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November 02, 2008

“If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried”.

When I got up today morning I got this insane idea to make Aloo Parathas for lunch. Yes, thats what I think about as soon as I wake up. Food. Actually, thats why I wake up these days. To eat. Otherwise, I will happily lay in bed all day long feeding Antu who does nt seem to have heard the famous Tamil proverb "Alavodu undu, valamodu vaazhanum" and is ALWAYS attached to my boob! Anyway, so I tell my idea aloud. Hd who is usually kicked up when I announce such things, snickers and asks, "But why?" I shush him up, finish the breakfast routine and attack the dough with vengeance. With the dough ready, I boil the potatoes and make the stuffing. I try to remember when I made Aloo paratha the last time. Circa 2001 I guess. And it was a disaster. But this time I am prepared. I ve seen the video a dozen times, read up the recipe hundred times and between then and now, I ve practiced making chapathis. About 5 times in these 8 years. So Im good, right? Like hell!

So I rolled out the dough, kept the ball of stuffing inside, closed it up on all sides and started rolling. Gently. The stuffing ran helter skelter, left the dough, bunched up at the edges, stuck to the rolling pin and on the counter. I took a long breath and rolled the second ball. But by now, the warning has been passed to the other balls about the hot frying pan situation and I swear that the stuffing stuck to the rolling pin and cried for help! And not to mention, the supposed to be round parathas looked like India map. With the stuffing bordering like Pakistan and Bangladesh. I was so upset. I screamed and shouted at Hd and startled the father daughter duo who were doing some project(play doh to mock me perhaps?) in Ashus room. "What happened Amma", asked Ashu very concerned. "These stup... I mean these silly parathas are nt coming out properly Ashu. My parathas suck!" "Its OK amma. Its OK. Don't be sad. Can I have some chapathi maavu to eat please?", she asked. Gave her some happily and asked Hd to look into the situation. "Why don't you mix up the stuffing and the dough and roll out? Its all the same, right?", asked Hd. "Why dont you eat some coffee powder and then drink the milk? Its all the same right?", I quipped. "Do whatever you want. It was nt my idea to make parathas", Hd barked and went away. Ashu swiped a little more chapathi dough and went away too. I shed some tears to make up for the less salt and finished rolling India maps with borders all the while muttering, "I'm smart. I should be able to make parathas. Why the hell cant I make some stupid parathas? I'm such a good cook and I cant even make these damn parathas. I can never start a food blog, I cant even make chapathis let alone parathas. I suck. I must be really stupid. May be theres a secret ingredient and no ones telling me. Yes, that must be it", I decided and finished frying the parathas. To leave no evidence, we ate all up. They were tasty yes but I would never serve it to anyone. They looked ghastly! I could ve taken some pictures and showed you guys. But I was afraid you all will judge me on what kind of mom I am. Who cant make parathas! And thats the reason I did nt tell you guys about the time I dropped the iPod on Antus head while feeding her. Oops!


Anonymous said...

Lol, Boo. I was quite paratha challenged too. Was pretty smug when i first approached the stuffed variety (because my chapathis /phulkas were endorsed by many a north indian maamis)and failed miserably initially.
But nallavanga vallavanga naalum therinjavanga sonnadhu ennanna : aloo,dough all need to be really tight and rolling pin must be used minimally. Instead,use light,greased fingers tips to bring it to shape . I tried these tips and was 50% successful - could only make semicircular aloo parathas but was 100 % successful in making Mia believe that aloo parathas are half moon shaped :D .

Unknown said...

haha nice ... reminds me of the times i try and make chappathi ... mine look more like australia ... :)

Anju said...

If the dough is too soft, then they don't shape well. After you make the dough put in the fridge for an hour and then make the chapatti/paratha.

My husband makes two very thin chapattis and puts the stuffing in one then covers it with the other and then pinch the sides. Hope this helps!

Honestly taste is all that matters!!

Mystic Margarita said...

Oh Boo! You're my soul sistah. Can't make rotis or parathas either! :) Loved your can-do and never-give-up attitude!

Asha said...

Here is my shoulder, Boo.. My chapathis are a hit, but paranthas... forget it.. i can't make paranthas to save my life either. :(

Anonymous said...

Actually hd's idea about mixing the stuffing and dough is not actually bad. Try it next time! Me planning to use Eva to make my parathas next week. See, you should listen to me when I ask you to move to Fremont.

Neera said...

Ha ha ha ..that was hilarious!! I could do a very similar post on making dosas :)Ah the diversity of India :)

Anonymous said...


Just make 2 chappathis and sandwich the aloo in the middle..thats what I do.that the easiest to make parathas..I always make it that way


Unknown said...

boo-vukke indha gadhi na...


loved your line on compensating for salt in the dough.

have tried in the past.. by cheating..

I make two thick rotis (both of them are not necessarily round), make sure there are no big pieces in the stuffing.. (the stuffing almost flows) and then seal them up and use a pizza cutter and a sambadam moodi to trim the edges..

however, while it looks good, the dough is still dough (too thick) and the parathas come out half cooked..

you got the taste right and the looks bad.. that is a better option.

dont worry.. some day you are going to make Jacques Pepin very proud..


Anonymous said...

*Same pinch* I make excellent polis but parathas remain a challenge. Maybe next time I'll use my fingertips, as Its Our Space has suggested :)

Does Ashu also love the maavu? My Kutty consumes it like a famished masakkai kaari :D

Anonymous said...

My mom's very bad with the aloo parathas too. tastes good but looks like amoeba :D

u dropped ipod on the little ones head!!!!!!

sansmerci said...

haha.. i cnt make round chapatis either.. not tht m a very good cook.. but m sure i ll never b able to do it ...!

yea i envy ppl who do!

Priyanka said...

LOL Hilarious post !! You reminded me of my SIL (Hubby's sis, they are tamilians as well). The last time she was here, I was rolling dough for puris and she asked me if she could help. I handed her the rolling pin and she rolled it in the funniest shape and totally uneven :) After she had rolled one, I took the pin back from her politely telling her "Its ok, I'll do it this time", and she said "Whats the big deal if it doesn't puff up, finally it ends up in our tummy right?" :)

Manchus said...

Just an idea. Why don't you roll two rotis? And on the edge of one roti just touchup water and then fill the aaloo in the middle. Then top it with the second roti and close the sides. That works too. I do that with Paneer paratha and it is better than the normal one.

Priyanka said...

BTW, try keeping the dough in the fridge for at least 30 mins before you start rolling, makes it less sticky. Take care!

Manchus said...

BTW the last line stole the thunder!!

And Antu being attached to the boob...i guess all babies do that!!! They are like Kangaroo.

SD said...

Such a cute post. What does Alavodu undu, valamodu vaazhanum mean by the way?

SUR NOTES said...

this method of making parathas have been invented by punjabi aunties to make us all feel inept.

my punjabi grandmom taught us the easy way- roll out two balls of dough into hlaf their actual size( so you have two thick small rotis)

put the stuffing in the centre of one of the rotis.leave enough space on the sides. cover it with the other roti.

press down the sides of this round sandwich.

now roll the whole thing into a thick paratha.

heat the tawa- put the paratha on the tawa- without oil. roast the paratha a bit on either side.

and then spoon a bit of oil around the paratha- cook- flip over- spoon some more oil

nice parathas ready. add a dollop of butter on top- see it melt and dip in. :)

use- grated cauliflower or finely chopped oinions- or grated mooli- or even very dry cooked chana daal.

this might be a good time to tell you that i am visiting your city- can cook the parathas for you:)

and just to make you feel better- i can NEVER get the right consistenc for the dosa batter- NEVER. they always stick- burn- do odd things- and remain pretty inedible. the mallu husband has asked me to stick to punj cooking.

dipali said...

Such all-consumed evidence must be created again!
Tip 1: The potatoes should be boiled first and at least as cool as room temperature. Use a fork or grate them for a non-lumpy filling.
Tip 2: The dough should be a little softer than roti dough, so that it stretches well when rolled out and the filling doesn't break out.
Tip 3: Smear a little oil on the rolled out dough before putting the filling in.

Try and mail me- hope it works!
Don't give up- maybe I can come and make some for you! (Just send my return ticket)

Jayashree said...

I have no gyan to offer on how to make better parathas but Iam LOL at "Why don't u eat coffee pwd and then drink some milk?" :-))

Anonymous said... couldnt have been all that sure u r a great cook. anyway, gives me a good chance to brag a bit ;-) i make great parathas and R loves them :-D Have to still try the time :-(

L said...

Hey Boo,

I completely agree with "its our space"..A few months back, I was so desperate to eat some parathas and with almost zilch experience in making chapathis (all my cooking experience is
only the past few months in Germany), I tried aloo parathas..I wouldnt comment much about the taste, but the shape wasnt too bad, as I used my fingers to make it round.
As I was reading your post, I thought
I would even sugest you to mix the aloo
along with the dough, but your answer
to HD shut me up! ;-)
Anyhow, in the end, it is only the taste that counts!! So, I am sure your family had a great meal that day!

By the way, I was waiting for the punch
line of your post and I wasnt disappointed at all when I came to the end :-)


Anonymous said...

Ha ha... I really think it's funny. But it was not funny when it happened at my own household until a few months back (the screaming, snapping at hubby and all, complete with tears of frustration). And then I quit making (trying?) chapatis.
This last month, I decided to try once again after receiving an ego attack from my neighbour who said "ohh chapatis are sooooooooooooooo easy. not a matter at all". No more screaming though. I have settled with some kind of pakkuvam that we all admit as perfect.

I dropped the handphone on my baby's head too, while feeding the sleeping baby!!!!

Premalatha said...

why people torture themselves with such tasks as making parathas? just eat rice and live happily ever after.

Pipette's Mimi said...

LOL LOL! you know what makes it more funny.. I am making aloo parathas for brunch tomorrow..May be i will take pictures and post!!!:DD

Anonymous said...


That was hilarious! here's another sugegstion: make the parathas triangular. Roll out the chappati, place a thin layer of filling over the lower hemisphere of the circular chappathi (a little off-center), fold over to make a semi-circle, and fold again to make a triangle (approx) - roll out the triangle. It is very important that the filling be smooth - no lumps of potato.

Good luck!


Me said...

sundar said what i wanted to...two chapathis+stuffing...comes out well..konjam think but its ok

..i am no good at parathas...well let me accept it..even chappathis...whenever me and my wife have arguments on who cooks better...she uses chappathi and parathas as her brahmastram...

and i think you haven't found the right flour variety...not every brand give you the same results...

Me said...

adhu think illa thick

rayshma said...

erm...are u telling me i should be able to make parathas before making babies??? i guess not!

psst: i make triangular parathas.. will that do??

Sachita said...

I think etha ellam thana varathu nu nenaikren.
I was present every single time my north indian friend tried making parathas like for a year, yet when I make them, they turn out to be hard. On my defence, my chapathis are also hard.

Besides, thanks for coming out in the open, makes less mortals like me feel better:)

B o o said...

Thanks guys for all the wonderful tips. Does it mean I ve to try this damn thing again? sigh! :(

Inba - Ashu stuffs her face with the dough but does nt touch the cooked chapathi with a ten feet pole! :(

Praveen - Trust you to come to the point! Yes, I did and no, please dont sue me! ;)

Goofy mumma - Some silly proverb which means "eat less and live healthy" which is Ashus life motto. But the rest of the family dont believe in that! :D

Sur - When? Mail me please!

Dipali - the friendly neighborhood sardar had closed shop for a month. Hence the experiment. you come here and open a shop, you can send return tickets even to the entire extended family! ;)

Anonymous said...

idhenna vadakathikaara maari parathavellam try pannindu! edho upma pongalnnu pannapdaadho?
apdi paratha thinga aasaiyaa irundhaa frozennu aisle lendhu vaanga vendi dhaan - verumna thinna porum.

Artnavy said...

anju is absolutely right
and hd's suggestion is also not a bad one actually

u must beteh funniest amma on earth
and there i judged you:-))

Laavanya said...

Boo.. you are so cute .. I LOVE reading your blog.

Don't worry about the parathas... we all go through India maps and oozing filling before rolling out a decent looking one... so you aren't alone... :)

Preethi said...

hey read my culinary chronicles sometime.. you would grin about having made paratas that made it to the tummy and not the bin ;)

Mama - Mia said...


I had such a laugh BOO! am sure you make good dilis and dosas lest!

i cant even make them!! i say when you get it so cheap in every darshini in blr why bother making it at home!!

that apart i sue my ma-in-laws technique. roll two different chapatis. spread the filling on one and stick the second roti on with l'il bit of oil!

i call it layered paratha too! :p

and finally you have to break em and eat em!! :p



Mama - Mia said...

ps: my mom cooks some really mean parathas without cheating and making two rotis!! but somehow i never had the inclination to bother because Hubby is used to "maa ke haanthke" parathe!! :p



Terri the terrific said...

Boo, I've been cooking close to 15 years. I can't make anything that involves a rolling pin. That's why I have a cook now.

Anonymous said...

Har har har..its quite funny..I am what you might call culinarily challenged? I swear to god veggies shudder and run away to escape when I approach the kitchen..
funnily enough I make kick ass parathas :)

And umm if it makes u feel better, a week ago I was having icecream by the tub carrying Adi in the Baby Bjorn and managed to drip almost all of it on his small bald head!

VRK said...

Hi there. I've never commented but have lurked here a few times. Came over from some of the other indian mom blogs. Just never feel like i can comment w/o seeming intrusive since you don't "know" me, even in cyberspace.

This post brought back memories of my first time making parathas for my north indian inlaws. My mother in law is an awesome cook and to learn from her was the best.

The first time is always bad, right? But I've learned tricks that "they" never tell you! After many embarrassing tryouts, I can now boast that I'm almost as good as my mother in law in the paratha department.

I have a teeny food blog I started for my family and you've just inspired me to post a paratha story. THe problem with parathas is that a photo is so difficult to take as the paratha is stolen right off the tawa by greedy kids!

Keep on trying! If an American raised gal like me can make parathas, I know you can!

Anu Srikanth said...


What works the quickest for me is to boil and amsh the vegetables and mix the dough with the mashed vegetables adding only little water.Rolling them is then as similar as rolling the chapathis.


Usha said...

Don't worry girl, we all have one such dish that is beyond our culinary skills. Don't waste your tears over them - just buy it from outside.
And you really didn't drop that ipod on her head did you?

mommyof2 said...

here is an easy way.. roll two plain rotis. spread filling on one and put other roti on top and seal with water.. It won't taste like the real ones but close to that:-)

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anubharat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anubharat said...

Hey Boo,

Started reading your blog couple of months ago and I should tell you they are totally hilarious and out right simple. I am not a great cook either, but this video is kind of really good, for trying out aloo parathas. Let me know if this helped.


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