Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parsi fare - Khara papeta and Rotli

My first posting was at Coimbatore; initially I stayed in the YWCA and later moved with a Parsi family who were accomodating working girls. Their bungalow house had many outhouses which were rented out to us. By the time I took rooms with them, Mrs.B had passed away. So only uncle B and his younger son were at home.
There was a family who cooked for them and food for the rest of us were cooked somewhere else and brought to the house. Later, Uncle B's daughter, HD came down from Bombay with her children as her husband went to work in the Gulf. She was a very efficient cook and trained the maids to do loads of Parsi cooking.
Though we were their wards, they never treated us such, on many occasions we were treated with goodies cooked in their kitchens. I have watched HD cook, instruct and train the maids. She used to roll out these very soft rotlis. She would make not just about a dozen, but sometimes thirty or more, with as much ease. When I married she gave me one notebook with many recipes reorded by her own hand. I know not what happened to it today, twenty odd years on.

However, when Lakshmi's RCI this October edition was announced to be hosted by Meera @ Enjoy Indian Food, celebrating Parsi Cuisine, I decided to send a few in, but only managed these today and if time permits, the nankhathais that I baked.
The two recipes have been adapted from two sources upon searching the internet and a recall memory of Huti's recipes. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Khara Papeta:

This is a very popular potato dish made in every Parsi home.
250 grams potatoes peeled and cubed
1 medium onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1'' piece ginger
2 green chilis
1 garlic pod (optional)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds for tempering
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish.
Grind ginger, garlic and chilis to a paste adding as little water as possible.
Heat oil in anon-stick sauce pan. Temper the cumin seeds.
Add the chopped onions and saute until they are very translucent. Add tomatoes and salt.
Then add the ginger-chili- garlic paste and saute to remove raw flavours.
Add cubed potatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft and all water evaporates. The spices would have been well absorbed by the potatoes in the process.
Spicy Khara papeta is ready to serve after a garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Ghau ni rotli is whole wheat flour rotis that are soft and will remain soft for hours. High in fibre, they can be had with any side dish. You can make them ahead and store in airtight containers. Remove from the containers while ready to serve, wrap them in thick kitchen towels and microwave on high for few seconds and serve the soft rotlis hot.

Ingredients:(makes 8 rotlis)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons oil for the dough and few drops to spread while rolling
Salt to taste

Warm water to mix a pliable dough.
Mix the oil and salt to the wheat flour. Incorporate them thoroughly by rubiing them in with your fingers.
Gradually add very warm water and knead to a pliable dough. Beat the dough repeatedly on a flat surface, punching and kneading to get a very soft texture.

Keep in a utensil, covered with a damp muslin cloth and a lid. Keep aside for about an hour.
Roll the entire dough on a board like a cylinder and cut out 8 portions.
Roll one portion initially in a small disc. sprinkle oil over top side, fold the circular disc twice in the middle to get a triangular shape.
Repeat with the eight portions. Keep covered until you finish this process.
Take the first and using flour sparingly roll them in chapattis, working from the edges, pressing lightly.
Heat a tawa and cook the prepared rotlis. They may puff up while cooking. Allow to cook well but not very brown and burnt.
Cook all the rotlis and place them wrapped in a kitchen towel and store in airtight containers.
These would have developped layers within. You may tear them and stuff your side dish of relish. I've seen people open them like envelopes and even pouring some honey in and having them.
They can be enjoyed with any side dish.


  1. Potato looks goregous and yummy!!!! i can finish that within seconds :)

  2. Seeing the name I thought it is made up of papaya..but it is wid potatoes...interesting flavors inside it...looks like a gr8 combo..

  3. Nice one.. Potato is such a versatile vege..

  4. Nice old memories....Looks easy & perfect with roti.

  5. Hi Lata, the potatoes look gorgeous!

  6. This is really tempting.. Looks so yumm.. :)

  7. Lataji i loved the rotlis recipe and pic. i surely want to try it.

  8. lovely Parsi dish looks very delicious and nice picture too.

  9. Woww both dishes together looks marvellous and delicious!!

  10. Ah Who can resist such a delicious dish!

  11. The potatoes look and sound delicious, nice pic :)

  12. mouthwatering pari dish and very well presented..
    bookmarking it.

  13. looks delicious,love the way the roti have been rolled,both makes an awesome combo isnt?

  14. Hi Lataji,
    It was nice reading about your earlier days experiences, and it's a pleasure u shared such a tasty aloo recipe. I love rotlis ...I have named it "pocket chappati" and S and I stuff the sabzi in it and roll and gorge on it :)
    Snaps are neat and your presentation always makes me extra hungry :)

  15. Awesome combo!! Lataji, does these rotlis stay good for travel? any suggestions on how to pack them for travel? Because I always end up making some rice dish; this looks very tempting and easy to carry!
    Thanks in advance!!

  16. Thanks girls! Rohini, I think Suparna has answered your query! These do stay good for travel if you use sesame seed oil (nallennai) while mixing the dough; That keeps them soft.

  17. yummy dishes lataakka. Looks great.

  18. Lovely combo from Parsi cuisine. I loved the aloo subzi. I make rotlis esp. for long train journeys. And your description is too good for any one to try them.

  19. What a delicious entry, Lata!! Thanks for participating.


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Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.