“Sustainable Garden Menu”
To see the entire seven course meal menu, please click on the menu bar on the main blog page and click on the title of the menu- “Sustainable Garden Menu”.
The combination of a cool raita with a hot parontha on a summer day is just a perfect memory for me. Whether it was at home in Chicago at the Sikh Temples in Asia or in relative’s homes across the world, it has always been one of my most cherished meals. I thought combining the gooseberries with the purslane would be a play on the tomatoes and cucumbers that are often mixed into raitas. And the balance was really nice. Although, I didn’t have yogurt the morning I made this menu and could only find cottage cheese at the local pharmacy (??) it still turned out very nice. This was after breaking into the friend’s yard down the street to pick gooseberries off a very angry, thorny bush. The paronthas require a bit of effort (I won’t lie) and I don’t make them as liberally as your Grandmother does because I don’t have the patience or the forearm strength. You really have to knead the dough to develop the gluten and then rolling them out, standing over a hot stove, first flipping them over on the pan and then letting them puff over an open flame is a process. And you know I hate my food getting cold. So when I am the one making these, then I have to sacrifice my hot parontha while I make everyone else’s. Enough of my complaining? Yes! But please do enjoy this recipe- It will make many repeat appearances on our tables.
Serves 4-6 in a seven course meal
Ingredients for the Raita
1/2 Cup Gooseberries
1/2 Cup Purslane Leaves Roughly Chopped
1/4 Cup Freshly Chopped Cilantro
1/4 Cup Freshly Chopped Mint Leaves
2 1/2 Cups Yogurt (I used cottage cheese)
Combine it all together and then add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors.
Ingredients for the Paronthas
1/2 Cup Fresh Methi (Fenugreek Leaves) Chopped
1/4 Cup Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
1/4 Cup Bathu (Pigweed or Lamb’s Quarters) Chopped
2 Tbsp Parontha Masala From The Indian Grocery Store
1/4 Cup Besan
2 Cups Wheat Flour (I like to use Golden Temple Atta which is a flour brand available at Indian Grocery Stores)
A Drizzle Of Oil
A Wide Bowl Filled With About 1/2 Cup Of Wheat Flour
Ghee For The Finished Paronthas
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then slowly add water 1/4 cup at a time and knead the dough with your hands until it comes together into a ball. And then keep kneading for a good five to ten minutes. The more you work the dough the softer the parontha will be. Then roll into a nice round ball and slightly cover with a thin layer of oil (I use olive oil). Let it sit for ten minutes while you get the pan ready. I use a cast iron pan but you can also find cast iron tawa’s which are flat and easier to cook these on. If you plan on making many many chapatis and paronthas then it is a good investment. I’m too lazy as mentioned earlier. Heat the pan until a streak of dough turns reddish brown and then turn the heat down to low medium. Now take a pinch of the dough, about and inch and a half in diameter and roll it out into a nice ball between your palms. Then press it into the wheat flour in the wide bowl so that it is nicely coated with flour. Then on a clean surface, take a rolling pin and roll the dough out until it is a 1/8 inch thick round that is about five inches in diameter. This takes practice and if you have no clue what I’m talking about then find a youtube video on it or go to a nearby Sikh Temple, Guruduara, and volunteer in the community kitchen and you will soon get it. Place the dough round on the hot pan and with a spatula (unless you earned your calloused fingers like many cooking Indians) flip after two minutes and press down slightly to release some of the air bubbles. After another minutes flip it onto a low open flame on the stove and with tongs flip it over until it puffs up like a balloon. Then remove from the heat (don’t burn it!) and let it rest on some paper towels. Place some ghee on a spoon and spread it lightly over the hot parontha. This recipe should make about 12-15 paronthas.