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Moong Dal And Onions Stuffed Indian Flatbread or Paratha

Parathas are so versatile! You can make the filling in so many different delicious ways and it is a definite crowd pleaser. Aloo parathas (parathas or flatbreads stuffed with potato) served hot with some yogurt or pickle is a traditional breakfast in so many homes! But I am not here to talk about that 😉 This is another tasty, filling and delicious paratha where I have used moong dal (lentils), onions and mild Indian spices to prepare the stuffing. It definitely increases the protein content of the dish, don’t you think?

I am no expert at making parathas – I make them whenever possible with healthy fillings and try to learn from my mistakes :). For preparing the filling, I have realized that with veggie fillings like this one, it is best to divide the vegetable being used into portions and add the spices as and when you roll out each dough portion. This ensures that the stuffing is not wet when you are rolling out the dough! Also, pat dry the vegetables with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to make it dry. I don’t roll out parathas too big, I feel comfortable rolling out smaller ones and it also helps greatly in portion control. I agree that some parathas like aloo or paneer ones taste great with clarified butter, but these kinds of vegetable stuffed parathas taste great as is! I am not kidding – with this moong dal stuffing, the texture of the filling is quite different – the crunchiness is refreshing!

Normally, soaked dal is used to prepare salads on festival days in south India. I have used the idea from that to prepare this stuffing. Blending and reusing recipe ideas can be a great way to use everything in the pantry, introduce some variety at the dinner table and also be healthy!

Ingredients

For the dough

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour + 2 tbps more for dusting
  2. 1/4 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp oil for dough + 1 tsp oil for rolling each paratha

For the filling

  1. 1/4 cup moog dal (soaked for about 1 hour)
  2. 1/2 medium onion
  3. some chopped cilantro
  4. 1 tsp cumin powder
  5. 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  6. 1/2 tsp chaat masala powder (I used store bought ones – You can get it at most Indian grocery stores)
  7. juice from 1/2 lemon
  8. salt to taste
Preparation Time:  1 hour (soaking) + 10 min                   
Cooking Time: 15 min
Servings: 6-7 parathas

Method

  1. Wash the moong dal well and soak it in a cup of water. While it is soaking, prepare the dough. For that, add the flour, salt and oil in a large mixing bowl. Add warm water little at a time and mix it till the dough comes together. Let it rest while you prepare the filling.
  2. For the filling, chop the onion and cilantro finely. Once the moong dal is soaked (you will notice that the lentil gets a little bigger and slightly softer. If you were to pop some in your mouth you could just bite it easily 😀 ), drain all the water away.
  3. Pat well the dal, chopped onion and cilantro with a paper towel to make it dry. Mix the three and keep it ready in a plate. Also mix the spices (cumin powder, red chili powder and chaat masala) in another plate. We will add the spices to the filling as we roll out each portion.
  4. Now divide the dough into 6 or 7 parts depending on the size of parathas you want. Divide the moong dal – onion mixture into same number of portions.
  5. Take one portion of the dough, dust it with some flour and roll out to about 3-4 inch diameter. Ensure it is thicker in middle than at edges. Now take a fat pinch of the spices add it to a portion of the moong dal mixture, sprinkle some salt and lime and mix well. (Chaat masala also has some salt in it, so add extra salt carefully). Scoop this portion of the filling onto the centre of the rolled out dough. In case you feel that the moong daal-onion mixture still has some water, pat dry again just before adding the spices.
  6. Now pull up the sides of the dough and bring it the centre to completely enclose the filling. Now dust some more flour and pat this dough a little. Now roll it lightly to spread the filling evenly. In between, flip the dough on the other side and repeat the process, ensuring that the filling does not come out. Dust flour as needed. In case the filling does come out a little, those veggies will get cooked crisply while cooking the paratha!
  7. To cook the paratha, heat a skillet on medium. Spread 1/2 tsp of oil on the skillet. Once it is hot, gently place the rolled out dough on the skillet. Let it cook on one side for a few minutes. Pat well and press with spatula to cook evenly. Smear another half tsp of oil on the top and flip gently and let it cook on the other side. Once both sides are cooked, the paratha is ready to be served! Repeat the process for the rest of the dough.
  8. Although traditionally parathas are served with yogurt and pickle, o include more vegetables in your diet, serve it with a nice side of vegetables 😀

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