There’s no shortage of things you can put in a paratha—grated radish, mashed potato, shredded cauliflower, lamb’s quarters, spinach. (It really is a long list.) And though it’s certainly true that these are really all just variations on the same basic theme, each one feels quite distinctive. When you’re in the mood for a gobi paratha with its nubbly, toothsome texture, an aloo paratha’s not really going to quell that hunger.
So, though it is effectively just another way of stuffing a paratha, the near-arrival of spring in New York has made me want to give cabbage one more day in the sun before we turn to warm-weather veggies and greens. So, for your consideration, here’s the gutsy, rustic, absolutely addictive pattha gobhi ka paratha.
A lot of recipes have you cook the cabbage before using it as a filling to soften it and get rid of extra moisture. While I did try and like this method, I was particularly taken by another one: where the cabbage is just mixed together with some seasonings and salt, vigorously massaged, left to shed its extra water, and then squeezed dry.
The salt softens the tough leaves of the cabbage and also ensures that the filling remains dry enough to handle easily. I like it because it’s lighter than a cooked filling, but feel free to try both and see which one you prefer.
PATTHA GOBHI KA PARATHA
Makes 5–6 small parathas
1 ½ cup AP flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp ghee
½ cup water (or as needed)
½ tsp salt
3 cups cabbage, finely chopped, or grated with a box grater
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ tsp toasted cumin seeds
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Melted ghee for cooking
Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl and add the ghee, mixing the latter into the flours with the tips of your fingers until it is thoroughly distributed through the mixture.
Add half the water to the flour, mixing with one hand as you do.
Add the second half of the water more slowly, still mixing constantly with your free hand. When the mixture has mostly come together in a ball but there are still some scraps in the bottom of the bowl, stop adding water and continue mixing till the dough has come together. If the dough still feels too dry and you need to add any more water at this point, wet your hands slightly and resume kneading the dough instead of adding water directly to the bowl. This will prevent you from adding too much water and making the dough too soft.
Continue to knead the dough till it is elastic and smooth but not too soft. Once you reach this point set the dough aside, covered, for at least fifteen minutes to rest and fully hydrate.
While the dough is resting, combine the cabbage with the salt, cumin seeds, green chilli, and black pepper.
Massage the mixture well, pressing it together with your hands to bruise the leaves and encourage them to release as much water as possible. Set aside for ten minutes.
After the cabbage has rested, and the salt has done its work, wrap it in a thin clean towel and squeeze out any extra water. Set aside the dried cabbage till you need it.
Divide the dough into golf ball–sized portions and roll them between your palms to get them as smooth and round as possible.
Press each ball out into a 4-inch puck, using the flat of your hand.
Place 2 teaspoons of the cabbage filling in the center of the dough. Gather up the edges of the dough to enclose the filling firmly in its center. Flip the filled dough over so that the seam side is facing down.
Repeat for all the portions of dough, then cover with a moist, clean towel and set aside.
When you’re ready to start cooking your parathas, heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
Spread a scant amount of flour on a clean working surface, keeping a small pile of additional flour nearby in case you need it as you’re rolling out the parathas.
Using a belan or a thin rolling pin, roll out the parathas into approximately six-inch rounds. Try to keep the cabbage from tearing through the dough, but realize that some amount of tearing is inevitable, and the bits that tear through will end up charred and delicious, so it’s not all quite as bad as it seems.
To cook the parathas, drizzle a teaspoon of melted ghee on the hot pan and then place the paratha on top.
Cook on one side for 2–3 minutes, pressing all over with a metal spatula to ensure even cooking.
Drizzle the uncooked side of the paratha with another teaspoon of ghee before flipping it over. Cook for another 1–2 minutes, pressing with the spatula and moving it around on the pan to mop up all the extra ghee, until the paratha is cooked through.
Remove from the pan and set aside in a covered dish to keep it warm while you repeat the process with the other balls of dough.
Eat with full-fat yoghurt and the achaar of your choice.