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I am a Punjabi and like every self respecting Punjabi I love my paranthas like I love no other item of food. Take the bread away from a Punjabi; take away the fancy Thai and Chinese food, but take away his paranthas and you will have him floundering like a fish out of water.
That brings us to the stuffing ….. ohh the stuffing …. grated cauliflower or radish with ginger and fresh green chilies, potatoes, onion, methi, paneer, boiled peas, even left over dal; all this and more is put into paranthas and the end result is absolutely scrumptious! The type of Paranthas one can eat is mind boggling. Stuffed paranthas, soft and fluffy, served piping hot with dollops of homemade butter melting on them like white rivulets, layered paranthas with sprinklings of mint or ajwain, crisp and crunchy as autumn leaves, to be eaten with homemade tomato chutney or curd; or just plain paranthas fried in ghee till crisp, to be dipped in honey …. Ah Bliss!
Most of us living outside Punjab have moved on to other forms of breakfast like cereal, bread or even idlis or poha, but in Punjab, Breakfast equals paranthas and if you try telling people otherwise they will look at you sympathetically and proclaim you quite mad. My aunt, a rotund lady who firmly believes in the goodness of Paranthas was advised by her doctor to give them up if she wanted to lose weight. Needless to say she was shocked as if the doctor had sounded her death knell. She gave the poor man a dressing down he will never forget and marched out.
Paranthas have always been blamed as being high in calories and I suppose they are – if they are fried in Ghee or are eaten dripping Butter. But that is when they taste the best and what to do, we Punjabis love our Butter! Nowadays, we usually have the fat free version - paranthas stuffed with vegetables but not fried, they make a healthy wholesome meal. Homemade paranthas are the best, followed by the paranthas that one gets at the numerous Dhabas that line the Delhi – Chandigarh highway. Fancy shops in cities are really not able to capture the taste as well as these small dhabas. Paranthe waali gali in Chandani Chowk is much touted as serving the best paranthas but frankly I have come back disappointed from there!
I hate cooking as a rule but paranthas is the only food item I can cook and I dare say, cook with some panache.
I can do without a lot of things in my life but I don’t think I can ever do without paranthas. Paranthas are my comfort food, my brunch on lazy fog filled winter mornings, my wrap and carry with you travel food. If you want to please me, feed me paranthas and I will be yours for life!
Now since this post has me drooling all over the keyboard, please excuse me while I go make myself some paranthas.
Want Some ? :)