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The Paratha Platter: Methi Paratha (Vendhaya Keerai Roti) (Fresh unleavened Wholewheat bread with Fenugreek leaves)

April 4, 2014

We are basically rice-eaters down south but we enjoy north Indian cuisine in equal measure.  I do grind and keep atleast 5 kg of Atta (whole wheat flour – not the refined or all-purpose flour ‘maida’ that we use for cakes) atleast once in 2 months; for our small family it serves well.  Never buy ‘atta’ straight from store shelves.  We get ‘punjabi wheat’ in Chennai in bags and I mostly settle for it to get my fresh ‘punjabi atta’.  Weekly thrice atleast we have light ‘phulkas’ – fresh thin unleavened wholewheat breads without a drop of oil or ghee (clarified butter) with a good vegetable subzi/side-dish for dinner.  We opt for ‘phulkas’ at night mainly for health reasons.  Rice ranks high in glycemic index so better to limit it to  lunch.  South Indians are prone to type-2 diabetes thanks to over-consumption of rice.  So a shift to wheat phulkas is natural for those of us in middle-age.

Our most favourite paratha is naturally the ‘Methi paratha’ or paratha/unleavened wholewheat bread with fenugreek leaves  (Vendhaya Keerai roti in tamil).

Unlike north Indians, I do not add garam masala or onion to saute the methi leaves over the stove/flame.  I rinse thoroughly and use it FRESH straight away with the atta (wholewheat flour).  We love its curious bitter taste and aroma and wouldn’t want to lose it to the overpowering flavours of onion, garlic or masale.  So essentially I make the Methi Paratha in my own style to preserve the natural nutritional properties of the Methi/fenugreek/vendhaya keerai leaves as much as possible.  Plus I do away with oil or ghee (clarified butter) which north Indians cannot do without.

I am not really very good with north Indian/punjabi fare but somewhat get through with some basic stuff.  Whatever is good for health and happens to be vegetarian, I try to adapt it to our lifestyle.  As a matter of fact, we visit mostly north Indian restaurants only in Chennai and in Doha. In Doha we also tried out same stuff with Pakistani and Afghan restaurants.  Shocked to observe that they are strikingly similar to north Indian restaurants.  Afghani stuff is a bit different though.

Ingredients to make the Methi Paratha – one of the basic north Indian maincourse bread:

Wholewheat flour or atta – 2 cups

Fresh Methi leaves (vendhaya keerai) (fenugreek leaves) – rinsed and cut – 2 cups  (or kasuri methi – dried fenugreek leaves can be used if fresh methi/vendhaya keerai/methi leaves are not available)

Salt to taste

Water

Rice flour (optional) – 1 or 2 tsp

 

 

 

Method:

 

Cut and rinse in water thoroughly the fresh methi leaves.  Drain and add it with salt to the atta or wholewheat flour.  Leave upto 30 minutes so that the water remaining with the methi leaves on rinsing will be soaked by the atta/flour.  This water must be sufficient to knead the flour into a smooth dough.  Otherwise add a little more water.   (If there must be excess water, add a little more atta to make it good).  Using your hands, knead a smooth dough of atta and fresh methi leaves now.  You can see that i have not pre-cooked/sauteed the methi leaves in a wok or added any chili-garlic or garam masala.  It is just salt that we have added.

Divide the kneaded dough into equal portions and make small balls of similar size with the dough.  Smoothen/flatten the balls lightly so that they can be further rolled out into bigger circular discs.

Roll out each flattened ball( like you do with chappathi )(like a pancake) –  into circular shape – on a flat surface using a roll-pin, one by one.  If the dough is sticky, use 1-2 tsp of rice flour or atta to make it non-sticky.  (or oil can be alternately used to roll out the parathas without sticking to the surface.  i use rice flour).

So we get unleavened wholewheat bread or paratha with methi leaves ready for cooking.  Repeat this process for all the balls of dough.

Heat a tawa or a pan.

Add the first laid-out atta paratha to the tawa when it is hot enough and wait for it to cook.   Cook to golden brown on medium flame. When it is done, turn over and do the other side also to golden brown.

Take off the tawa the done methi paratha, and repeat the process for all the other laid-out parathas made out of the dough balls.  Store in a muslin-lined food warmer.

We now have methi paratha or fresh unleavened wholewheat bread with fenugreek leaves or vendhaya keerai roti (in tamil) ready to serve.  Serve hot.

With 2 cups of atta and 2 cups of methi leaves we can make atleast 8-10 methi parathas of a decent size/diameter.

As we have not added spices/garam masala or chili-ginger-garlic, the bitter taste of the methi leaves will come through in this dish very strong.  Somehow this is the way we like it at home than laden with garam masala that kills the original aroma of the methi leaves plus its nutritional properties.

Serve with fresh yoghurt (dahi), freshly cut vegetable salads and any veggie or non-veg subzi/side-dish/curry/masala.

In this pic:  I have served Fresh Methi Parathas with cucumber-tomato salads, fresh palak poriyal (greens/spinach sauteed with onion, garlic and black pepper powder) and soya-mutter(soya with fresh green peas) curry made with chili-turmeric powder and onion-garlic-ginger-tomato).  Ofcourse, a bowl of fresh dahi or unsalted yoghurt too (goes without saying).  Very nutritional and tasty and filling dinner 🙂

 

 

 

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