Hidden cabbage paratha

Mallika Basu - Hidden cabbage paratha

Posted 26th September 2012

Friday mornings are stressful.  I have the gargantuan task of getting two toddlers ready. For someone who has survived a 12-year career in Corporate PR, this is quite an admission.

Mini Basu is 3.5. Her favourite colours are the colours of the rainbow. Mostly pink. Pink is not a colour in the rainbow. No matter. Micro Mini Basu is almost 2. He is learning to speak. Mostly repeat renditions of “go away” and “don’t want it”. Accompanied by the odd kick in the shins/smack in the face type stuff.

Believe me when I say I would rather re-live weekly the pitch presentation to an angry mob of prospective clients I once had the misfortune to experience.

In the midst of all this, I have to also get dressed. Now this normally would not make a blind bit of difference. I am, after all, going to a nursery. I could wear a frikkin chicken costume and the bleary eyed parents would not notice. But I have discovered some clients live dangerously near me.

To make matters worse, I have a glamorous cooking avatar to live up to. Or something.  (If anyone mentions the word “supermum” I will come after you with a sharp knife and a lurid plastic shovel…)

Last week, I hit a new low. Dropping the kids off, I decided to make Cabbage Paratha for our brunch together with the cabbage celeverly hidden in the paratha dough. Those who know me, know well that I hate sticky dough with a vengeance. But a few weeks of blog redesigning has revealed an abysmal record of the brunch dishes I cook.

So several parathas later, I dropped into nursery with turmeric-stained nails, hair in a top knot and the vague aroma of Ajwain about me. And lo behold I spotted a leopard-print legginged, leather jacket and red lipstick wearing mum of darling toddler. Wafting around the grounds like she had just stumbled out of bed looking like Venus Divine.

I was about to mumble a banned grown up bad word under my breath, when I heard her introduce herself as Georgina’s godmother. So that explains that. I told mini Basu we had Cabbage Paratha for brunch and it took little other persuasion to get both of us skipping back home together. Good thing they didn’t notice the sneaky cabbage in the parathas!


300gm atta (chapati flour)

250gm white cabbage grated

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder

Half inch grated ginger

2 cloves garlic (grated)

1 tbsp natural yoghurt

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ajwain seeds

2 tbsp oil

10 tsp oil for frying


In a large mixing bowl, put all the ingredients bar the extra oil for frying. Using two tablespoons of water at a time, mix the ingredients into a solid dough ball. You will only need about six tablespoons at the most but this varies from brand to brand of chapati flour, which is basically very fine wholewheat flour. If it’s too watery, add a bit more flour.

Now knead the dough for a couple of minutes, punching it with your knuckles and making it as smooth as you possibly can.

Ideally make your parathas straightaway. Stretch the dough into a long fat sausage and break it into 15-16 even-sized balls. Pour a heap of atta onto a plate, flatten a ball of flour in between your palms, dunk in the flour and with a rolling pin roll into a moderately round shape.

If you haven’t done this before, the trick is to roll in one direction, then shift the paratha clockwise and roll again, until you get an odd but round shape. Any weird sticking out bits can just be individually stretched out with at the corners with the rolling pin. If the dough starts sticking to the rolling pin or surface, just dip one side gently on the floured plate and keep going.

Once you have a rolled out paratha, on a medium heat bring a flat non-stick plan to heat. I use a pan specially built to fry parathas, but you could just as easily use a frying pan. Dry roast the paratha on one side, then flip over and drizzle half a teaspoon of oil around the paratha on the pan. Each paratha only needs about two minutes in total, you’ll see little dark spots appearing and the paratha taking on a translucent texture.

When it does, take it off with a flat spatula, and start rolling the next one. This process doesn’t take too long so don’t be put off!

As you make each paratha, pile them up on a warm clean kitchen towel and keep wrapped, so they stay soft until they are all cooked. And possibly even later if you don’t eat them straightaway. I serve these warm, with creamy thick full fat yoghurt and tangy lime pickle. Always a winner!

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