15 February 2013

GUEST BLOG: Stuff it

By guest blogger KIM IRWIN

Saturday 9 February saw the Cracking Good Food team run another booked-up session at Chorlton High. Harjinder's ever-popular Punjabi cooking sessions are always great fun, and Saturday's did not disappoint. On the menu were stuffed parathas with homemade yoghurt. To get the keen cooks started, Harjinder demonstrated the traditional technique to make atta dough from stoneground wholemeal flour, using her hand as an implement for measuring the water, then making a claw shape to pull the dough together. After kneading, Harjinder left her dough to rest and the cooks divided into small groups to make their own.

Next up was making the fillings for the parathas, of which there were two types. For the first, potatoes were mashed in their skins then we added a selection of aromatic spices including lovage and pomegranate seeds, plus chopped fresh herbs and finely sliced onion. Harjinder shared with the group her family's blend of spices which make up traditional masala mixes, and I jotted down the recipe to add to my own spice collection. Shredded mooli was transformed with a vibrant cacophony of fresh herbs and spices (pictured above), and the result could have been served as a dish by itself, but this was another filling for the parathas. I could hardly wait to taste the finished product, my mouth was watering…

Harjinder heated the traditional tawas (cast-iron, flat pans) and soon the first roti was rolled and on the tawa, expertly manoeuvred around by Harjinder's quick hands. Once the cooks felt confident to tackle their own, rotis were rolled and stuffed with the mouthwatering fillings to transform them into parathas, and soon the smell of freshly cooked bread wafted through the air. Harjinder had brought with her a big bowl of homemade yoghurt and she talked the group through the different stages of making it, and we all agreed that it seemed like a straightforward process to try at home. A dollop of the yoghurt was served on the side of the parathas, which were sprinkled with salt and some masala spice mix… mmmm, delicious!  

TOP TIP: Have a window open at home when frying the roti/parathas as they create a very smoky atmosphere and you don't want to set your smoke alarm off like we did! Ooops.

You can see a full set of photos from this session on our Facebook page.

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