Parathas – Indian unleavened flatbreads

Pronounced pa-ra-thas, these delicious, healthy, flaky, unleavened Indian flatbreads, are made with whole wheat flour. These are best enjoyed warm with curries, lentils or vegetable dishes. They are also a good alternative for tortillas and wraps.

The word paratha is the combination of the words ‘Parat’ meaning layers and ‘Atta’ meaning dough. It translates to layers of dough that are cooked.

When making parathas, the dough in layered onto itself before it’s rolled into a triangle on a lightly floured surface. The rolled dough is then cooked in a hot tava (griddle) while brushing ghee or alternatively, olive oil, toasting until both sides have golden brown spots and crispy. The longer you cook, the crispier they get. Follow these tips to make perfectly soft parathas each time.

These parathas are great for curries, rolled up with jam or jam and cheese, or chutneys. In our home, they are a welcome alternative to bread for breakfast.

Servings: 8 parathas

Time: 40 minutes including resting time

Equipment: large mixing bowl, rolling pin (and surface to roll it on), tongs/flipping spatula, tava or griddle


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta…available in Indian stores)
  • 1 to 1.25 cup of water (as needed)
  • 5 tablespoons ghee or oil (to add to the dough as well as during roasting)
  • 3/4 cup dry flour for dusting during rolling
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Add 2 cups of dough, 2 teaspoons of the ghee/oil and salt to the mixing bowl
  2. Slowly add water in batches, while kneading the dough in either a dough mixer or by hand to make a firm dough. I usually use a 2:1 ratio or flour to water
  3. If the dough is too difficult to knead then add drops of water at a time, until it is soft and pliable
  4. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for atleast 20 minutes
  5. Now divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll each part into a ball. Keep the balls covered with the damp cloth as you roll each one out
  6. Lightly flour the rolling area and place a ball of dough on it. Roll the dough into a circular shape with the help of the rolling pin
  7. Smear a little ghee on the paratha evenly with the back of a teaspoon. Then fold into half. Now smear the semi-circle with a little ghee again, then fold into half, forming a triangle. Lightly sprinkle flour on both sides
  8. Sprinkle flour on the rolling surface and lightly roll out the folded paratha. Don’t make it too thin. While rolling this, heat the griddle on a medium flame. I usually roll 3-4 parathas while the griddle heats up, keeping the rolled parathas aside, ready to cook
  9. When the griddle is hot, place a paratha on it. Soon it will start to puff. Manage the heat, too hot and it will burn, too low a flame and the paratha will be too hard
  10. When the paratha puffs, flip it over. On the slightly cooked side, smear ghee with a teaspoon, spreading it evenly. Gently press the paratha with a spatula enabling it to cook evenly. You will see brown spots as it cooks Flip the paratha and add ghee to the other side. You will see it puff and the layers separate. You will continue to see brown spots. Flip as needed, cooking while more brown spots form
  11. Remove from heat and stack in a closed container so parathas remain soft and warm
  12. Repeat the process to cook the rest of the flatbreads
  13. Eat warm with curries, lentils or sauteed vegetables. Roll it with jam or chutneys. If stored, warm on the pan later. If you warm in a microwave, cover with a damp paper towel to maintain softness

Steps in pictures

Knead the dough and let it rest while covered with a damp cloth. Then divide into 8 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball.
Take one of the eight dough balls and roll into a circle
Add flour to the rolling surface so the paratha doesn’t stick to the surface.
Smear the semi circle with ghee and fold again to form the triangle. Dust lightly with flour on both sides
Roll the triangle out gently ….make sure it’s not too thin
Smear with ghee and fold into half
Cook on medium flame, smearing with ghee and flipping until the layers separate and brown spots form on both sides

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