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​Organic recipes - How to make Parathas

​Organic recipes - How to make Parathas

​Organic recipes - How to make Parathas​

As I started to move to an organic diet, in order to eliminate toxins such as pesticides and herbicides from my food supply, my first challenge was finding something I could actually eat. I'm used to being close to shops, so getting food for lunch was never an issue - there were always sandwiches, pastries or rolls to be had just around the corner.  At The Sanctuary, where shops are scarce and shops selling organic food even more so, finding food that I could confidently eat became a big problem. It was a case of going back to basics.

Products made of wheat, such as bread, pies, rolls and biscuits have always formed a major part of my diet, but when I looked at how to get organic versions of these there wasn't much available. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to obtain organic flour, but with a little practice at home baking, turning it into something I could actually eat was going to be a learning process. I know that wheat often gets a bad press, with so many people suffering from gluten intolerance and dietary gurus advocating going wheat-free. I accept that for those who are seriously allergic to gluten, giving it up may be the only option for now, but from my studies of glyphosate I concluded that in most cases the wheat itself may not be the culprit - the problems arise from the toxic chemicals that have been used. Of these, glyphosate may be the most prevalent, because of the way it is sprayed onto the crop immediately before harvesting. 

When we eat bread and other wheat products containing glyphosate it affects us by being directly absorbed, but it also damages the balance of beneficial bacteria in our digestive system (the gut microbiome). One of the jobs these bacteria do for us is to digest gluten, and when they are killed off we experience allergies, intolerances and other digestive issues.

So I decided to continue eating wheat, but to stop buying bread and other wheat products from shops and supermarkets. That meant I would have to make my own.  At this stage I didn't feel confident in making my own bread, with all that kneading, rising, knocking back and so on. It didn't help that I didn't even possess an oven! I started looking for something akin to bread that I could cook in a frying pan, and settled on parathas, which will be familiar if you've eaten in an Indian restaurant.

Parathas are easy to make, can be cooked in a frying pan in a few minutes, and are very versatile. You can add herbs and spices to them, or they can be stuffed with a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, cauliflower, peas and lentils. I've even tried mixing in raisins to produce a slightly sweet version that could be eaten as dessert. Something I routinely add to my parathas is turmeric, which is an excellent spice for detoxing, pain relief and generally improving health. There is evidence that it's more effective when cooked with food than taken in capsule form, so adding it to my parathas ensures that I eat it regularly.

​Organic recipes - How to make Parathas​

Parathas are similar to chapattis, the difference being that oil or ghee is folded in when rolling out, and also used when cooking, to give the parathas a moister texture.

Preparation time: 15 minutes 

Cooking time: 3 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 240g organic wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 240ml water
  • additional oil or ghee for rolling and cooking

Method

  • Mix together the flour, salt, turmeric and oil in a bowl.
  • Add the water, stirring to make a firm dough
  • Knead well on a wooden board until fully mixed and pliable. Dust the board with flour to prevent it sticking.
  • Divide dough into 8 parts and roll into balls. These can be kept refrigerated until you are ready to make the parathas,
  • For each ball, flour the rolling board and roll out into a square until the dough is quite thin.
  • Spread a thin layer of oil or softened ghee on the dough.
  • Fold the top third down, then fold the bottom third up to cover it.
  • Spread more oil or ghee on the dough and fold again left and right so that you get a square package.
  • Roll out again until the dough is the size of your frying pan, dusting the board with flour to prevent sticking.
  • Heat a small amount of oil or ghee in the frying pan until starting to smoke, then add the paratha to the pan.
  • When it starts to bubble up, flip it over and cook the other side.
  • Keep flipping over until both sides are cooked.
  • Serve as soon as possible after cooking,

Serving suggestions

You can eat parathas with any dish where you might use bread or toast, such as with soups, stews, poached eggs.

They can be spread with hummus, or eaten with dips of various sorts.

They can be served with curry, pickles, raita, salad.

They can be folded over to make a wrap containing salad, cheese or whatever you like.

​Organic recipes - How to make Parathas​

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