My father’s second sister was everyone’s favourite aunt. Her name was Labonyo, which means grace, but to us, she was simply Mejo Pishima. She brought the gourmet revolution to our kitchen; she was a fantastic cook and would add a twist to simple every day meals, turning them into gastronomic adventures. This recipe is one she learnt from her father's Muslim cook. Burdwan district in West Bengal, where she grew up, was historically a strong Muslim outpost, and my grandfather had an expert cook who would make the kebabs and pulaos for the family.
Recipe: Mejo Pishima’s Kheema Parathas
For the Parathas
500 g plain white flour
4 tablespoons white oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Enough cold water to make a soft dough
For the filling
500g lamb mince*
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp milk
2 onions, finely chopped
Green chillies, chopped
Extra oil for frying
Make a soft dough for the parathas with the flour, oil, salt and water.
Knead well for about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside to rest for at least one hour.
In the meantime prepare the filling.
Boil the lamb mince with a little water and cook till all the water is absorbed.
In a skillet heat oil and fry the onions till they are soft and a light golden colour.
Add the ginger, garlic paste, salt and pepper and fry for 2 minutes. Add the boiled mince and 1/2 cup of water and cook on low heat till the spices are well combined and the filling mixture is dry. Keep aside.
Beat the eggs well with a salt and milk in a bowl and keep it handy.
Mix the chopped onions, green chillies and coriander and keep in a bowl.
Portion the dough into 8 balls. Roll out each portion to a thin 8 inch round paratha.
Place on a hot griddle and let it cook on one side for half a minute or till little brown spots appear. Keeping the griddle on a low flame, flip the paratha onto the other side.
Spread some of the mince filling over the cooked side, which is on top and spread it evenly. Remove the griddle from the heat and gently pour three tablespoons of the beaten egg over the filling. Sprinkle with some of the onion, coriander and green chilli mixture. Fold the sides of the paratha in to form a square. Replace the griddle on the fire to cook the egg.
This has to be done carefully, to prevent the egg from leaking over the sides. If you cover the griddle, the egg will set faster. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil on each side and turn and fry till both sides are crisp and cooked. Keep the heat low as the process requires care and if the heat is high the parathas may burn.
Make all the parathas this way. It is a good idea to portion the filling and onion, coriander chilly mixture into 8 as well to ensure all the parathas have sufficient filling and onion garnish.
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