I grew up in the central parts of India, known for extreme temperatures in both summer and winter. In India, frozen vegetables are not very common, apart from say green peas. We mostly ate and still eat in-season veggies that are locally grown. So Palak Paratha was mostly a seasonal dish. The ‘exotic vegetables’ like colored peppers and broccoli are still pretty much a luxury for most.
Spinach and Methi or fenugreek were winter vegetables for us. Unlike Pune, where greens are abundantly available through the year, we were hard pressed to even see a twig of cilantro or coriander in the summer. Average temperatures of 110F+ were certainly not conducive to leafy greens.
Wintertime presented us with a bounty of vegetables, and this was the time when many mouth watering delicacies were made using the fresh in season veggies. So Matar Kachori competed with Gajar Ka Halva, and Methi parathas and Palak Parathas were a regular occurrence.
This Palak Paratha or Spinach paratha is pretty light, unlike the stuffed Aloo Paratha which can be quite substantial. The typical Indian meal is Rotis or whole wheat tortillas/ wraps/ bread with a dry vegetable dish, daal and rice. But this can get pretty monotonous in spite of the variety. Palak Parathas are great as a change. Served with a simple pickle and some yogurt, they form a substantial meal. They are also perfect for the lunch box, or to carry along with you on long train journeys or picnics.
I am adding garlic to this Palak Paratha recipe, but it can easily be garlic free. Since there is no onion-garlic, they keep well for a couple of days without refrigeration. You can extend the shelf life by refrigerating or freezing them.
A sweet lemon or lime pickle is the perfect condiment for these Palak Paratha. Most pickle brands offer this kind of pickle. My favorite is Deep Foods Sweet Lime Pickle. Get a hold of it if you can. Tomato ketchup also makes a good condiment.
The recipe itself is vegan. You can easily pair these with a simple subzi or vegetable dish like stir fried potatoes, or just gobble them as you go.
These parathas are made with some oil, although they are not fried. The oil helps to cook them, and makes them crispy. A few drops of oil are sufficient for this purpose.
Spinach Wraps – Palak Paratha Recipe
- 1 ½ cups wheat flour
- ½ cup Gram Flour or Besan
- ½ tsp garlic paste
- ½ cup spinach puree
- 1 tsp coriander seeds ground
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp turmeric ground (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 tsp oil for kneading
- More oil for pan frying
- Blanch fresh or frozen spinach and puree in a food processor using minimum amount of water. Strain through a sieve.
- Mix the flours, spices and salt in a bowl.
- Add the spinach puree and mix it in. Try to form a dough.
- Add water only if needed spoon by spoon to form a stiff, smooth dough. You can do this by hand or in a food processor.
- Allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into equal ping pong ball sized portions. 2 cups of flour will make 12 medium sizes wraps.
- Roll out the paratha and cook it in a hot pan. Flip once when bubbles form on the surface or the wrap puffs up. Cook on the other side. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and flip again on both sides. Transfer to plate.
- Serve with Indian pickles of choice and plain yogurt, or any Indian curry.
- Tip – These wraps can also be used as a base for making wraps, tacos etc.
The real skill here is in making rotis/ wraps or tortillas. Another simpler way you could use is make Palak Poori. Just make smaller circles and deep fry them – a higher calorie option but totally yum!!