your time management is gr8 ! !t makes me want to work efficiently too 🙂

    I think I might do a post. I know how unsure we were about whether it will be the answer to what ‘Indian’ homes need.

    A little planning goes a long way in managing time better. And, if you can learn to be practical and tell yourself what matters more: having a spotless home (in Delhi) or getting some time before the telly!! You can always dust tomorrow!

  16. Hi there, i love ur recipes. yesterday i made ur poori bhaji and everybody loved it…i felt making poori is more tricker may be becoz it was the first time..needs more practice though..not to forget ur aloo paratha is favourite in my family..i love it’s taste,simple ing and heavenly taste..
    Today m going to make gobhi paratha…..i hope i do justice to the recipe:)
    Wondering if u can fulfil my teeny tiny request- its winter time everywhere so there is an excuse for making stuffd parathas so can u plz.. plz make mooli paratha and palak methi one..i wanted to know how u rush but whenever u get time…thx for sharing ur recipes.

    Thanks for reading, trying the recipes and sharing your comments here, Farah.

    The paranthas should eventually make it to a post here since they are family faves!

  17. Thx for replying,
    Just wanted to inform u yesterday i made gobhi paranthas and everybody liked it, everything was in balance; even my 28 months toddler ate it with yogurt.
    One request from my toddler if u can make samosa (aloo stuffed)he loves but we dont get good samosa here in Brampton(Canada)not tasty atall atleast i dont like it..i know my request list goes on and on but honestly speaking this comes straight from my kiddo:)
    Once again thx for sharing ur recipes/ i’ll wait for all my request post…
    Take care,

  18. The parathas look absolutely scrumptious! I’ve never had too much luck rolling out stuffed parathas, especially cauliflower ones….your husband is an expert for sure!

    I’ve just returned from the US after 20 odd years and everything you said about having a maid soooo rings true! People here are so amused when I say that having a maid is nothing but a pain and I’m so thrilled to know that there are others who feel the same.

    On a different note, we’ve been renovating our apartment here in Bangalore and for some reason I never thought of incorporating a dishwasher in the renovation scheme. I guess I just assumed that a dishwasher would never work in an Indian setting. Your post is unbelievably timely…thanks for sharing your experiences.

  19. Could you also share ” his special technique so that all the folds don’t gather at one point”..I put the stuffing between two thin rotis as it gets messy with the cauliflower stuffing coming out and sticking to chakla and belan…
    I too have assistance for everyday cooking and yes I do have to look the other way :-))

  20. Oh reading through all these notes and of course no one tells a story better than Anita, makes me wish I had Indian friends, to have a meal with

    I know there are Indian restaurants, everywhere
    I am down in Fort Myers Florida and they have one here and as well back home in Canada, there are many Indian restaurants often though they are just not that good.
    I think they make versions of meals that they feel people in the U.s. would like or Canadians would like


    I want to ask about milk
    You mentioned the pot you heat milk in
    I do so as well for my expresso coffee
    It is a treat I look forward to every morning
    Perhaps you use hot milk, for tea, or what would be the reason, hat you heat milk

    Then I wanted to ask you about your carrots Red carrots, black carrots, this is a newer introduction that I have seen in vegetable catalogues, where you can buy the seeds but have not seen these in stores

    I have never had help in the hose, not when I was younger, with children, nor now when I am an old lady.
    One of my daughters did though both in Domincan Republic where she lived a number of years and in Canada.
    She expressed much of the same feelings, as yourself.
    I would say though, in North America, with young family and women working full time, it none the less would be beneficial to the smooth running of a household. No matter that it is inconvenient and upsetting at times

    I am now 67 years old
    You know , it is often said, “travel when you are younger”
    It is for sure right.
    I did some travelling but not enough, just was not always the time or opportunity
    Now there is so much I would like to see, more than I would like to I would so much enjoy to see, but just not really enough energy to do so and find I am content, most times with a home in Canada, and a winter home in Florida. Good friends, family, good food (a little to much good food) a nice warm swimming pool that I do not have to maintain at all and working in my gardens.

    Off the subject aren’t I ?

    Being off the subject is the point of this Mad Party!

    Till a couple of decades ago, milk was delivered daily to homes untreated, in its raw state – straight from the farm to the consumer. It was a daily morning ritual to boil the fresh milk. Once it had cooled you removed the clotted cream from the top and either ate it with your bread (a parantha!) or collected it for making into butter later. Now we have pasturised milk with an increased shelf like of only 12-48 hours, depending on the season! Even under refrigeration I find that in the summer my milk spoils in 12 hours unless boiled! After trying no-boiling (since the milk is paturised and safe for consumption without boiling) for a few weeks I went back to boiling the milk immediately after purchase.

    Most families in urban areas fetch/have it delivered daily, some still directly from the cowherd! Boiling it kills the bacteria and ensures a longer shelf-life!

    Thanks for reading, Diane!

  21. Awesome parathas! I make gobi parathas but make a subzi first and then stuff it, had no idea it could be used raw too. I’m not going to let a short cut pass by 🙂

    Does the dishwasher work well? I’ve been contemplating buying one but I’m unsure how useful it is. Do you recommend investing in it?

  22. Yes Dilli Winter & stuffed pranthas specialli moolli & Gobi goes hand in hand. Almost same filling I use but as Sangeeta said Ajwain, i too use that….. good for digestion specially when we gonna eat countless pranthas…..

    Regarding dishwasher, even my husband is forcing my In-laws to get one, but they are not convinced that it’s good for Indian kitchen, I have to show them this post…..and U r so right about steel, it does come out of it as stainless steel. About maids, so we have one very close family member who at one time had 4 househelp, in form of cleaning lady, cook, day help who would stay 9-5 and a malish lady who use to come to malish & give bath to kids(2 & 4 yr. old) and this family member of ours was always so busy….my husband always joked that managing 4 househelp is almost like managing some business, U need lots of techniques & language skills which everybody can not do. Now after so many years of living without bai(maid) I really think I won’t be able to live with one, though I would prefer if someone can babysit my toofani bache. Really enjoyed reading this post.

  23. Hi,

    Just read your post .Loved gobi paranthas .2 days back I made palak panir as per your recipe and it turned out to be a hit.Thankyou so much for it.

    I am also looking for dishwashers.What I dont understand is why built-in dishewashers for some companies are expensive than stand alone.Do you know anything about it?



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