The quest to find the perfect flour blend for the gluten free paratha has been a challenging one. However, I think I finally have one that fits the bill. I have mixed a variety of gluten free flours to accomplish this feat. One of the staples of my gluten free kitchen is the King Arthur Gluten Free multi-purpose flour blend. I have not tried other blends in this recipe as I almost exclusively use the King Arthur blend in my kitchen. I like the convenience of the product and I don't always have time to mix my own since there are so many other things to do in life.
The Aloo Paratha was probably the one Pakistani food that my son missed the most when he went gluten free. So finding an alternative that tasted, smelled, and looked like the original was almost essential. I think my husband enjoyed eating the first one after so many years as well. The recipe looks long but it is actually quite easy to assemble and the masala will keep in an air tight container if you make extra for the next time.
This is one of the few times you will see that the flours are not spooned into the cup or weighed for the recipe. Just take a measuring cup and dip it into the bag and measure out one cup each of:
King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
Around 1 3/4 cup cold water
Mix all dry ingredients and oil in mixer till blended then begin to add in the water a little at a time. The dough will adhere to the paddle of the mixer during mixing and you will need to push it off to add additional quantities of water. Mix until the dough appears smooth and all the dough adheres to the beater. (The dough will still be slightly tacky when handled). Divide into 8 palm sized balls and cover with a damp paper towel while preparing the stuffing.
The stuffing is quite simple to make. I use instant dry potatoes since I have discovered that the moisture content of regular potatoes is enough to make the gluten free dough fall apart during the process of filling and pressing. You want the potatoes to be damp and adhere slightly together but not too wet.
1 cup dry instant potatoes
1 cup hot water
2 tsp. vegetable masala
1 to 2 tsp. chaat masala (I suggest 2 tsp. for a salty and spicier taste)
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro, if desired
Mix all ingredients together and allow to cool slightly.
Masala recipes are located at the end of the post.
To make the paratha, take the ball of dough and flatten into a disc, place about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the disc and pinch the sides together around the filling so that you have a football shape.
Roll the dough gently into a ball shape and place in the middle of the tortilla press which has been lined with a plastic bag sprayed with cooking spray. I use a plastic bread bag with two of the sides cut so it is like a book, with the fold towards the hinge of the press and spray the inside with the cooking spray. This makes handling the dough easier since gluten free dough tends to fall apart when handled. Then place the dough in the center of the tortilla press and flatten into a disc about the size of the press. Then remove and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a slightly larger size making sure the dough has been rolled evenly in thickness. If some of the potato filling comes through the dough, don't worry, you will still get good results.
The next step is to gently peel back the plastic and lay the paratha onto your hand and then onto a tava or crepe pan for frying. Place a small quantity of olive oil on the skillet on medium heat and cook till it begins to brown and then flip and repeat on the other side. The paratha will have nice golden brown spots on both sides when you are done cooking them and if you are lucky, a nice gentle puff of steam to balloon the paratha. Once you get use to the technique, you will be able to prepare one while the other one is cooking and the cooking process will go very fast.
Tearing open the Aloo Paratha will reveal the hidden stuffing:
There are many different Chaat and vegetable masala recipes that can be used for the paratha. If you have a favorite, then use that masala. You can also use one of the commercially prepared spice mixes if you are able to find one. Most are not certified as Gluten Free and I am reluctant to purchase them since they are usually imported and not subjected to labeling requirements. There are a few companies, mostly British based, which are beginning to produce gluten free Indian spice mixes and if you are lucky enough to have access to one of these, then please feel free to substitute.
Do not let the fact that you do not have all the listed spices stop you from making this recipe. Even a simple combination of roasted cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, salt and fresh coriander will taste good in an Aloo Paratha. Let your taste buds be your guide.
1 tbsp. cumin seeds, roasted
1 tsp. coriander seeds, roasted
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, roasted
1 1/2 tbsp. mango powder
1 tbsp. black salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ajwain seeds
1/4 tsp. dried crushed mint
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Place all spices in spice grinder and blend to powder form. Store masala in air tight container.
2 tsp. dried methi leaves
4 bay leaves
4 whole green cardomen pods
2 tsp. cumin seeds, roasted
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Grind to powder in spice grinder. Store masala in air tight container.