Kerala Paratha, by Rajni, Noble Cooking Class, Updaipur, Rajasthan, India

Indian cuisine has so many different types of bread! During our 3 weeks in India, Asher (our family carbotarian) was thrilled to try every variety, but his all-time favorite was the Kerala Paratha that we had in the southern part of India. In fact, our entire family agreed it was the best. It is an unleavened flatbread that is crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, with delicious layers to peel apart. It reminds me a lot of Taiwanese scallion pancakes, just without the scallions. The dough is the same as regular parathas; the difference is in the special construction technique. 


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tsp ghee 


1.      Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add ½ tsp of ghee and rub it through the flour until no lumps remain.

2.      Add water about 2 tbsp at a time, and mix with your hands. Knead the dough* for 2 minutes.  

3.      Cover the dough and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes (An hour is even better; the time gives the dough time to fully hydrate and become easier to work with.)

4.      Shape the parathas: Break off a golf-ball sized piece of dough**, roll it in flour and make a small ball. On a surface dusted with flour, press the ball into a disc with your fingers, then roll it out with a rolling pin into a thin circle (the thinner the better, with more layers in the final product). Pour a few drops of ghee on top and spread it across the surface. Lightly dust with a bit of flour, and spread the flour across the surface too. Starting at one edge of the circle, roll up the pancake into a cylinder, then wrap the cylinder into a snail-shell-like spiral, tucking the end underneath.  Flatten the spiral with your fingers and roll the spiral into a thin flat circle, about 0.5 cm thick. 

5.      Cook the paratha in a medium-hot, unoiled cast iron skillet or frying pan, flipping over once it starts to change color, in as short as 10 seconds. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of ghee and flip it over. Cook until light brown in spots. Sprinkle the other side with ghee and flip it over, again cooking until light brown in spots. Serve right away, while still hot.      

*Experienced home cooks in many cultures seem to have developed an instinct for making dough of the perfect consistency without measuring any ingredients. The ratio of flour to water does depend a bit on the flour and ambient humidity, so you might need to add a bit more flour or water to get to the right texture. This dough shouldn’t be too sticky, and once rested and ready to roll out, the dough should be soft and smooth.

** Keep the rest of the dough covered while you work with each piece.

This Kerala paratha – perfectly crispy & chewy with so many thin layers! – was the best we had in India – from a tiny family restaurant near Vythiri called Mywo Restaurant, where we stopped for a night on our way from Kozhikode to Mysuru.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: