I always get inspired at the Hope Farmers’ Market, and back in the spring I bought a terrific meal at the Royal Indian Prepared Foods stall (also known as Lamba Royal Indian). After Gurpreet had plied me with as many samples as my belly could hold, I decided to buy his frozen pumpkin parathas with a side container of tomato sabji to use as a dipping sauce.
As he handed over (but didn’t relinquish) what I hoped would be my supper, Gurpreet turned serious over the parathas.
“Now, you must not microwave these. You must lightly oil them and brown them on a hot skillet, first one side, then the other.”
I said, “Okay.”
He looked at me and repeated, “No microwave”.
Trying to look more sincere, and rather solemn, I said, “Okay”.
The way he held my gaze, I had the feeling that if I hadn’t agreed, he might have snatched my goodies back--No parathas for you! But in the end he let me have them, and I walked away impressed by how much he clearly cares about his products.
When it came time to reheat the parathas, I dutifully cooked them on my cast iron tortilla griddle until I’d achieved some nicely browned patches of which I think Gurpreet would have approved.
Then I heated up some of his sabji, which contains a great amount of oregano, strangely, but is very good.
Once we were ready to eat, I think I got about two bites out of the whole meal as Shane inhaled the rest. It was then that I decided to make the stuff myself.
I used this recipe from Rak’s Kitchen for the chapati, including the use of ghee as the added fat. But I didn’t even bother making “fleets” as Rak calls them. I just rolled the dough out quite a bit larger than I would a tortilla and grilled it until cooked through.
The ghee, which I got from Tom’s Tabooley here in Austin, really gives the chapati a wonderful flavor both within the dough and brushed on top.
For the pumpkin filling, I dug some of my homemade pumpkin puree out of the freezer and cooked it down until it was thick and fragrant.
Next I sauteed half an onion in ghee until tender and brown and added the onion to the pumpkin puree.
Then I added about two heaping tablespoons of prepared yellow curry paste to the pumpkin mix and stirred, tasting, and adding a bit more until I was happy with it.
To assemble the pumpkin parathas:
- Take a cooked chapati and spread a thin layer of the curried pumpkin puree all over one side.
- Fold the chapati in half, brush with ghee, and grill until browned and slightly crispy.
- Remove from grill, cut in half to create two triangles (a pizza cutter or kitchen shears work well for this), and transfer to a serving plate while you move on to the next paratha.
- Serve with sabji, yogurt, sour cream, or any other kind of dipping sauce you want.
I used this recipe for the tomato/onion sabji, and it came out quite differently from Gurpreet’s, but it was still very good.
Note: You can make all manner of parathas, from spinach to potato, even sweet potato. I can't wait to come up with new ideas.
Also, this would make a great party food, something a little unusual, easy to eat by hand, and really, really tasty.