Plain Paratha (Tawa Paratha) is an unleavened pan-fried Indian flatbread made using whole wheat flour. It’s prepared in a lot of households almost daily (vegetarian).
Here are a few more Indian bread that can be served for your everyday meals – Roti, Khamiri Roti, Multigrain Roti, Punjabi Missi Roti, and Bajre Ki Roti.
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.
This bread can be had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is quite filling and satisfying.
Tawa Paratha (Plain Paratha) is the most popular variation in almost every Indian household for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
It is a flaky, soft, layered unleavened flatbread made using whole wheat flour. Unleavened means it can be made without waiting for the dough to rise.
Like our roti, it also needs just three ingredients, but the cooking technique differs. Paratha is shallow fried with ghee or oil, whereas the roti recipe doesn’t use oil or ghee.
Plain Parathas can be served with egg bhurji, paneer bhurji, plain yogurt, or masala tea for breakfast and with curries, chutneys, pickles, or dal for lunch and dinner.
Plain Tawa Paratha is mostly triangular, but you can make round or square shape paratha. These parathas should be soft from the inside, and the outer layer should be a little flaky.
Tawa Paratha are perfect for packing 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 per your requirements.
To make plain paratha, you 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.
You will need ghee or oil for layering and frying. Tawa Paratha fried in ghee tastes the best but use oil if making a vegan version.
I also like to add carom seeds (ajwain) sometimes to the flour, as they are good for the stomach and help digestion.
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 ½ 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 a 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 your paratha are 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 skillet over medium heat.
Transfer the rolled paratha to the hot skillet.
Cook undisturbed until golden brown spots appear on the bottom sides.
Flip and cook undisturbed until brown spots also appear on the other side.
Flip again, brush it with oil or ghee, and cook until nicely browned. Keep pressing it with the back of a spoon, 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 rested well 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.
Add 2 tablespoon of yogurt to the flour to make softer paratha.
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 ⅛ inch. Don’t roll it very thin like roti.
Instead of a triangle shape, you can make these square or round.
Frying – Cook them on medium heat for the best result. Cooking these on high heat will quickly brown them from the outside, 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, press it with the back of a flat spatula. Flip 2-3 times until it is nicely golden brown from both sides.
Wipe the skillet with paper tissue after making 3-4 parathas to prevent the burnt flour from sticking to the next paratha.
Frequently Asked Questions
These breads are made with whole wheat flour, but the cooking style and shape are different.
While plain paratha has layers and is triangular, chapati is perfectly round 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.
Replace ghee with vegetable or olive oil if you want a vegan option.
Plain Paratha is a versatile Indian bread that tastes great with any sabzi, curry, or dal.
It can also be served with pickle, green chutney, yogurt, or any raita of your choice. Try my green chili pickle or Rajasthani mango pickle to serve with these.
I like to serve it with a hot cup 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 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 them. 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 skillet, 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 planning to make the paratha, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before rolling.
More Paratha Recipes
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Plain Paratha Recipe (Tawa Paratha, Pan Fried Indian Flatbread)
- 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 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 skillet over medium heat.
- Transfer the rolled paratha to the hot skillet.
- 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.
Very delicious, I prepare weekly