Stuffed flatbread is an integral part of Pakistani cuisine. While meat mince and potato stuffed naans rule the street food scene, stuffed parathas are the star of homemade brunches and one of the most requested for picnic meals and packed lunches.
Parathas are unleavened, shallow fried flatbreads, therefore preferred by home cooks as no time required to wait for the dough to rise and makes bread that stays soft and edible for a longer time. In rural areas, parathas are consumed simply dipped in sweetened tea, lassi (yogurt drink) or with the leftovers of last night’s dinner. The wise old housewives found a way to combine the left overs or whatever ingredients they had handy with flatbreads by making stuffed parathas – a complete, handy meal. So you can find a wide variety of sweet and savoury stuffing recipes for parathas, especially in rural Punjab and Sind, including vegetables, lentils, sugar and jaggery.
One of the most popular, and my husband’s favourite, is daikon stuffed flatbread or mooli ka paratha. Daikon/white radish is commonly available, inexpensive vegetable in Pakistan and most parts of Asia. It’s sold here by street vendors, seasoned with salt, red chilli peppers and lemon juice, as a common man’s snack. It makes great addition to curries, delicious Dip
and pickles , even the greens can be used in salads and stir fries.
This humble vegetable is ignored and even disliked by many people for it’s tangy taste and pungent smell but it’s numerous health benefits make it a superfood that aids digestion, helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and is an excellent antioxidant. Pickling it with lemon juice or vinegar and sautéing it with herbs and spices like cumin and carom almost eliminate the pungency and improve the flavour for those who don’t like to eat it raw.
You can also use multi grain flour or a mix of maize(makai) flour with wheat flour to make these parathas.
2 cups whole wheat flour or multigrain flour
3/4 cup water
1 big daikon, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
1 small onion
1 green chilli pepper
A small bunch fresh coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Oil or ghee for shallow frying
This Is What You Do:
In a deep dish, add 2 cups of flour. Make a well in the centre.
Add water gradually in the centre and keep bringing in flour from the sides till all flour is sufficiently moist.
Knead for 4-5 minutes till the dough comes together and becomes firm and flexible enough to roll out. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for ten minutes while you prepare the daikon filling.
Grate mooli/daikon by hand using a grater. Chop onions, green chilli pepper and coriander finely. OR add all these to a food processor and whiz a few seconds to make chunky mixture (not a smooth puree).
Combine salt, red chilli flakes, cumin, carom and lemon juice into daikon and onion mix. Sauté/dry fry in a frying pan for a couple of minutes to make the liquids evaporate and the raw taste of the daikon go away. Remove from heat, set aside.
Divide the dough into four equal portions. Roll between your palms to make smooth dough balls.
Flour a work top, roll out the dough balls into thin (not too thin) flat rounds of 6-7 inches.
Spread the daikon mixture generously onto one flatbread. Brush the edges all around with water. Place the another flatbread over it. Press the edges to seal the filling inside.
Lightly grease a skillet/tawa/frying pan, heat it over medium heat. Carefully place the stuffed flatbread over it. Cook till crispy with golden brown spots on one side.
Flip to cook the other side, add a little more oil. Remove from heat and keep covered with a cotton tea towel and warm till served.
Repeat with the remaining two flatbreads and daikon mixture.
If there is any leftover daikon mixture, you can mix it with yogurt to make delicious side to serve with flatbreads.
Makes 2 mooli parathas/daikon stuffed flatbread.