I had always sucked at making plain parathas. They invariably turned out with some uncooked spots or were stiff and hard to eat. I was also made fun of because of the plain parathas I doled out, and this was when I had only about started cooking by myself (read, after getting married). Ask me to cook stuffed parathas any day, and I did well. But I didn’t make any progress over the years with churning out soft plain parathas.
I kept recalling how mom would roll out perfect, soft ones each time and tried hard to remember the way she performed each step, but to no avail; the magic was not happening with my hands. With some fluke, some turned okay and some were round as well. But there was no systematic procedure to get consistent shape and softness and edibility.
This time I decided enough was enough. I started looking at recipes and videos. There were recipes to make laccha parathas and parathas with two layers, and recipes that used ghee between different folds. I only wanted to know how to make parathas the way mom did. Luckily, I came upon Manjula’s youtube video (embedded below). The recipe seemed fairly simple. And it was similar to mom’s method. I watched the video twice and headed straight to try it myself.
Lo and behold, I was able to make them perfect this time. The shape of each paratha was now consistently the same, a triangle. All the parathas also puffed well. The last and final test was if they remained soft and were cooked evenly. They passed! I had cracked the code of making perfect, simple pain parathas — with immense help from Manjula’s video.