Plain Paratha (Tawa Paratha) is an unleavened Indian flatbread made using whole wheat flour. It’s prepared in a lot of households almost on a daily basis (vegetarian).
About Plain Paratha (Tawa Paratha)
Paratha is a flaky and soft Indian unleavened flatbread made using whole wheat flour.
It could be plain like Tawa Paratha, Kerala Parotta, Masala Paratha, Ajwain Paratha, or Lachha Paratha or stuffed with various fillings like Aloo Paratha, Gobi Paratha, Keema Paratha, Vegetable Paratha, Paneer Paratha, Mooli Paratha, etc. You can also knead the veggies or greens into the flour (like Methi Paratha) and make parathas out of that.
This bread can be had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is quite filling and satisfying.
Tawa Paratha (Plain Paratha) is the most popular paratha variation, which is made in almost every household for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
It is a flaky, soft, layered unleavened flatbread made using whole wheat flour. Unleavened means that it can be made without having to wait for the dough to rise.
Just like our roti, it also needs just three ingredients, but the cooking technique is different. Paratha is shallow fried with ghee or oil whereas roti recipe doesn’t use oil or ghee.
Plain Tawa Paratha are mostly made triangular in shape, but you can make round paratha or square shape paratha as well. These parathas should be soft from the inside and the outer layer should be a little flaky.
Tawa Paratha are perfect to pack for your travels or lunch box, as they tend to last long. Just pair them with a pickle and a dry sabji and you have a heart-filling meal ready.
This plain paratha recipe makes 8 pieces but you can easily double or triple it as per your requirements.
To make plain paratha, you just need three everyday ingredients – Whole Wheat Flour (Atta), Salt, and Ghee (or Oil).
Whole wheat flour (atta) is available in most Indian grocery stores or you can even order it online. I use Aashirwad brand atta to make these. You can also use multigrain flour.
I also like to add carom seeds (ajwain) sometimes to the flour, as they are good for the stomach and help in digestion.
You will need ghee or oil for layering and frying. Tawa Paratha fried in ghee taste the best, but use oil if making a vegan version.
How To Make Plain Paratha (Tawa Paratha)
Make The Dough
Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 teaspoon ghee, and 1 teaspoon salt to a large mixing bowl (or a parat).
Mix well using your fingers.
Note – In India, we use a utensil called parat to knead the dough. It’s a large flat plate with high edges. It makes the kneading process quite easy.
Note – You can use a stand mixed fitted with a dough attachment or a food processor to knead the dough.
Note – When making plain paratha for everyday use, I skip adding ghee and salt to the flour and make these with just whole wheat flour. Having said that, adding a little ghee and salt makes them flakier.
Add warm water to the bowl little by little and knead to make a soft dough.
I used approximately 1 /2 cup of water for 2 cups of flour. The amount of water will depend on the quality of the flour. So do not add all the water at once. Go slow, you don’t want sticky dough.
Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until soft and smooth. If it is not smooth, the paratha will not come out well.
Cover the dough using a kitchen towel and keep it aside on the counter for 30 minutes.
Roll The Paratha
Divide the dough into 8-9 lime size balls. If you are a beginner, measure and divide so that your paratha are of the same size.
Take one dough ball and roll it to make a smooth round. Slightly flatten it in between your palms.
Keep it on the rolling surface and dust lightly with dry whole wheat flour.
Roll the dough ball using a rolling pin to make a 4-inch circle.
Brush oil or ghee on the circle and fold the sides to make a semi-circle.
Brush oil or ghee again and then fold to make a triangle.
Note – Brush the oil or ghee generously to get the layers separate.
Dust and roll to make a 5-inch triangle.
Note – Tawa paratha is rolled slightly thicker than the roti, approx ⅛th of an inch. Try to keep the edges slightly thinner than the center.
Fry The Tawa Paratha
Heat a griddle over medium heat.
Transfer the rolled paratha to the hot griddle.
Cook undisturbed until golden brown spots appear on the bottom sides.
Flip and cook undisturbed until brown spots appear on the other side as well.
Flip again and brush it with oil or ghee and cook until it is nicely browned. Keep pressing it with the back of a ladle especially on the sides, so that the plain paratha cooks nicely from the inside as well
Pro Tips By Neha
Kneading – Knead the tawa paratha dough using warm water. It will make sure the paratha will turn out soft.
If you want crispier flaky parathas, then knead the dough slightly tight.
Make sure to rest the dough for 20-30 minutes after kneading. Knead once again after it had well rested and then divide it into balls. This will ensure the gluten in the flour has been worked well and the resulting bread will be soft.
You can flavor the flour with ajwain (carom seeds), cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, or masalas like red chili powder, chaat masala powder, and garam masala powder before kneading.
Adding 2 tablespoon of yogurt to the flour to make softer paratha.
I personally like them slightly crisp and so make my dough a little tighter.
Rolling – Rolling the tawa paratha properly is very important. Dust the dough lightly and roll it using light hands.
The edges of the plain paratha should be thinner than the center and the thickness should be approx ⅛inch. Don’t roll it very thin like roti.
Instead of a triangle shape, you can make these square or round as well.
Frying – Cook them on medium heat for the best result. Cooking these on high heat will brown them from the outside quickly and they will not be properly cooked from the inside.
Apply oil only once it is cooked from both sides. After applying the oil or ghee, keep pressing it with the back of a flat spatula all over. Keep flipping 2-3 times until it is nicely golden brown from both sides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both these bread are made with whole wheat flour, but the style of cooking and shape is different.
While plain paratha has layers and is triangular in shape, chapati is perfectly round in shape without any layers.
Chapati is cooked on tawa until it fluffs up without ghee or oil and ghee is later applied on the top, whereas on the other hand, plain paratha is shallow fried on the tawa using ghee or oil.
Chapati is also thin and papery, in comparison.
If you are looking for a vegan option, then replace ghee with vegetable or olive oil.
Plain Paratha is a versatile Indian bread that tastes great with any sabzi, curry, or even dal.
I like to serve it with a hot of chai for breakfast with a pickle and some bhujia sev.
You can even make a roll or wrap with tawa paratha and fill it with kabab, veggies, sauces, cheese, and spices. You can also use your leftover sabzis to make these delicious rolls.
Plain paratha can be stored for a day at room temperature over the kitchen counter, covered in aluminum foil in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days in an air-tight container.
Heat it on the tawa, and add a little oil or ghee while reheating to make it flaky again, as they tend to get soft with time.
You can freeze it for later use too. To freeze them, give them the shape and cook them from both sides for about 15 seconds without adding any ghee or oil. The motive is to cook them partially. Once done, let them cool down completely.
Next, store them in ziplock freezer bags with parchment paper or butter paper in between each one. They will stay good for about 1 to 2 months.
Once you want to cook them again, remove them from the butter paper, place it on the heated griddle and cook it fully with ghee or oil.
You can also store the plain paratha dough for about 3 days in an air-tight container in the fridge. All you have to do is roll and make hot paratha out of it.
When you are planning to make the paratha, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before rolling.
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Plain Paratha Recipe (Tawa Paratha)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
- 2 teaspoons ghee (or oil, plus more for frying the paratha)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- warm water (as required)
Make The Dough
- Add flour, ghee, and salt to a large mixing bowl (or a parat).
- Mix well using your fingers.
- Add warm water to the bowl little by little and knead to make a soft dough.
- I used approximately ½ cup of water for 2 cups of flour. The amount of water used to knead the dough will depend on the quality of the flour. So do not add all the water at once. Go slow, you don’t want sticky dough.
- Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until soft and smooth. If it is not smooth, the paratha will not come out well.
- Cover the dough using a kitchen towel and keep it aside on the counter for 30 minutes.
Roll The Paratha
- Divide the dough into 8-9 lime size balls. If you are a beginner, measure and divide so that your paratha are of the same size.
- Take one dough ball and roll it to make a smooth round. Slightly flatten it in between your palms.
- Keep it on the rolling surface and dust lightly with dry whole wheat flour.
- Roll the dough using a rolling pin to make a 4-inch circle.
- Brush oil or ghee on the circle and fold the sides to make a semi-circle.
- Brush oil or ghee again and then fold to make a triangle.
- Dust and roll to make a 5-inch triangle.
- Paratha is rolled slightly thicker than the roti, approx ⅛th of an inch. Try to keep the edges slightly thinner than the center.
Fry The Tawa Paratha
- Heat a griddle over medium heat.
- Transfer the rolled paratha to the hot griddle.
- Cook undisturbed until brown spots appear on the bottom sides.
- Flip and cook undisturbed until brown spots appear on the other side as well.
- Flip again and brush it with oil or ghee and cook until it is nicely browned. Keep pressing it with the back of a ladle especially on the sides, so that the paratha cooks nicely from the inside as well.
- Serve hot.