Namak Mirch ka Paratha

6:30 AM

Today is the 19th day of India under lockdown. Something that started with a lot of apprehensions and fears slowly is becoming a new normal. People working from home as much as possible. Kids learning through online classes and each of us is trying our best to make sense of this changing time in our own unique way.

This peculiar time is teaching us a lot. It's forcing us to look at our choices, our lifestyles, and most importantly our priorities. Family and health have taken the center stage and our relationship with food and nutrition is changing in more ways than we can imagine. People like me, who found solace in cooking are finding it hard to navigate through the idea of budgeting and rationing. Others who never ventured in the kitchen are finding it harder to learn and carry on.

we all are trying and we all are hoping that this time will change us for better.

Though I am trying to come up with new dishes with the available pantry, sometimes it's becoming quite challenging. Luckily we are getting a steady supply of fresh veggies but the housework is taking a toll. somedays we all crave a comforting meal. So last weekend I made these easy Namak Mirch ka paratha.

Namak Mirch literally means salt and chili pepper. The paratha has an extra sprinkling of these pantry staples with some fat to take it to another level. It's crisp and the way I make it, it's layered. Takes a little time but perfect to jazz up a gloomy weekend brunch. I have made it with whole wheat flour (atta). You can make it with all-purpose flour too.

Namak Mirch ka Paratha
(Makes 6 parathas)

Whole wheat flour: 2 cups
White oil/ ghee: 2 tsp
Ajwain or wilde celery: 1/3 tsp
Water: as required
Salt 1/2 tsp
Chili powder: 1 tsp (USe any chili powder of your choice, KAshmiri or normal hot pepper powder as per your taste)
White oil/ghee: for Rolling and frying the parathas. 

Make the Dough:
Take the flour in a big vessel. Rub the ajwain in your palm and add to it. Use little water at a time to make a soft but not sticky dough. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes. 
Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes and then again rest (cover and keep aside) for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.
Using flour roll out to 6"-7" round. Pour a few drops of oil and using a brush or your fingers smear it on top. sprinkle some flour on top as shown in the picture and then sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper powder. 
Using the fanfold technique (as in picture) fold the entire circle. Pull from the two sides to elongate it as much as possible. Do not put pressure or it will tear.
Roll again as shown in the picture.
Using flour roll out to a 7" disk.

Heat an iron tawa (non-stick will also do) on medium heat. Place one paratha on it and cook for 2 minutes and then flip it. Cook for another minute. Then pour or brush a few drops of oil on each surface. Roast on medium to low flame till they are crisp. 
Once done, using your hand try to fluff the surface to make the layers separate.

Serve hot with your favourite curry.

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