Parathas are a pan-fried Indian flatbread, often stuffed with spicy lentils and other ingredients. They can be a meal in themselves, but are perfect when served with a light curry for dipping. I have chosen to use lentils again for the curry, which isn’t as overkill as it might sound, and makes this a perfect high-protein meal. I have gone for canned to make this an easy dish, but feel free to use dried lentils instead. Just soak them for about 3-4 hours prior to cooking.
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Parathas might seem like a lot of bother, but they are such an incredible bread it is worth making the effort. The biggest chore is kneading the bread. When that’s done you can sit back and let it rise in a warm place while you watch some Netflix. The flatbreads can also be made the day before and heated back up in the oven, though they are better the day you make them.
The curry also requires fairly minimal effort, using just a few vegetables, spices and the lentils. Much of the time taken cooking it is letting it simmer away, which is the prefect time for you to start frying the parathas.
What you need for these Rice and Lentil Parathas with Green Lentil Curry.
Canned Green Lentils:
Most supermarkets sell canned lentils, usually with the chickpeas and other beans. They are perfect for when you want a quick lentil dish, such as my 15 Minute Thai Lentils with Green Beans and Coconut Rice, and don’t want to bother with the soaking and cooking. In my opinion, they are a store cupboard essential, and it’s a good idea to always keep a couple of cans handy.
Strong White Bread Flour:
Strong bread flour has a higher protein (and therefore gluten) content than regular plain flour, which makes it ideal for breadmaking as it gets a better rise. Again, I would keep a bag in your pantry for making anything from flatbreads to pizzas.
Madras Curry Powder:
This is a general curry powder blend, sold in the world food section of most large supermarkets. I use it a lot for curries, such as kormas and madras, or usually those where I’m not using a tomato base. They come in large or small bags, which I then store in sealed containers.
Various Other Spices:
Keeping a good stock of spices is essential for making a variety of Indian foods. The spices used in this dish are Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander and Fenugreek. I keep others in stock as well, such as additional spice blends, Garam masala and ground cardamom. I also keep a variety of whole spices for roasting or frying.
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Rice and Lentil Parathas with Green Lentil Curry
For the Parathas:
- 550 g strong white bread flour
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 350 ml tepid water
- ½ mug 120g uncooked basmati rice
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1 can cooked green lentils well drained
- 2 tbsp madras curry powder
- 1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- A good pinch of salt
- A little oil for frying about 2 tbsp per flatbread
For the Lentil Curry:
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 green pepper sliced
- 1 aubergine diced very small
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 tbsp madras curry powder
- 1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 litre veg stock
- 1 can green lentils and their water
- 200 ml vegan cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A small handful of chopped coriander to garnish
- The first job is to make the bread dough. To do this, put the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and then pour in almost all of the water. Hold back a little bit just in case the dough is too wet (you can always add it after). Mix together with a table knife until the dough comes together (add the rest of the water if it’s looking a little dry), then bring it all together properly with your hands.
- Bring the dough out onto your work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Clean out the mixing bowl and place the dough back into it. Drizzle on a little oil and rub it all over, then cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to prove for about 90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
- While the dough is proving you can cook the rice to give it plenty of time to cool down. I do this the cheating way. Simply put the ½ mug of rice into a microwavable bowl and add a full mug of cold water. Place uncovered in the microwave and put the power down to 80%. Cook on 80% for 14-15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Once done, fork through and set aside.
- Now heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the red onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until it has softened and browned. Add the rice and the lentils and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Now put in the spices and the salt and thoroughly mix. Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring almost constantly to cook the spices, then turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
- Now make the curry. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, pepper and aubergine for about 15 minutes, until all have softened and cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the flavours are released. Now put in the spices and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in the veg stock and the lentils, including their water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about a third, then pour in the vegan cream and simmer gently for another 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste and you’re done.
- While the curry is simmering, bring your proven dough back to your worktop and knock all of the air out of it by giving it a rough knead. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
- On a floured surface, roll out one piece at a time into a disc roughly the size of a small dinner plate. You want it to be about half a centimetre thick. Spoon some of the spicy lentil and rice mix onto the middle of the disc. A quarter of the mix will be too much ( you will have some left over that you can always add to the final dish), so go for about 3-4 tablespoons. You basically want a small pile in the middle.
- Bring together all of the edges of the dough and join them in the middle, just like you’re making a parcel. Seal the dough with your fingers, then turn it over so that the sealed edges are face down. You will want to make sure the worktop is dusted with flour as well as the top of the dough so that it doesn’t stick and tear.
- Gently roll the dough out again so that it is a similar size disc to before. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan , until reasonably hot, then gently transfer the flatbread to the frying pan. Cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes each side (use a spatula to turn it over) until it is slightly browned and risen, like naan bread. Repeat the process with each piece of dough until you have the 4 parathas. You can keep them warm in a low oven while you cook each one.
- Cut the parathas into quarters and serve with the lentil curry. Dress with a little chopped coriander if required.
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