Mixed Vegetable Paratha

October 14, 2011.

A few weeks ago, I made <a href=" http://mommydiaries.posterous.com/broccoli-paratha“>broccoli paratha for our Friday night dinner. Now, R would have been on a semi-fast on any given Friday, and did not appreciate the fact that I was ruining his paratha for him by adding broccoli into it. He thought it was gross betrayal. His thoughts probably ran worse, but I don't know, and I pretended not to care.

Fast forward to today. I have some leftover peas and carrots and corn and other vegetables stir-fried with various spices from yesterday. One of those days again, that M isn't interested in eating. Neither am I, really. So, I turned to my tried and tested paratha. I swear that recipes must have been invented by harried mothers whose kids were refusing to eat the usual fare. So, here I am, deciding to post about anything strange that I make (you may already know about it, but it is strange to me, it is an invention, perhaps not a new one, but an invention nonetheless).

Out comes the food processor again, chop goes the stir fry, knead goes the dough. Sizzle goes the oil. Gobble go the "mixed vegetable parathas".

And hey, I am getting better at rolling out circles too! There must be something to this proverb.

"Practice makes Perfect."

"Necessity is the mother of invention".

Broccoli Paratha

It is Friday (September 16, 2011). I went to lunch with friends and their beautiful daughters. We called ourselves the "Terrors of Montreal", what with our 3 giant strollers. One of my friends even suggested that area high schools should invite us to their schools to show girls how difficult babies can be. To convince them that abstinence is the best policy.

Lost a shawl. Forgot to pick up a tea bag for the tea that came with my lunch. Got told, "It's Friday!", in a tone that meant that a person is allowed to be scatterbrained on a Friday afternoon. Except, this could have happened to me on any day, these days.

Anyway, I started writing this post yesterday, but I think my phone rang. My mother was calling and we skyped with her, to show her M's new fancy. Size 7 shoes. Her feet are a dainty size 4.

Eating a broccoli paratha may have made her think herself quite big.

Here's how that came about. R doesn't eat rice on Fridays at all. Neither do I normally, but we can talk about it later. Usually for M's dinner, I give her rice, although she may get different grains during the day. But on this day, I was in no mood to cook 2 separate kinds of meals. I wanted to eat something "good" (defined as, I-am-feeling-lazy-and-clueless-but want-something-hot-and-tasty). I opened the frig and ransacked the crisper, while I tried to keep the door open. People fear about preventing their children from opening doors. She's at a stage when she shuts any open door she encounters. Anyway, I found a head of broccoli from our Sunday trip to the market. I wondered now. Can I make a paratha out of it? After all, cauliflower is used for gobi parathas! So, I googled the word and came up with many hits. That's all I needed to know, before setting about making some. R was not too happy that I was spending so much time to make something so stupid (read containing broccoli).

Ingredients

Stuffing:

One bunch of broccoli, florets broken out and grated/shreddded; I used a hand cranked food processor

Cumin powder to taste, 1 tsp

Coriander powder to taste, 1 tsp

Salt a pinch or 2

Thyme powder to taste, 0.5 tsp

Asafoetida a sprinkle

Red chilli powder, 1 tsp

Ginger 1 inch piece, grated

Shell:

Whole wheat flour for dough 3 cups

Whole wheat flour for dusting 0.5 cup

Water

Salt

Oil

Oil for shallow frying

Method:

Add salt to the grated broccoli and set aside.

Add water into the wheat flour slowly, folding the flour into the dough until the dough doesn't stick to the hands.

Let it sit covered for at least a half hour.

Tip from my paratha-land friend: put the dough into the frig. if you're in a hurry. Leave it there until it is needed. Knead it again and use.

Place cast iron pan on the stove and begin heating it.

Meanwhile:

Squeeze the water out of the broccoli (this water can be reserved to use in a soup or a stew or another recipe that calls for water).

Mix the remaining ingredients of the stuffing in with the broccoli.

Remove dough from frig., re-knead for a minute or so, apply a few drops of oil in your hand and make several balls of dough.

Flatten a ball between the palms, make a cup out of it in your cupped palm, and place a bit of stuffing in it.

Close it by pulling the edges closed, making sure not to tear the dough (I have torn it, and it makes the rolling out trickier, but it has worked for me, so don't panic).

Flatten the ball again and coat it with flour on all sides, roll it out into a circle (or, if you aren't a shape fascist – another name for someone who knows what they're doing and can actually get circles that are of even thickness; given by those of us who don't always get it right; ok, by me). It is more important to get it to a uniform thickness than for it to be a circle, for the taste. Aesthetics? That's another story. I roll it out as thin as I can.

Then, shallow fry it on the now hot pan, with oil (or ghee, which will give you a more authentic taste, and of course, not a little too much calories. As if the ghee weren't enough, serving it with butter and pickle? Yummmm).

Serve hot with plain yogurt or a raita (finely chopped vegetables, usually cucumber, onion, tomato, or a combination thereof, along with herbs and spices, in a ladle-whipped yogurt base).

This seems like a lot but isn't really too much, as I found out when I started making something that'll include a vegetable into her "tapiti".

Lord of Dals (a recipe for mango or tomatillo or green apple dal)

In the Land of Mango, in the Fires of the Red Chilli, the Tart Dal secretly rendered many palates awash.

In my eagerness for an imitation of the original, I accepted the sphere of tartness, the tomatillo, in the Land of Stars and Stripes. Without question. As it drew me inexorably into the shadow where The One Dal seemed forever out of my reach. Forever did I sense it, forever did I search for it. I had become one of those. A Dalfaith.

The search continues in Maple Earth. Where even the tomatillo is nowhere to be seen.

Today…

All hope lost, I am now making a variety of different dals for my little and my big ones. And introducing a variety of fruits to them. Yes, them. He only eats fruits that are easy to eat. Cut fruits being one of them. I had reached for a green spherical object in a moment of distraction, hoping to mix it with oats. There are few foods that M refuses to even try (quantity she'll eat is an entirely different issue though), and one of those is oat porridge. There goes that hope. I could have given it to her raw, but somehow, it got lost in the frigid depths of my freezer. For two and a half thousand minutes (no one's counting), it lay there, lost to all memory. 

Until this afternoon, when I went a-fishing for something interesting to cook dal with, and my fingers brushed against it. Something smooth. Something round. Something cold to the touch. The green apple. I set about making a green apple dal out of it. A very poor imitation of the original, granted, but it tasted wonderful to me. My little ankle-biter is on a food strike and won't eat anything but cookies, sigh! She's on a milk and cookies diet. Have to try offering a different fruit to her and see how that goes. Not too many hopes though, as she refused to touch one of her favorite fruits, the strawberry.

I don't measure and thus, the amounts are an approximation. Feel free to play around.

Ingredients

Raw mango (or tomatillos or green apple) cubed   1 cup

Toor dal, cleaned (Pigeon peas)                                       1/3 cup

Turmeric

Seasoning

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Urad dal (Split black gram lentil) 2 tsp

Red chillies 2

Asafoetida a small pinch/a sprinkle

Curry leaves 1 sprig (I didn't have any, so I didn't use it, but dried ones will do in a pinch)

Jaggery to taste

Salt to taste

Method:

Pressure cook toor dal with 2-3 times water. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet (I use cast iron but you can use whatever you use at home).

Once hot, add the ingredients for seasoning and toss until the mustard seeds pop and crackle.

Curry leaves go in at this stage, if using. Toss until crisp, which won't take long at all.

Add the cubed fruit in, cook until just soft.

Add dal, stir.

Add salt and jaggery to taste.

Voila!

PS: I had a post referring to this very green apple dal. This recipe has been slumbering in my drafts folder almost complete. I'll strive to bring the rest of the draft bytes into daylight soon.

On the lines of learning…

Each day, as M learns about the world, we learn about parenting. She is constantly making discoveries with her voice, with objects, with her feet.

And each day, she teaches us how best to parent her. What she responds to best. What she would like for a new toy.

I remember asking my mother what we would do with the baby once we brought her home and set her on her bed. She told me that the baby will guide my actions when she arrives and show me what she needs. What it takes to be a parent.

There is a certain amount of leeway. She is forgiving to many lapses in routine, unyielding to any in other aspects.

She tells us what she's ready for, what we can show her, what she can do.

As I teach her about the world, she's teaching me how to parent her. To search my mind for inconsistencies between word and action. To try my utmost to be the ideal that I want my daughter to be.