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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Paratha {AIP, Paleo}



People who know that I grew up in East Africa always find it weird that I have an affinity for Indian foods, not knowing that Indian culture has been absorbed into many parts of the world. In Kenya it's quite common to eat a chapati (typically Indian) with a more traditional African meat stew, or to enjoy a samosa with your chai (ok I guess both of those are Indian in origin...although oddly enough Kenyan samosas are meat filled, not veggie based like most Indian ones).



In Kenya I got quite adept at making chapatis and would regularly make a few for Saturday morning breakfast in my dorm kitchen...a little flour, salt, oil & water...simple, quick and easy. I loved the simplicity, but would leave the more complicated breads like paratha or naan for the restaurants. My favorite was a potato stuffed paratha at an Indian restaurant in Nairobi.


So, what it paratha? Paratha is a north Indian flatbread which literally means 'layers of cooked dough.' Parathas can either be plain or stuffed, but are always considered more substantial than a chapati (another common Indian flatbread). Common filling in stuffed paratha are spiced potatoes or other vegetables, which makes them almost a meal on their own.
 



Recipes for making paratha are generally time consuming and labor intense, so for the wheat eating crowd out there, pre-made parathas can be found in Indian markets (everywhere in Dubai) and all you have to do it pan fry them and people will be convinced that you made them yourself. To make a traditional stuffed paratha you first make the dough and make the filling. Then you roll the dough flat, roll it up like a cinnamon roll, roll it again, add a layer of filling, fold over, roll again, then cook. What did I say about time consuming??

If you've followed my blog for any length of time now you will have discovered that although I love cooking, I don't enjoy labor intensive recipes. I want my food to taste good and usually I want to eat it now. So, I was pondering paratha not too long ago (don't you sit around and ponder bread?) and thought....why can't the stuffing just be made into the dough and fried as a simple flatbread without all the rolling and shaping and rolling again.

So off to the kitchen I went and this is the recipe that came out. I made them a couple of times and tweaked the ratios. Depending on how much moisture is in your sweet potato, or how humid your kitchen is, you may need 1/2 T - 1 T more cassava flour. If you've ever made any sort of flatbread, you should be able to feel the consistency. Thankfully this dough is very flexible and can be worked and reworked if needed.

One ingredient in this recipe that you might be unfamiliar with is amchoor powder. If you can't get your hands on some, you can leave it out, or add a bit of lime or lemon zest. It's just ground dried green mangos and it gives a sour/ tangy taste that makes you wonder what it is. Or, just leave it out.


Sweet Potato Paratha
Serves: 3
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1/3 cup mashed sweet potato - I just bake a sweet potato and scoop out the flesh
1/2 cup cassava flour + 1 T
1/2 t salt
1/2 t amchoor (dried mango- optional)
1 T chopped parsley
2 T water
1 T coconut oil (liquid)

Method:
- mix sweet potato, salt, amchoor (if using) & parsley
- add in 1/2 cassava flour and using a fork, mix into the sweet potato mixture
- add in the coconut oil and mix to form a sand like consistency
- add 2 T water (1 T at a time), mixing until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball
- the dough should be wet - sprinkle in the remaining 1 T cassava flour and begin to mix it together with your hands - at this point you might need to add 1/2-1 T more if the dough still feels too wet
- divide into 3 piece
- place a piece of wax paper on the counter, dust a piece of the dough with cassava flour, cover with another piece of wax paper and roll out to about 5 inches
- heat a small amount of coconut oil in a skillet
- fry parathas for about 2 minutes on each side until they begin to brown around the edges





These parathas are flaky and bread like and are good to eat plain, or dip in stews, or you can stuff them and make tacos... the taco in the picture has baby spinach, meat balls and blueberry BBQ sauce.



*** This recipe shared on Phoenix Helix AIP Roundtable and on Allergy Free Wednesday