Sunday, November 04, 2012
My grandmother is an innate nurturer. After my grandfather passed away 27 years ago she latched on immediately to us, her grand children, as a coping mechanism to try and fill the gap he left behind. Every memory I have of her involves her being in her kitchen, her domain, where she would move around like a whirling dervish chopping, dicing, stirring, kneading - pouring out her love for us into the meals she prepared.
One of the special treats she made for us on weekends was meetha paratha - a fat, sugary, crunchy, flaky flatbread. She's almost 90 now but still welcomes requests and will lovingly roll out this delicious comfort food for my breakfast each time I'm back home for a visit. Two weeks ago I stood next to her and watched as she dipped a fat ball of dough into the flour bin, shook off the excess, flattened and spread it with ghee and granulated sugar. She then rolled it into a log, smeared it with more ghee and sugar, brought the ends together to form a disc and then rolled it out flat.
Meetha Paratha (Sweet Flatbread)
2 cups atta flour
2-3 tbsp wheat bran (optional)
1 cup warm water
a large pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp raw sugar
3-4 tbsp ghee
Sift the flour, bran and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in the water, half a cup at a time, mix into the flour with your hands and then knead to form a soft dough. Cover and leave aside for half an hour. Meanwhile heat the griddle on medium.
Divide the dough into 8 balls. Dip a ball of dough into flour or dust with flour and flatten into a disc. Smear with ghee and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bring the sides up and roll the disc into a ball. Flatten and roll it out thick. Spread a tablespoon of ghee on the griddle and place the flattened dough on top. Spread the top with a layer of ghee and flip it over when one side is cooked. Serve warm. These parathas are delicious on their own, with a cup of milky tea.