Homemade Kerala Parottas!

IMG_4983It is a lovely, sunny afternoon with a cool breeze in the hipster part of Vienna, and here I am sipping on a large mug of wheat beer with just the right amount of froth, on a Thursday while I sit down in this little nook, by the cobbled by-lanes of this dreamy city, under the blue skies, to work on the blog; one of the many luxuries a part time legal career offers you and something that ensures that my sanity (or the lack of it) stays put. As I look around, I see tourists in pretty, flowery outfits and seemingly over-the-top sunglasses, scaling the old architecture in this part of the city; grumpy looking women on their way back home with what looks like full bags of groceries; lovers reuniting in a tight embrace; over excited kids on their scooters whizzing by (and I cannot help but say a prayer that they get back to their respective homes in one piece); immaculately dressed women in their early thirties (I assume) observing intently the paintings and some exquisite art (which is right out of the boundaries of my comprehension), exhibited in the circle about 30 meters from the spot I have decided to call my own. I must admit at this point that I have always been quite fascinated (bordering on suspicious) by people who call themselves connoisseurs of modern art, jazz and wine. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t, who am I to tell? I will laugh (in my head, of course) and laugh, I will.

Let me get to what I came here for, before the beer kicks in. So, today I have finally decided to put out my post on Kerala Parottas. The one thing, with the blasphemous accompaniment of beef fry, that can get you lynched in almost every other part of India except my own. But as they say in the recent release in Malayalam Cinema, Godha, Parotta and Beef roast/fry is not something trivial for a true bred Malayali like me; it is an emotion (check the scene out here); an emotion that got injected into my veins a long time before I knew it; an emotion that takes me back, thousands of miles away to that green speck in the globe where I was born, raised and taught to love unconditionally without giving as much as a thought to trifling matters such as religion, political affiliation or food preferences; an emotion that takes me back to the times in my childhood when I have sat in the back seat of the car with my sister, and my mom who called shot gun even before I was born.

Another sip of this beautiful beer gets me reminiscing and takes me back straight to the backseat of our Ford Ikon which has seen me wave vigorously at strangers in fits of excitement and laughter that overcame me during our family trips to Munnar, as well as when the tears fell silently down my cheeks at 16, like little streams that flowed past the lush green in the mountains, when my dad passed his verdict on the boy I thought I had then given my heart to. Ah how we grow up! Anyway. I vividly remember the times I have spent in that very seat, with my mom and sister waiting for my dad to bring back that packet; the packet that smelled as though the heavens had descended; that packet which could make even a statue purr in delight; hot parottas and right-off-the-stove beef roast. While we waited in the car, we have stared endlessly at the art and the dexterity with which the chettan at the roadside stall slapped the parotta dough against the steel coated table, kneading it with so much love, not once questioning his liberal use of cooking oil, flattening the dough with so much skill that made our jaws drop to the ground. That is probably when that emotion called ‘Parotta’ got kindled somewhere in the left side of my chest.

So, getting down to business. Today, I share with you that one recipe which took me ages to pen down, primarily because of the confusion created in the process of fixing my amateur video. However, I have gathered all the courage in me to get it sorted and to let out to the world the fact that Kerala Parottas are doable at home; within the confines of your own kitchen; unsupervised. Also, I used Rapeseed oil which has the least saturated fat among all oils, quite contrary to the popular belief that Kerala Parottas are oily and supremely unhealthy. I wouldn’t call this healthy under any circumstances, however, that is not what a pure blood Mallu aims at while deciding to go for these beauties. So, here you go.

Things you will need: (for about 8-10 medium sized parottas)

  • Maida/ All purpose flour- 1.5 cups
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Sugar

How to go about it

  1. First step towards Kerala Parottas is to make a soft dough. Add about half a teaspoon of salt and about the same quantity of sugar to the flour along with about two tablespoons of oil to the flour. Add water little by little and then knead it to form a soft ball. This step is super important and you need to ensure that the dough is kneaded well and there are no cracks visible on the surface of the ball of flour. Take your time with this step. I kneaded the ball for about a full 10 minutes.
  2. Once this is done, cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. No concessions there. Sorry.
  3. The next step would be to make small, even balls of the dough. Make balls that are about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. No, you do not need to fetch the rule for this purpose, it is merely an approximate.
  4. Knead the dough balls well for a minute each. Set them aside for another five minutes.
  5. The next step is to flatten the balls out to form disks that are about five inches in diameter. Basically, all you need to do is to flatten them out with your hand to form circular looking discs. As you make each disc, make sure you brush sufficient oil to each of them before stacking them up together. This will make sure that the discs do not stick to one another. Once the discs are stacked up, let them rest for another 10 minutes.
  6. The next step is the crucial one. Now that you have left the discs to rest, they will spread out easily which is what needs to be done. So, take one disc at a time, lay it out on a flat, clean surface and start spreading it out by pulling the edges. It will now easily spread to form a thin sheet and you need to pull it from all sides in order to spread it out evenly.
  7. Gather the spread out dough from one side, so it resembles a handkerchief that is being held from one corner, and place the dough on your free palm as a spiral.
  8. Once the spirals have been made, brush a little bit of oil on them before you let them rest for another 5 minutes.
  9. Next, flatten the spirals out with your hand to make the parottas.
  10. Heat a tawa/pan up, brush some cooking oil on it, and place the parottas on it. Each side would need to cook for about two minutes. Once the parottas start getting that lovely, brown colour, take them off the tawa/pan.
  11. Once all the parottas have been cooked, stack them up again, and then clap your hands after keeping the stack in between. Please check video if this step is unclear. This is to hep in fluffing the parottas out, and again a crucial step.
  12. Your fluffy parottas are now ready to be served hot with a delicious beef roast, the recipe for which is available right here 🙂

And in case all of that sounds too dense, the video I have put together is below (it is sped up, but very amateur work, so do bear with my lack of skill :P):

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