Flaky Indian-Style Flatbread
MAKES: 8 to 12
TIME: At least 1 hour
Unlike chapati (the preceding recipe), this dough is enriched with butter or oil, which gives it a lovely flaky texture. (Use oil if you want the parathas to be vegan.) Like chapatis, these must be eaten immediately after being cooked: Line a basket or plate with a cloth napkin before starting and, as they finish, pile them up and wrap loosely.
You can also grill these; follow the directions in the variation for grilling chapatis.
11/2 cups whole wheat flour, or more as needed
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
About 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter or about 1/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
Combine the flours and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 3/4 cup water through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it’s dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.) Remove the dough and, using flour as necessary, shape into a ball; wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 20 minutes or up to several hours at room temperature. (Or refrigerate for up to a day or freeze for up to a week.)
Pinch off pieces of dough; the recipe will make 8 to 12 parathas. Using flour as necessary, roll each piece into a 4-inch disk and brush with melted butter or oil. Roll up like a cigar, then into a coil not unlike a cinnamon bun; set aside until you finish all the pieces.
Put a griddle or cast-iron or skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, press one of the coils flat, then roll it out into a thin disk. Put on the griddle or pan and cook until lightly browned on one side, 3 to 5 minutes; brush the top with butter or oil, flip, and brown on the second side, another few minutes. Continue until all the breads are done, then serve.
Spinach Paratha. Almost as easy but with a great twist: Cook 1 pound of fresh spinach and squeeze well to dry (see Boiled or Steamed Greens). In Step 1, add the spinach and a squeeze of lemon juice along with the oil and process as directed, adding more water or flour as needed. Proceed with the recipe.