Stuffed flatbreads are very popular in northern India, rather they are popular mostly in northern India. You will find a huge variety of paratha that are mostly filled with deliciously spiced potatoes, lentils, radish, carrots, paneer, onions, sattu, peas, cauliflower and there are even sweet ones. As the food scene picked up, people have been experimenting and making all kinds, such as parathas stuffed with beetroot, broccoli, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd, etc. For non-vegetarians the most popular ones are the egg paratha and also the keema paratha.
Although my mother never used to make matar / green pea parathas, my mother-in-law makes them often during winters. I guess green peas are a popular ingredient in Bihar (and also UP) where apart from matar aloo, they make Matar Chutney, matar ka halwa and also matar ki dal which is popular as matar ka nimona in UP. Then there is a unique breakfast / snack dish called Chiwra Matar which is again, a very U.P. and Bihar centric dish. There might be more but these are the popular ones that I know of.
Green peas can be quite bland on their own and they need the help of spices to add a punch to their taste. Also they can heavy on the tummy so you need to add spices such as asafoetida, fennel seeds and carom seeds to help aid in digestion. And to amp up the taste, you need to use ginger garlic paste (or ginger paste if you are averse to using garlic) along with garam masala and red chili powder. The red chili powder along with green chillies adds the much required heat while the amchur powder and chaat masala give it a tangy touch. Fresh coriander / cilantro adds to taste and provide the freshness to the filling. The besan helps control the moisture in green peas besides adding just a wee bit nutty taste. Therefore, my advice would be to not skip using any ingredient provided in the list.
2 tbsp Oil
½ tsp Cumin Seeds / Jeera
1/8 tsp Asafoetida / Hing
100 gm / ¾ C finely chopped Red Onions
¾ tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
350 gm / 2¼ C Green Peas (shelled weight)
1 tbsp finely chopped Green Chili
1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
½ – 1 tsp Red Chili Powder (adjust heat to taste)
½ tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Amchur Powder
2 tbsp Chickpea Flour / Besan
2 – 3 tbsp finely chopped, fresh Coriander / Dhaniya patta
¾ tsp – 1 tsp Fennel Seeds / Saunf (lightly roasted)
1/3 tsp tsp Carom Seeds / Ajwain
1 tsp Chaat Masala
2 ½ C Whole Wheat Flour / Atta (plus extra, for rolling)
1 C Water
Coarsely grind the green peas (without using any water). Take oil in a frying pan and once it is medium hot, add the cumin seeds. Allow it to crackle and then add asafoetida followed by onion. Sauté the contents for a minute on high heat.
Add ginger garlic paste, sauté again for forty five seconds or till ginger garlic paste is no longer raw. Reduce heat and add salt, red chili powder, garam masala along with green peas. Sauté for two minutes. Add besan and amchur powder and sauté for four to five minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and allow the contents to cool down. Once the contents are cool, add coriander leaves, green chilies, fennels seeds and carom seeds. Sprinkle the chat masala powder. Mix everything well. Set aside. Once the filling will cool, it will not be sticky or clumpy.
While the filling is cooling, prepare the dough by gradually adding water to the flour, in a mixing bowl. Bring the flour together to form the dough, and knead it to attain medium-soft pliable dough. (You will have to adjust the amount of water since it will depend on the quality of the whole wheat flour) Set the dough aside for fifteen minutes to rest.
To begin preparing the parathas/ flatbread, set the skillet to heat on medium flame. Meanwhile make equal sized dough balls (I could attain fourteen dough balls).
Take one dough ball and using a rolling pin, roll the dough to approximately three to four inches diameter. Fill the dough with one and a half tablespoon of the green pea filling. Bring the edges together and seal the dough (check here how to do this The second picture will help you understand the process) Flatten the dough ball gently, using your hands. Dust it with wheat flour and begin to roll it to six inches diameter, using more flour if required.
Gently place the rolled flatbread over the hot skillet. Flip the flatbread once the top begins to change colour and the bottom has brown speckled marks. Check the bottom side and once it gains a lot of brown specks, flip the paratha.
Apply a teaspoon of oil over the flipped side and flip to fry. Fry and cook, while pressing and rotating the paratha with a cloth made into a ball or using the back of a large spoon. This will help make it crisp and deeper in colour. Flip and oil the other side (it is optional and I never do this) and cook it the same way. Cook all parathas this way. (I fry them on medium high heat)
Yield – 13 to 14 Paratha approximately
Note – Do not let the onions turn brown or even golden brown.
Note –I lightly toast the fennel seeds and also the carom seeds before adding them to the filling. It helps bring out their flavour.
Note – When you will taste the filling, it might seem high on spices but that is how it is meant to be. Once you add the filling, roll and cook the dough, it will taste just fine.
Thank you for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!