Daal Paranthe

Trying to figure out what to do with leftovers is always a huge pain. There’s only so many times that you can eat the same meal over and over again before you never want to have it again in your life, and yet it never feels good to throw away perfectly good food. I know that this is an issue my family in particular often runs into when we make Indian food, most often with daal. It’s an extremely easy dish to make, after all, so it makes sense to prepare large batches and eat it throughout the week. Every month or so, though, for whatever reason the daal does not get finished, and then we’re left with a sad few bowlfuls kicking around in the back of the fridge. 

When that happens, we make daal paranthe! Paranthe are round, unleavened flatbreads that are eaten with other curry based dishes. Typically they’re made by folding butter into the middle of the dough ball before it is rolled out to create an almost flaky effect. However, to make daal paranthe, the dough is made with leftover daal rather than water. This adds a lovely flavour to the paranthe, which then can be eaten with butter, picked vegetables and sour cream, or simply all by itself. 

Daal paranthe are a fantastic treat in my household. We don’t always have leftover daal to make them with, but when we do, we like to make them for brunch. It’s a family affair, two people will make the dough balls and cook them, the others will get out the condiments and set the table. Making foods like daal paranthe give our family an excuse to come together, and we get a delicious meal out of it too! 

Other than being a great brunch food, daal paranthe are nice and filling and make great on the go snacks! Slap on a little softened butter or sour cream, roll it up and put it in a ziploc bag, and then you’re ready to go.

A top down view of a square parantha with golden browning scattered across the surface.

Daal Paranthe

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Serves 4

1 cup daal
1 ¼ cup durum flour 
Butter as needed

1. Mash daal until it is a mostly smooth consistency. Some chunks are okay, but you don’t want to have all the lentils still individual inside the paranthe.

2. Combine daal and durum flour and knead into a rough ball. The texture will be similar to the consistency of play doh. Add more flour or daal as necessary to get the correct texture.

3. Separate into balls a little bigger than the size of a golf ball. The size is not super important, so don’t stress about making them all even!

4. Roll out a dough ball flat on a lightly floured countertop, but not thin. Add about a half tablespoon of unsalted butter to the centre, then seal it closed by folding into a square with the butter inside. Repeat the process with each ball.

A small square of folded dough on a black countertop. A wooden rolling pin with red handles sits to the left.

5. Roll the butter filled dough flat into a larger, flat square. They should be quite thin when rolled out, aim for about ¼ of a centimetre thick. 

6. Heat a tava or a flat, non-stick pan on medium high heat. Once hot, flip one of the rolled out paranthe onto it.

7. Cook on one side until the colour of the parantha has darkened, then flip. Use tongs or the flat side of a spatula to push the edges down so that they cook evenly. Allow to cook on the bottom side for about a minute.

8. Coat the upward facing side with salted butter and flip. Allow the buttered side to toast for about 30 seconds, then coat the other side with butter and flip once again. You want to have the little raised bubbles be dark brown, almost blackened. Don’t be shy to keep flipping it until the colour is where you want it to be.

A straight on view of a parantha on a pan, there is a dimple in the middle and it is golden brown around the edges.

9. Keep warm under a tea towel as you cook the rest of the paranthe. Feel free to give them another little toast on the pan before serving to heat them up. Serve with butter, sour cream and any Indian pickle, and enjoy!

– Durum flour is the best flour to use for this recipe, given its coarser texture in comparison to all purpose. If you don’t have any, I would use a 1:2 blend of whole wheat to all purpose flour. 
– Indian pickles are delicious and add incredible flavour when served alongside almost any dish. You can find them and most Indian grocery stores, as well as the ethnic aisle in most large grocery stores. 
– When rolling out paranthe, it’s likely that they won’t turn out the exact shape you’re going for. Don’t be discouraged by this! Getting a perfect shape comes with practice, and they taste the same regardless of shape.

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