Parathas are popular Indian flat bread made with wheat flour. Its easy and quick to make as it is not leavened with yeast like other breads and is fried on griddle(tawa). Pesto is versatile Italian sauce made with fresh and aromatic Basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts (or walnuts), salt and olive oil. It is used to make pesto pasta or flavor meats in many grilled meat dishes. I had a few basil leaves left over from making marinara sauce and I thought to add it to my palak paratha (Indian flatbread with spinach) today to give a nice dimension. My toddler girl prefers flavored paratha to regular ones and is fussy about spinach. So I usually sneaked in some spinach into her food like this, telling her that its green paratha with yellow potatoes. That’s how she eats her food with her eyes first.
I didn’t blend pesto separately, but used the ingredients directly in the dough except the nuts. I blanched spinach and basil and added it to whole wheat flour along with some minced garlic, red chili flakes, Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil to make a soft dough These parathas has healthy spinach and is flavorful due to basil and garlic, flaky and crispy due to use of olive oil in the dough. Substitute mint or coriander leaves to basil if not available and do try to make these parathas and let me know how did you like it.
Palak Pesto Paratha
Servings: 8-9 Parathas
Whole Wheat Flour: 3 cups
Spinach: 2 cups
Basil Leaves: 1/4 cup, torn roughly
Parmesan Cheese: 1/4 cup
Garlic Pods: 4-5, minced finely
Red Chili Flakes: 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp, crush it lightly with rolling pin or with pestle
Salt: 1 tsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tbsp + more to fry parathas
- In a pot, bring water to boil and add spinach and basil and cook for one min and transfer the blanched leaves to separate bowl (You do not want to cook it completely, just soften it)
- In a large bowl, take whole wheat flour, salt, minced garlic, crushed cumin seeds, red chili flakes, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and add the spinach and basil
- Mix all the ingredients and knead it on clean surface with water as required to form a soft and non-sticky dough (You can utilize water used for blanching greens)
- Divide into 8-9 balls and with rolling pin, roll each ball to 8 inch circle by sufficiently flouring the rolling surface
- Heat griddle pan (tawa) and when hot, add the rolled dough and cook both sides for 1 min until light colored bubbles appear on the surface and again oil them each side with 1/2 tsp oil and cook for 1 more min until dark colored marks appear
- Serve with yogurt or any curry or lentils(dal)
- If you do not have basil at hand, use mint or coriander leaves or fenugreek leaves or even curry leaves work great
- You can even omit cheese, it will taste equally good
- Using oil when frying gives crispy surface. For soft surface parathas do not use oil
- Sorry couldn’t take the pics of rolling and frying the parathas. Here is a quick link to understand the same.