You’ve got to pick a paratha or two

2:46 AM
The paratha is one of India’s favourite flatbreads. So much so, that there is even a very special street, exclusively dedicated to their creation. Tucked away in the hectic back-alleys of Delhi, a city which thrums with the hustle of humanity and is famed for its choice culinary treats, you will find a narrow street that is known as Paranthe Wali Gali - the lane of fried bread.

The lane is just a couple of metres wide and lined with open-fronted stalls, laced with the mouth-watering aroma of bread, and crammed with cooks focused on their trade. An evocative glimpse into the toil that goes into some of our favourite Indian foods, Paranthe Wal Gali is a hugely popular spots for foodies - no self-respecting epicurean would want to miss out on these tasty morsels.

Although the street has changed over the years, you can still get a sense of what it might have been like back in the late 19th century when the first paratha shops opened their doors. Before this, the street was renowned for its quality silverware shops. You can still find the odd silver shop here now, but really it is the parathas that rule this part of town.

paratha
A delicious, warm flatbread has long been considered the ideal accompaniment to a steaming hot meal in India. Particularly in the northern states where the gravies lend themselves well to being scooped up by a hunk of warm naan or a rolled up paratha. In fact, parathas originated in the Punjab, a state in the far north of India and one which is famed for its culinary delights. However, here in the UK it can be difficult to find a truly authentic, fresh and handmade paratha like those you would find in this part of India.

Traditionally, the paratha was consumed as a breakfast food. It could be rolled up and dunked in a cup of hot masala chai if you don’t have too much of an appetite in the morning, or stuffed with a wide variety of fillings such as paneer, potatoes and spiced cauliflower for a more substantial meal. If creating your own sounds like a little too much effort for first thing in the morning, a visit to Paranthe Wali Gali would ensure you could indulge in a fresh from the pan paratha without even lifting a finger. Well, except to hand over your cash that is!

So, what’s so special about the paratha? It makes for a lighter option compared to the chunky naan, but they are not as light and thin as chapattis. Although parathas can be quite healthy and lightly brushed with ghee before they are cooked, on Paranthe Gali Wali they are often submerged in boiling oil to gain a crispy texture - these parathas are something of a treat.

Luckily, you don’t have to venture as far as Delhi or the Punjab to sample an authentic Indian flatbread. Book a table at one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants and see for yourself.

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