October 21, 2013

Malabari Paratha or Porota

Every time someone's parents are visiting, the rest of us literally beeline to eat 'homemade' food. Recently, we were invited by our friends for some authentic 'homemade' food from Kerala. I landed a couple of hours early to learn how to make Malabari Porota from my friend's father-in-law (FIL). I brought one 'handvo' as offering for my 'guruji'. I will save the handvo recipe for another post.

It was an interesting afternoon. My friend's FIL speaks only Malayalam, and a few words of English. I do not speak Malayalam at all. All afternoon, we communicated through my friend as the translator, or using sign language. He asked me how I made the handvo, and I showed him by pulling out the ingredients from their pantry, their fridge and sometimes even Google images. He clearly laid out the ingredients necessary for the porota for me, and then asked me to write the recipe. He patiently posed for each picture that I wanted to click while he made the porotas. In the end, he made me try a couple of porotas, and even gave me 'homework'- to practice making them at home and make some in front of him before they leave for India in two months!

I guess love for food transcends language and cultural barriers!

Serves: 6-8 persons
3 cups all purpose flour
11/2 cup water
Salt to taste.
Oil for rolling and frying

  • In a large bowl, place three cups of all purpose flour. Dissolve salt to the 11/2 cup of water. Now knead the dough carefully for a long time till the dough is semi-soft, not sticky at all. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Dough balls
  • Divide the dough into dough balls about the size of a tennis ball. Each dough ball would make two porotas. Baste some oil on them, cover with damp cloth and let them rest for atleast 30 minutes.
  • Grease the countertop with oil. Apply some oil in your palms. Take one dough ball and flatten it with the heel of your palm till it is about a 6-7 inch disc, of even thickness.
  • Place right fingers under the disc facing the top and the left fingers on the top left side of the dough disc, facing the counter. Flip your hands around while holding the dough so that the right hand fingers are now facing the bottom/ counter and the left hand fingers are facing the top. Repeat. Dough will gradually stretch and become thinner. Dont worry if you make any holes. It will all be covered up in the end.
  • Divide the stretched dough with the back of a spoon
  • Once it is thin and almost transparent, divide it into two equal parts with the back of a spoon or a knife. Holding the two ends of one piece, stretch slightly till it folds into a long rope/ ribbon. Roll from one end, into a rosette and tuck the other end under it. Repeat for the remaining dough. Cover the rosettes with damp cloth and let it rest for another 30 minutes. I tried to capture the entire rolling process over here.

Little dough rossettes
  • Grease the heel of your palm with oil. Take one dough rossette and gently pat it into a disc, about 6-7 inches in diameter. 
  • Heat a griddle and cook the porota on both sides till it is golden brown in color.
  • Place the cooked and still hot porota on the countertop and slap to crush it between your hands, so that it becomes fluffy and flakey. Be very careful, as the porota is very very hot. I did it only after the porota was slightly cooler. Its easier to see the crushing in the video here.
  • Serve with a curry of your choice. 
Bon Appetit!
Hetal from Houston

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