Almost every family has a few fussy eaters...both children and adults. And I have found that many of them do not recognize the flavor of a particular vegetable when it is served under disguise: as a soup or as a stuffing in parathas. Even though a vegetable may not taste appealing on its own, once it gets hidden in a paratha, it magically becomes delicious. Also, when you think of parathas you automatically think of aaloo (potato), gobi (cauliflower), and paneer (cottage cheese) parathas that are commonly available in most Indian restaurants. You need to think outside the box to come up with paratha fillings of your own, in order to make your families eat their veggies. So the vegetable getting a makeover today is the bottle gourd or opo squash, as it is known in the US of A.
For Chappathi Dough
Aata (whole wheat flour) – 1 ½ cups (approx.)
Water – ¾ cup (approx.)
Salt – ½ tsp
Grated squash – 1 heaped cup
Salt – 1 tsp+to taste
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Turmeic powder – a pinch
Ajwain (carom seeds) – a pinch (optional)
Cut the squash and remove the core (seeds and soft flesh).
Grate the squash, sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on it and keep aside for about 10 minutes. This helps extract all the excess water from the vegetable.
Heat a pan on medium heat. Squeeze out all the water from the squash and add to the pan. Do not throw the water away.
Stir in the chili powder, turmeric, ajwain and the required amount of salt and allow it to cook for about 4-5 minutes or until dry. Remove from the heat and keep ready.
Knead together the flour and salt while adding water little by little. Here’s a tip: use the water extracted from the squash so that you don’t waste its nutrients. Make sure the dough is neither too sticky nor too dry.
Before you start rolling out the parathas, remember to heat your griddle on medium heat and keep it ready.
Roll the dough into balls of the same size.
Hold the disc like a cup, between your thumb and index finger, fill about a tablespoon of stuffing, bring the edges together and seal. Dust with more flour and roll out into parathas of desired size.
Cook the parathas on the hot griddle until they are cooked through and get a few black spots on the surface.
Remove from the griddle and serve hot with a simple onion raita and pickle.
For a richer taste, add a dash of ghee or butter on the hot paratha and enjoy. Bon Appétit.
Note: Please remember to squeeze out the water from the squash before making the dough…else you will have to drink it up…like I did. No regrets though, it was yummy.