Plain Paratha recipe (3 different foldings) | Whole Wheat Paratha

Plain Paratha Recipe – Learn to make soft and flaky plain paratha, an Indian unleavened flatbread made using whole wheat flour. They make a great accompaniment with almost any dish and can be served with veg or non-veg curry, dry sabzi, or even with a hot cup of chai/tea.

I have so many fond memories of opening my lunch box at school to find these plain parathas packed for me. At home, we are addicted to whole wheat parathas, thanks to my Mom who makes amazing parathas.

Watching mom make perfect parathas made the process look very easy. But, trust me, it’s a skill that needs a lot of practice.

A few challenges that I faced when I first started making plain parathas were – making the perfect dough, shape, and soft parathas. Remembering my initial stage, I started with different shapes – India’s map, honeycomb, hexagon, polgon, etc. LOL!

I feel lucky that making good parathas (shape and texture) did not take me a long time to learn. I’m not an expert or a professional, but I have learned many things in my cooking journey. And that’s what I have mentioned in the Pro Tips section and recipe.

In this plain paratha recipe post, I will share step-by-step how to make plain parathas with 3 different foldings – triangle, round, and square.

What is Plain Paratha?

Parathas are a staple in North India. But, you can find different versions of parathas in nearly every part of the country.

Paratha is a combination of the words parat and atha. Parat translates to layers and atha to flour.

Paratha is a synonym for aloo paratha. But, in North India, there are 3 kinds – plain or layered, spiced/masala, and stuffed parathas. Plain parathas are usually made in round, triangle, and square shapes. Stuffed parathas are made with a stuffing of veggies – potato/aloo, cauliflower/gobi, cabbage, radish/mooli, and mixed vegetables.

Plain Paratha is a North Indian flatbread made with whole wheat flour, salt, water, and ghee or oil.

The plain parathas are also known as Tawa Parathas, Parantha, Prantha, .

These flatbreads are typically served as an accompaniment to a dal, dry/gravy curry, egg masala fry, or as a main dish with plain yogurt, chutney, pickle, and tea for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Types of Indian flatbreads

Indian cuisine has many types of flatbreads. In India, every regional cuisine has its own version of the ubiquitous paratha made with slight variations and is known by different names – paratha, chapati, roti, and phulka. No wonder it is confusing. So, I thought to include this section to describe a little more about the wonderful flatbreads in India.

Each bread uses the same dough and is characterized by a process of folding and rolling, giving it a different texture. Let’s dive into the difference between these Indian bread;

Paratha: Punjabi plain parathas are thicker and richer than their counterparts. Because of the fat (oil or ghee) brushed between layers of folded dough,

Chapati/Roti: They both are almost the same with minor differences. Roti is made with wheat flour/all-purpose flour or with the addition of atta. Whereas, chapati is made with only whole wheat flour. Both are made round in shape and the words are often used interchangeably at roadside eateries, dhabas, hotels, and restaurants. These are thin compared to parathas.

In South India, a plain triangle paratha is also called madatha (folded/layered) chapati. But, they are thin compared to North Indian parathas. Being South Indians, we knew only chapati that Mom used to make in the home. During our stay in Maharashtra, Mom got introduced to rotis, phulkas, and parathas from the neighbors.

Phulka: These are basically small size chapati cooked partially on pan/tava and then placed over the direct flame to puff up.

square parathas recipe

About Plain Paratha recipe

Plain Paratha recipe starts by making a soft and pliable wheat flour dough. Later, they are made using a special technique where the dough is rolled into a small circle, oiled, and folded several times to make a triangle, square, or circle base. Then rolled out thick and lastly shallow fried on a flat pan or tawa (griddle) with oil, butter, or ghee.

This recipe can be divided into 3 steps and every step is important for perfect parathas;

1. Making the dough.

2. Folding and rolling the parathas in different shapes.

3. Cooking the parathas.

The taste of parathas will vary based on the fat, whether you use ghee (clarified butter), butter, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or any other cooking oil. While you roast the paratha in the pan, the wonderful aroma will fill your kitchen.

If you are a beginner you may not roll a perfect shape on the first try but as you practice you will improve. The parathas will still taste great.

A well-made plain paratha should puff up when roasted, which gives it two or three layers, making the outer layer a little crisp and soft from the inside.

Reasons to make

Easier to make compared to stuffed parathas.

Simple but does require some practice.

Made with just 4 ingredients.

Can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.

As parathas keep soft for a long time, they are great to pack lunch boxes – school and office.

They are also travel-friendly.

Pro Tips

Making parathas is simple, many struggles to make soft and puffed parathas. Follow the below tips, you are guaranteed soft and flaky parathas that stay fresh for a long time.

Use good quality fine whole wheat flour.

For best texture parathas, the dough should have an appropriate amount of moisture. If the water content is less, the parathas texture will be hard and crusty. And, if the water content is more, the dough will be sticky and tough to handle.

While mixing the flour, do not add all the water at once. Always start adding water gradually and mix with your hand.

The dough has to be soft and pliable but not wet/sticky. The taste and texture of paratha are in the dough.

The key to making soft and malleable atta dough is not only adding the appropriate amount of water but also kneading it. It will develop the gluten in the dough. Knead for at least 5 minutes or until smooth and does not stick to the hands.

Adding a small amount of oil to the dough adds flavor to your parathas and also makes them soft.

Apply a thin layer of oil on top of the dough to avoid a hard crust.

Rest the dough for 20 to 30 minutes. It is important to help the gluten relax. It further softens the dough, makes it more pliable, easier to roll, and gives super soft parathas. So, do not skip this step.

Also, do not rest the dough for a long time, especially during summer. It will over soften the dough.

Knead the rested dough again for 30-60 seconds. It helps the dough smoothen out further and produces elasticity/making the dough stretchy.

Do not use a lot of dry flour while rolling the paratha. It will make the paratha dry and also flour will burn while cooking the paratha.

Too low or too hot pan: If you place the rolled paratha on a cold or warm pan, it will take a long time to cook and make the paratha hard. If you place the paratha on a too hot pan, it will stick to the pan and burn before they cook.

Heat the tawa on medium-high heat and make sure the tawa is hot before you add the rolled paratha.

A drizzle of ghee or oil will enhance the taste of the parathas and keep them soft for a longer period

Do not cook the parathas for a long time, they will become crisp and hard.

A final tip is to make your parathas rise like a balloon ( even with full flame level for quick making). First place one side of rolled paratha on tawa (pan), and keep it there until you see a few bubbles in some places. With a help of a flat spatula flip it to the other side. Cook the second side about 50%. Spread some oil or ghee on the upper side and flip. Now the trapped moisture/water will form vapor and puff the parathas.

For serving later, store in a hot casserole or dabba, lined with a clean cloth or kitchen tissue. Place the parathas one over the other to keep them soft.

Before cooking every paratha, make sure the pan is hot. If it is extremely hot, turn the flame to low or turn off the flame until the temperature reduces.

After cooking the paratha, if you see any dry flour on the tawa, wipe it off carefully with a kitchen towel/cloth.

Ingredients

Flour: To make parathas, you need finely ground whole wheat flour also known as atta and chapati atta.

Salt: It adds flavor and helps to increase the shelf life of the dough.

Fat: Oil or clarified butter/ghee. You need fat for the dough and to shallow fry the parathas. Smearing fat while cooking the parathas helps to keep them soft for a long time.

Water: Use water at room temperature. The amount of water required to knead the dough varies depending on the quality of flour and weather. I usually need 50%, which means for 2 cups of flour, I need 1 cup of water.

How to make Whole Wheat Parathas

Making the dough

1. Take 2 cups of whole wheat flour in a large bowl. I use paraat (a round flat plate with shallow edges). The large flat surface is perfect for proper kneading of flour.

2. Add salt and mix with the flour.

3 & 4. Add water in batches, mix with your hands, and bring the dry flour together.

plain paratha recipe step 1

5. Once the dry flour comes together and forms a dough, start kneading it.

6. Knead with your fist and palm, applying pressure. Fold the dough using your palms and knead again with your fist and palm.

7. Repeat step 6 until the dough feels soft and pliable.

8 & 9. Add oil and repeat step 6.

10. The dough should be smooth. Press the dough with your finger, it should leave an impression.

11. Apply a thin layer of oil to the dough. This helps the dough from drying out.

12. Cover the dough with a cloth or a lid and rest for 20-30 minutes.

13. Knead the rested dough for 30-60 seconds with your fist and palm.

14. Form a smooth dough and keep it aside.

Triangle shape folding

1. Pinch a medium-sized ball from the dough and roll it between the palms to form a round crack-free and smooth ball. Keep the dough covered all the time.

2. Press the round dough ball between your palms and flatten it slightly. Dip it in the dry flour and place it on the work surface or rolling board (chakla).

3. Using a rolling pin, roll it gently into a circle of about 4 inches in diameter.

4. Evenly spread a little melted ghee or cooking oil and dust some flour on the rolled dough. This creates the paratha’s signature layers.

5. Next, fold the dough in half to form a semi-circle.

6. Fold it again to form a triangle.

Square shape folding

To make square shape parathas, follow the square shape folding instructions.

1. Take a medium size dough ball and roll it in dry flour to form a 4-inch circle.

2. Drizzle a little oil or melted ghee and spread it evenly with your fingers or a brush.

3. Now take one side and fold inwards to the center.

4. Fold again from the opposite side.

5 & 6. Then again from the two ends, layering the folds on top of each other.

Round/Circle shape folding

1 & 2. Take a medium size dough ball and roll it in dry flour to form an oval shape.

3. Pinch it twice as shown in the pic below.

4. Drizzle oil or ghee and spread evenly.

5. Take one side and fold inwards to the center. Next, take the other side and fold inwards, layering the folds on top of each other.

Cooking the Parathas

1. Heat a pan, griddle, or tawa on a medium-high flame. If the paratha has too much dry flour, dust off the excess flour. When the pan is hot, take the rolled paratha and carefully place it on the hot pan.

2. Cook you see a few bubbles in some places. With the help of a flat spatula, flip it to the other side.

3. Drizzle some oil or ghee and spread evenly over the paratha with the spatula.

4. Flip it and the paratha will rise.

5. Apply ghee or oil on the other side and flip it again.

6. Flip the paratha 1-3 times. With the spatula gently press the paratha and cook until brown spots appear on both sides.

Plain Triangle Paratha is ready. Transfer the paratha to a plate and serve hot.

Follow the same cooking instructions for square and circle parathas.

Serving Suggestions

Plain Parathas made with oil/ghee are best consumed warm. They are perfect for scooping up Indian sabzi or curries, like Veg Kurma, Yellow Peas curry, Cabbage Chana dal sabzi, Kadai Chicken, Coconut Chicken curry, Chana masala, and many more to make it a complete and wholesome meal.

These parathas also taste delicious with dal. Try them with Dal Tadka, Masoor Dal, or Dal Makhani.

For kids, you can pair triangle parathas with fruit jam, jelly, or butter. My kid likes paratha roll with jam and butter spread on it.

Another way of eating flaky and aromatic paratha is to roll it into a tube and eat it with tea, often dipping the paratha as part of a breakfast meal.

Use these layered parathas to make rolls or wraps.

Storage Suggestions

At room temperature, paratha stays fresh for a day. Wrap it in aluminum foil or store it in a container.

You can store the cooked paratha in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

To store beyond, you can store in the freezer. To freeze them, I will recommend partially cooking the parathas, for about 15 seconds on both sides without applying any fat. Let them cool down completely.

Place parchment/butter paper under each paratha and then place them in a freezer bag like Ziploc. They will stay good for about 1 to 2 months.

Once you want to cook them again, remove them from the butter paper and thaw for 30 minutes. Place it on a pre-heated griddle and cook it fully with ghee or oil.

If there is leftover dough, store it in an air-tight container and refrigerate for 1-2 days. Before making the parathas, keep the cold dough on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes.

How to pack parathas for travel or lunchbox?

After cooking the parathas, place them in a kitchen towel/muslin cloth and let them cool completely. If you pack hot parathas in the lunchbox, they will sweat and become soggy after a while. Next, wrap them in foil paper and pack them in a lunchbox or an air-tight container.

round parathas recipe

Variations

You can add carom seeds/ajwain while kneading the dough or sprinkle a few between the layers.

To make spiced or masala paratha, add 1 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp amchur powder/chat masala, 1/4 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, a few coriander and mint leaves (chopped), and 1 tsp carom seeds/ajwain to 2 cups of whole wheat flour.

If you’ve tried this Plain Paratha recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

You can also follow me on Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Recipe Card

whole wheat plain paratha recipe

Plain Paratha recipe | Whole Wheat Paratha

Author: Santosh Allada
Plain Parathas is a mutli-layered, flaky, and soft whole wheat Indian flatbread. You can roll it in any shape like round, triangle, or square.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 parathas

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 cup Water (at room temperature)
  • 1/2-1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Oil (or ghee)
  • Whole Wheat flour (for dusting)
  • Oil (for layering and cooking parathas)

Instructions
 

To Make the Paratha dough

  • Take 2 cups of whole wheat flour in a large bowl. I use paraat (a round flat plate with shallow edges). The large flat surface is perfect for proper kneading of flour.
  • Add salt and mix with the flour.
  • Add water in batches, mix with your hands, and bring the dry flour together.
  • Once the dry flour comes together and forms a dough, start kneading it.
  • Knead with your fist and palm, applying pressure. Fold the dough using your palms and knead again with your fist and palm until the dough feels soft and pliable.
  • Add oil and knead again with your fist and palm.
  • The dough should be smooth. Press the dough with your finger, it should leave an impression.
  • Apply a thin layer of oil to the dough. This helps the dough from drying out.
  • Cover the dough with a cloth or a lid and rest for 20-30 minutes.

Triangle folding to make triangle parathas

  • Pinch a medium-sized ball from the dough and roll it between the palms to form a round crack-free and smooth ball. Keep the dough covered all the time.
  • Press the round dough ball between your palms and flatten it slightly. Dip it in the dry flour and place it on the work surface or rolling board (chakla).
  • Using a rolling pin, roll it gently into a circle of about 4 inches in diameter.
  • Evenly spread a little melted ghee or cooking oil and dust some flour on the rolled dough. This creates the paratha’s signature layers.
  • Next, fold the dough in half to form a semi-circle. Fold it again to form a triangle.
  • Dust with dry flour and roll a slightly thick paratha. With soft hands, try to roll the parathas evenly maintaining the triangle shape.

Square shape folding

  • Take a medium size dough ball and roll it in dry flour to form a 4-inch circle.
  • Drizzle a little oil or melted ghee and spread it evenly with your fingers or a brush.
  • Now take one side and fold inwards to the center. Fold again from the opposite side.
  • Then again from the two ends, layering the folds on top of each other.

Round/Circle shape folding

  • Take a medium size dough ball and roll it in dry flour to form an oval shape. Pinch it twice as shown in the pic above. Drizzle oil or ghee and spread evenly.
  • Take one side and fold inwards to the center. Next, take the other side and fold inwards, layering the folds on top of each other.

To cook the parathas

  • Heat a pan, griddle, or tawa on a medium-high flame. If the paratha has too much dry flour, dust off the excess flour. When the pan is hot, take the rolled paratha and carefully place it on the hot pan.
  • Cook you see a few bubbles in some places. With the help of a flat spatula, flip it to the other side.
  • Drizzle some oil or ghee and spread evenly over the paratha with the spatula. Flip it and the paratha will rise.
  • Apply ghee or oil on the other side and flip it again.
  • Flip the paratha 1-3 times. With the spatula gently press the paratha and cook until brown spots appear on both sides.
  • Plain Triangle Paratha is ready. Transfer the paratha to a plate and serve hot.

Notes

Use good quality whole wheat flour.
Quantity of water will vary depending on the flour, climate, and density of water.
The dough should be soft and pliable. Knead for at least 5 minutes.
Rest the dough for 20-30 minutes. 
Roll the parathas with light hands maintaining the shape (triangle, square, or circle).
Smear the parathas with oil or melted ghee.
 


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