Pune was the place where the 'chapathi bai' originated. She would arrive at each home sometime in the morning and swiftly measure out the wheat sufficient for the number of people in the house. Within an hour she would have made about 20 delicate chapathies, brushed with a bit of ghee, neatly folded into a triangle and placed in the brass dabba. At lunch time, nestled as they were in a piece of cloth, they would still be warm and soft.
The bai would generally made chapathies the whole day, going from house to house and producing them at a quick pace, to suit each family's taste. The bais made a good living from this, far more than if they had worked in one home all day. Nobody could do without the chapathi bai. Without her there would be no daily bread and what kind of a day would that be? Misery incorporated.
My grandmother's chapathi bai was such a hard worker, she educated her children in a good school and they, showing the same work ethic as their mother, rose to become the founders of what is now one of the largest industries in Pune! True story.
Modern times are upon us, at least in some ways. There are few people who have the luxury of a regular visit from any sort of household help, let alone the chapathi bai. So meals have become simplified as well. Six or seven preparations to a meal are more the exception than the rule. Lunch can often be as basic as some parathas with dahi and pickle.
This Mooli and Coriander paratha was delicious with garlic pickle (made in mustard oil) and yogurt.
Makes 8 parathas.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp haldi (turmeric)
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala 1 tsp anar dana (dried pomegranate seeds)
- 1/2 cup grated mooli (horse radish)
- 1/2 cup chopped green coriander
- 1 green chilli minced.
- 4 tsps melted ghee (clarified butter)or vegetable oil
- 175 ml -200 ml water (1 cup
Mix all the dry ingredients together.Then add the grated radish, the coriander, the green chilli and 1 teaspoon of the ghee. Mix well.Add the water bit by bit till the flour forms a small ball of dough.The exact amount will depend on how refined the flour is. I don not seive the wheatflour as I like to keep the bran even though it makes the finished product crisp rather than soft.
Knead the dough till smooth.
Rub a 1/8 tsp of ghee or oil on the surface and cover with plastic and keep aside till you are ready to make the parathas.
Roll out on a floured surface into a 8 inch circle. Smear a bit of ghee over the surface and fold into a semi circle. Smear a bit more ghee on half of the semi circle. Fold into a quarter. Roll out to form a 7 inch triangle.
Cook on a heated tava or a non stick frying pan. With a teaspoon drip a bit of ghee around the paratha. Turn the paratha clockwise on the surface of the tava .Cook for a few minutes and turn over. Again add a bit of ghee around the edges. Cook for a few more minutes till both sides are covered with tiny brown spots.