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Herbed Olive Oil Parathas (Flaky Indian Flatbread)

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!

Herbed 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!

Herb infused olive oil

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 make parathas
Herbed olive oil parathas

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.
Herbed olive oil parathas

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herbed olive oil parathas

Herbed Olive Oil Parathas

Yield: 8 Parathas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Layered, crispy parathas made with herb infused olive oil. Perfect as a side dish for Indian curries or just by itself! Vegan, easy to make, and dangerously hard to stop eating.

Ingredients

For the herb infused olive oil

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch mixed herbs (cilantro, parsley and/or mint)
  • 4 garlic cloves

For the dough

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp herb infused olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Chopped herbs
  • Oil for pan frying

Instructions

  1. To make the herb infused olive oil: Heat olive oil, herbs and whole garlic cloves in a saucepan over medium low heat. Hold at a low simmer for 15 minutes. If the oil begins to sputter and bubble, reduce the heat. Remove the add ins and transer to the oil to a jar anf place in the freezer or refridgerator to cool down.*
  2. To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add in oil and warm water. Knead until a rough dough comes together, about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and let sit for 1 hour.
  3. After the dough has rested, divide into 8 equal portions. Work with one dough piece at a time and place the rest under damp towel to stay moist. On a lighly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out as thin as possible into a rectangle.
  4. Brush the chilled olive oil over the surface of the dough and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Start at the long end of the rectangle and roll the dough into a tight log. Coil each end of the log in opposite directions until they meet at the center and then squiqye them down on top of each other. Set aside and cover with a damp towel to rest for another 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough has rested, use a rolling pin to roll out each dough ball onto a lightly floured surface. Rotate the dough as you go, until you end up with an 8 inch circle of uniform thickness.
  6. To cook the parathas: Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add one paratha at a time. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until no longer sticky. It's ok if it doesnt have any color yet. Transfer the par-cooked parathas to a plate.**
  7. Once all of the parathas have been par-cooked, add about a tbsp of oil to the pan. Add in one parathas at a time, using tongs to frequently rotate it in the pan as it cooks. Cook until deeply golden brown and flip, doing the same on the other side. Repeat with the remaining parathas, adding a more oil in between each one. Serve immediantly or store in an air tight container and reheat in a skillet.

Notes

*if you plan to make the parathas within the next few hours, place the oil in the freezer so it can thicken slightly and become easier to spread. If your're making the oil the day before, place it in the fridge overnight for the same effect.

**At this point, the par-cooked parathas can be stored between sheet of parchment in the freezer or refriderator and taken out at any time for the final cook.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 paratha
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 586mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information is an estimation

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