What is interesting is the variants that abound, from chives to spring onions to leeks to half a dozen variants of onions that I know of, including plain white ones which I use to make this soup or red onions for the famous French Onion Soup or Hyderabadi Dahi Vadas which stars another favourite root veg - garlic. Each variant has a special use - from spring onions which we use for Jhunka to roast or baked leeks which taste fabulous with a cheesy sauce and a bread-crumb topping to sambar onions used for (you guessed it) sambar which taste fabulous with idlis. There are also some yummy onion chutneys around, notably the one served by Sagar Ratna, the South Indian fast-food chain in Delhi.
So when faced with the JFI theme for February, I was in a quandary as to what I could make that would be special enough, and then I remembered our winter special of Rajasthani Parathas. These are delicious parathas with onions as one of the key ingredients. You can make the stuffing and store it ahead of time and just pull it out whenever the mood strikes. We usually have these parathas with plain old dahi or Tzatziki, and that's more than enough to complement them.
1-2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
3-4 onions, chopped really fine
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
2-3 tsp chilli powder ( to taste)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp oil
Pinch of salt
Water for kneading
Oil for cooking the parathas
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Add the cumin and coriander. When toasted, add in the onions and slowly fry them on mid-high heat until they are crisp. Keep aside. in the same wok, put in the besan and roast until it gives off that nice, warm smell. Mix the besan with the onions, chilli powder and salt and store it in a dry jar until you are making the parathas.
Knead the Paratha dough - it should be smooth and not stick to the fingers. Roll out a roughly 6-7 inch diameter paratha and put a heaped tbsp or two of the filling. Fold the paratha over the filling and roll it out again. The parathas should be about 2 mm thick.
Cook on a tawa/ cast iron griddle with a bit of oil until the parathas are a warm beige colour with brown spots on both sides. They will be crisp, like papad. Enjoy hot with dahi and retire for a well-earned nap!
(Photos will follow)