Paneer Paratha is one of the most popular stuffed flat bread you will find in North of India. It commonly prepared in every other household for weekend breakfast or lunch. It is fairly easy to prepare, and I shared a VIDEO that will help you understand the process better.
Paneer Paratha is not common in Bengali household and so it took me a while to learn how to make this popular Indian breakfast.
With a few initial failures and several years of making it on repeat, this Bengali girl feels very proud to say that she makes very delicious Paneer Paratha. If you get the stuffing right, the dough right, and if you roll it evenly, the stuffed paratha will puff beautifully, and you will scream with joy!
What is Paneer ?
Paneer is a variety of fresh acid cheese that is not aged and doesn’t melt on cooking. You can compare it to ricotta cheese except with Paneer, the whey is completely strained out and the cheese is set, so it can be cut into slices.
Here is a detailed recipe of How to make Homemade Paneer
Freshly prepared paneer always tastes soft, and the texture is crumbly. Whereas the store bought paneer can get a little chewy and hard with time.
What you need to prepare Paneer Paratha
Here is what you need to prepare the Paratha Dough
- Whole wheat flour
- Carom seeds for flavor
- Warm water to make the dough.
For the Paneer filling, I use
- Soft crumbly paneer
- Finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Cumin powder
- Coriander powder
- Fennel powder
- Chili powder
- Dry pomegranate seeds (anar dana)
- Dried fenugreek leaves
For extra heat, you can add finely chopped fresh green chili
Another ingredients I like to add occasionally is fried onion. It adds a caramelized sweetness to the filling.
Steps to prepare
Start by preparing the dough
Preparing the paratha dough doesn't call for a lot of ingredients, but it can feel tough to make if it's your first time.
1- We make the Paratha dough with whole wheat flour mixed with salt. I like to also add carom seeds for flavor.
2- I always use very hot water to the dough, as it helps to make the dough very pliable and soft. Knead the dough for 7 to 10 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer for the same. Don't add a lot of water right away, add little by little as based on the brand of flour you are using, it might need more or less. Add a little oil at the end and make a dough ball.
3- Once the dough is ready, cover the dough with a wet cloth and give it at least 15 minutes for the gluten in the dough to relax. While the dough rests, it will absorb all the moisture and turn the dough very soft and easy to roll. Remember to cover the dough ball with a wet cloth or wet kitchen towel.
Paratha filling preparation
4- You can either crumble or grate the paneer. If you make fresh chena, then you can just crumble it with hand. If you are using store bought paneer, keep it in room temperature for a while for the texture to softened before you grate.
5- Add salt, spices, fresh cilantro leaves. I like to add fried onions in the filling as it adds a mild sweetness to it.
6 - Mix everything to incorporate all the spices and herbs.
The paneer filling can be mixed with cheese to make cheese paneer paratha. You can also use it to make quesadilla for lunch box, and it is amazing in a sandwich with some green chutney spread on the bread.
7- Divide the dough into small portions and stuff it with the filling. Make sure to not over fill or else it will tear apart when you roll the dough.
8 - Roll the filled dough balls evenly into a thin circle. Dust a little flour to roll evenly.
9 - When making the paratha, always cook in medium heat, so it cooks evenly. Drizzle a little oil or ghee as you cook the paratha to golden brown on both the side.
Few important steps to remember
You should knead the dough to soft and pliable texture. This will ensure that the dough will roll smoothly without tearing apart. Make sure to use very hot water to make the dough, knead for 7 to 10 minutes and let the dough rest for 15 minutes covered with a wet kitchen towel.
The paneer filling shouldn't have any moisture. If you are adding onion, make sure to add right before making the paratha and make sure to chop the onions very finely.
Do not overstuff the dough when filling the dough balls with the paneer masala. Make sure to seal the dough tightly and then gently press it down to flatten it. SEE THE VIDEO to understand this step better.
Dust the rolling board and the pin with flour and as you start rolling the stuffed dough, make sure to be gently, so you can spread the dough evenly. Don't worry about the perfect round shape. An evenly rolled dough that doesn't tear will puff beautifully.
Having said that, stuffed paratha doesn't need to be puffed for it to taste delicious. If the filling is properly spiced and seasoned, and if the dough is soft, Paneer Paratha will taste amazing, puffed or not.
Making Paneer Paratha may sound daunting if you are not used to making stuffed paratha, but it is one of the easiest stuffed paratha after Aloo Paratha. So give it a go and, slowly but surely, you will make it more often than you can even realize. It is healthy, quick to make and nutritional.
For the Dough
- 1 and ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons oil
- Very hot water to knead the dough
For the Paratha Filling
- 6 oz good quality paneer or homemade fresh paneer
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 and ½ tablespoon dry pomegranate seeds (anar dana)
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- For extra heat (add 1 or 2 chopped green chili)
- ⅓ cup fried onion (optional)
- extra oil or ghee to fry the parathas
- Start by making the dough. In a mixing bowl, add the flour carom seeds, salt and give a mix. Then add very hot water little by little and start mixing.
- Once the dough almost comes together, pour the oil and start kneading again. Knead for 7 to 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a round ball and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- To prepare the filling, grate the paneer to a. mixing bowl. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and add to it.
- Next add all the spices mentioned along with salt.
- If you are adding fried onion, then make sure to crush it with clean hands, so it mixes well with the paneer.
- Mix everything and if you like extra heat then add finely chopped green chilies too.
- After resting the dough for 15 minutes, it should be softer. Divide the dough into 6 portions.
- As you fill the dough balls, keep the remaining covered, so it doesn't get dried. Take one small dough ball and, using your both hands, start rolling it to spread it out a little. Then place it in one hand, add 2 tablespoons of the filling in it. Now bring the edges together to seal it tight and form a flat disc. Watch the VIDEO to understand this step better.
- Dust a little flour on your rolling board and rolling pin. Press down the filled dough gently on the rolling board and dust a little flour. Now start rolling gently from center to outwards. Rotate at 90 degree and roll again.
- Try to slowly roll from one end to the other, so it rolls evenly all around. Roll the paratha thin and try to take time in this step if you are new to rolling stuff parathas. If you apply too much pressure, the dough will tear and the filling will come out.
- Once done, heat a heavy bottom skillet or cast iron skillet at medium heat.
- Once the skillet heats up, place the rolled paratha. In a couple of minutes, you will see that the paratha is showing tiny bubbles on top. Drizzle a little oil all around and flip. If the paratha is rolled evenly without any tear, it will puff beautifully.
- Drizzle a little oil on the other side too and flip. It should take roughly 4 minutes to cook the paratha, 2 minutes on each side. Press it down as it cooks in the skillet, this will help to create the char marks on the paratha.
- As you roll and cook the rest of the parathas, cover the ones you prepared with a clean, dry towel or food cover.
- Once done, rub little butter on the paratha and serve right away paired with pickle, yogurt, fresh butter and some salad may be.