Lachha Paratha – Punjabi Layered Flatbreads

Although lachha parathas are a popular North Indian bread, the first time I ever tried them was in the South of India! I was very young but it was such a memorable meal. We had been on the road for 4 hours traveling from Chennai to Pondicherry when hunger struck. It was late but we found a roadside “dhabba” restaurant looking like it was about to close up. Being in the south we (naturally) asked (begged) for the dosa menu but alas, as it was closing time, we were told all they could prepare for us were lachha parathas and raita.

A few minutes later we had plates of crispy, buttery & flakey parathas before us and we devoured them as if we hadn’t eaten in days. To sum up how I felt, if it was possible, I would have inserted all variations of smiley emojis here. You get the drift. They were sensational.

Mum had never made them at home before but everything changed when we returned! They’re perfect for mopping up curries, as a base for wraps and rolls or even on their own with some raita and pickles. Try them and let me know what you think!

Lachha Parathas
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups (approx. 135g) plain flour plus extra flour for dusting
  2. 1 tbsp oil or melted ghee
  3. 1 cup water approx.
  4. Oil and ghee/melted butter for cooking
Instructions
  1. Place the flour and oil/melted ghee in a mixing bowl. Rub the oil/ghee into the flour with your hand so they are well incorporated. Now add the water gradually and begin to combine the flour and water to make a rough dough. It should be soft but not sticky. Cover with cling film and rest for 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, grease your hand with oil and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until the dough is pliable and smooth. (If it is too sticky, you can add a little dry flour and if it seems to stiff or dry, add a little water and re-knead). It should be soft, smooth and springy.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan and fill a wide deep bowl with plain flour.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 smooth round balls.
  5. Press one dough ball in the flour and then turn it over and press the other side. Using a rolling pin, begin to roll out so the dough ball forms a disc approx 7-8" wide.
  6. Now, generously spread ghee or oil over the surface and sprinkle on some dry plain flour.
  7. Start making small pleat-like folds, about ½ inch wide, starting from one side of the circle and working toward the other side. The more pleats you make, the more layers the paratha will have. You will end up with a long narrow strip.
  8. Stretch it out slightly. Now roll up the strip like a Danish swirl.
  9. Tuck in the end. Press flat and press both sides into the dry flour.
  10. Now begin to roll out until 7-8 inches wide. Dust off any excess flour by clapping the paratha between your hands.
  11. Place the paratha on the hot pan. When it changes colour and small bubbles begin to appear, turn it over and cook the other side. Lightly brush the surface with oil and turn it over.
  12. Repeat on other side and cook until your paratha is golden and crispy. Remove from heat. You can finish by brushing with butter or leave it as it is.
  13. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
Notes
  1. If you're making them to serve on their own with raita/pickles, you can add a pinch of salt when making the dough.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Fish Pakoras

Fish pakoras are my absolute favourite, so I was really excited to see that you guys totally agree – you voted to see a recipe for these in last month’s Twitter poll. I apologise it has taken me a little longer than usual to get this out to you, but I’ve been super busy setting up the The Spice Club’s new cookery classes in Birmingham (Eeek… can’t wait!). 

I appreciate the last couple of posts have focused on “deep fried goodness” – clearly a sign that my body is going into hibernation mode, but I couldn’t resist. I really hope you enjoy these delightful morsels of deliciousness.  Let me know what you think! Tweet/facebook/insta me….heck linkedin me if you must. I love feedback. 

Fish Pakoras
Serves 2
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Fish marination
  1. 250g boneless fish fillets, cut into bitesize chunks (cod/hake/basa work well)
  2. 3/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  3. 1/4 tsp turmeric
  4. Juice of half lemon
  5. 2 birds eye green chillies, finely chopped
  6. 2 cloves garlic minced/grated
  7. 1 cm ginger, minced/grated (optional)
For the batter/coating
  1. 1 tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  2. 1/2 tsp ajwain/carom seeds (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
  4. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3/4 tsp tandoori masala (optional)
  6. 4 tbsp gram flour
  7. 1 tbsp rice flour/cornflour
  8. 2 tbsp yoghurt (greek style preferable)
You will also need
  1. Oil for deep frying (sunflower/veg oil work well)
Instructions
  1. Place all the "fish marination" ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Leave aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a pan (a small wok type pan works best) on a low heat setting.
  3. To this bowl, now add the "batter" ingredients and gently combine everything together (it is best to use your hand to do this). Every piece of fish should be well coated in a thick paste like batter. (You may need to adjust the amount of gram flour or yoghurt to achieve this thick paste consistency).
  4. Increase the heat of the oil pan and test the temperature of the oil by adding in a small piece of fish/batter. It should take about 5 seconds for it to rise from the bottom of the pan to the top.
  5. Now carefully add the fish pieces to the oil. Cook in batches and do not overcrowd the pan.
  6. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Each piece should be crisp and golden all over.
  7. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

INDIAN SCOTCH EGGS

When it comes to Diwali, I love to greet my guests with a table laden with finger food and snacks. The aim of the evening is to feed them until they’re so full they have to roll home, so I have to start in the night the right way!
As part of my Diwali feast this year, I will be making a fusion dish that brings a spicy twist to a quintessential British snack – the Scotch Egg. Replacing the traditional meat covering with spicy potatoes, the Indian scotch egg is a mouth watering variation on the classic. The first time I tried these was in Kolkata and it blew my mind. The flavour, the heat, the concept…I was transported to a place of pure bliss!

Though the list of ingredients runs slightly on the longer side, I thankfully have an Asda* near me where I can do all my shopping in one go. With all the ingredients in place, let’s get cooking.  Remember, you can make this simple yet sumptuous starter for Diwali in a jiffy and without spending a fortune. Just pop into your nearest Asda and make the most of their Diwali offers! 

*Although I have been sponsored to write this post, I am an actual Asda customer and can genuinely vouch for the variety of Indian products at their stores. 

Dimer Devil | Indian Scotch Eggs
Yields 5
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Ingredients
  1. 5 small/medium eggs
Potato coating
  1. 2 large potatoes (approx 450g potatoes), boiled, peeled & mashed with a fork
  2. Salt to taste
  3. ½ tsp chili powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. ½ tsp coriander powder
  6. 1 birds eye green chilli, finely chopped
  7. Small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  8. 4 tbsp oil
  9. 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  10. 1 tsp garlic paste
  11. 1 tsp ginger paste
Coating
  1. 1 egg for egg wash, beaten with 2 tbsp of water
  2. 2 slices of bread made intro crumbs/100g panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt
You will also need
  1. Sunflower oil for deep frying
How to
  1. 1. Place eggs in pan full of water and bring to boil. Set timer for 7 minutes. Remove eggs from heat and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel them.
  2. 2. Place the potatoes, dry spices, chilli and coriander in a bowl and mix well.
  3. 3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden. Now add the mashed potato and mix to incorporate everything.. Continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Taste for salt & adjust if you need to.
  4. 4. Once cool, divide mixture into 5 balls. Next, wrap each potato ball evenly around each egg.
  5. 5. Then place the eggs and breadcrumbs into 2 separate plates.
  6. 6. Dip a potato wrapped egg into the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs.
  7. 7. Carefully place into a pan filled halfway with of oil at 160ºC (medium heat). Repeat with the next egg. Cook a couple at a time for 4-5 minutes or until crisp and golden all over. Remove and drain on a wire tray/kitchen paper.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/