These homemade olive oil Parathas are a delicious twist on the classic flaky Indian flatbread. Made with herb infused olive oil, the dough is rolled and layered then pan fried in a hot griddle until crispy. Whether eaten alongside chutneys, served with Indian curries or just straight from the pan, you won’t be able to stop eating these olive oil Parathas!
What is a Paratha?
Parathas are a popular unleavened Indian flatbread. Traditionally, they’re made by rolling out the dough super thin, spreading a layer of ghee over top, folding it up and re-rolling to create tons of buttery layers. Similar to a laminated dough. There are many different techniques for rolling out the parathas, they can be square, triangular and round, etc. and they’re usually eaten with various chutneys and used to soak up sauces in curries.
These herbed olive oil parathas are a riff on the traditional, with herb infused olive oil taking the place of ghee. I used a folding technique I learned from Sohla El-Waylly over on Serious Eats. It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it and the result is 120% worth the extra effort. Let me tell you, these flatbreads are so flaky, chewy on the inside crisp on the outside and get so much flavor and richness from the herb infused olive oil. Just picking one up, you can hear the crunchy, crinkly layers and pulling those apart is just as fun as eating them!
How to Make Herb Infused Olive Oil
Adding flavors to your olive oil is super simple. All you have to to do is add some high quality olive oil, your herbs (I used cilantro, parsley and mint) plus a few cloves of garlic to a saucepan. This gets simmered gently over medium low heat for about 15 minutes. Afterwards, discard the herbs and garlic and transfer the oil to a jar. That’s it!
Traditional Parathas are made with ghee, which is solid at room temperature, making it easy to spread over the dough. Olive oil, which is liquid at room temperature, can get a little messy. To solve this problem, I refrigerate or freeze my olive oil to help it thicken for easy handling. You don’t want the oil to be solid (aka frozen), but you want it to be pretty thick. If you plan on making the Parathas the same day you infuse the oil, place the jar in the freezer while you make the dough. This should be enough time for it to cool down and reach the right consistency. If you make the infused olive oil in advance, place it in the refrigerator a few hours before making the dough.
Rolling the Parathas
To make the dough easier to roll out, it must rest for about an hour for the glutens to relax. Afterwards, we can use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a super thin sheet. As thin as you can go. Don’t worry about making it look pretty, just try to get it into a rectangle like shape. Now brush a layer of chilled olive oil over the surface and sprinkle over some chopped herbs. Start at the long end of the rectangle and roll the dough into a snake. You can then use your hands to roll the coil to even it out and pinch the ends if any oil is escaping.
Now coil the dough in opposite directions until they meet in the center. It should resemble a fancy S shape. Gently press the bottom part of the S onto the top part of the S. They should look like the picture down below, this creates lots of layers which will help make our flatbreads super flaky.
How to Cook Crispy Parathas
I like to cook Parathas in two stages. The first one is just a quick par-cook in a dry skillet for only a couple minutes per side. From here, you can either go on to the next step right away or store the par-cooked Parathas for later.
For the second cook, preheat your skillet over medium heat and add a about a tbsp or more of oil. I wouldn’t recommend using the herb infused olive oil as it’s already been simmered, we wouldn’t want to degrade it any further. You can use normal olive oil or an oil with a higher smoke point such as avocado or canola oil. The key to evenly crisped Parathas is to rotate them frequently in the pan. Each side will take about three minutes to become a deep golden brown. You may also need to add more oil in between flips.
Tips for Making Herbed Olive Oil Parathas
- Any leftover infused olive oil can be stored in a jar for a couple months. Use it for salad dressings, as a dip for bread and as a finishing oil for food.
- Store the Parathas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (if they last that long). To reheat olive oil Parathas, place them in a skillet and cook until heated through, flipping occasionally.
More Recipes to Try:
- Roasted red pepper meatball curry
- Vegan spinach artichoke pasta
- Italian stuffed peppers with sun dried tomatoes
- Greek Crunchwrap Supreme