RAWALPINDI: Although roti or bread – in its various forms – and rice are the staples of choice for any meal, the desi palate is yet to accept either one of the two on the breakfast menu.
Naan bread is nutritious but heavy, and most Punjabis worth their salt do not like to begin their day with anything but the greasy, crispy treat, known as the paratha.
Parathas come in different varieties. There is the Aloo (potato) wala Paratha, cauliflower, raddish, Qeema (minced meat) as well as daal (pulses) wala Paratha.
Lately, a simple and crispy Paratha with butter and chicken kebab is also gaining popularity among the citizens at different eateries in the garrison city.
In Punjab, people used to love eating Paratha after topping it with butter and Saag and salted Lassi in the morning. But now it has been replaced with tandoori in different eateries as people also like to have it with Haleem, Chicken Karahi and, of course, Nuli Nihari.
While visiting the downtown areas, one can find different shops and stalls offering hot and crispy Parathas.
In Kartarpura, Bhabara Bazaar, Saddar, Commercial Market, Chaklala Scheme-III and Bahria Town shopping malls, there are dozens of such shops.
“We make Paratha with layers as per our traditional method and mostly people want to eat it on the spot,” said Suhail Ahmed, a shop owner at the Commercial Market.
He said there was a simple recipe for making Paratha.
“We make dough of wheat flour filled with vegetable oil and twist it and then give the shape of a round ball, make a roti and then fry it on a shallow pan with lots of oil.”
He said it was an art to know when to twist the dough and give the shape of a round ball and make a Paratha. Though with experience one can learn the art, most of the people have no time and prefer to eat Parathas from the bazaars.
Sharif Ahmed, a shopkeeper at Bhabara Bazaar, said he started making Parathas with different verities which people had taste in their houses like Daal wala Paratha, Moli wala Paratha and Aloo wala Paratha.
“I love to eat Paratha with Saag and Haleem. I usually buy Paratha from the bazaar. We use brown wheat flour in making Parathas but in the bazaars they use fined wheat flour which is comparatively white,” said Hassan Qureshi, a resident of Scheme-III.
He said his wife was a working woman and did not have time even at the weekends so he brought Parathas from the bazaar for the breakfast as well as dinner.
Asfandyar Ali, a resident of Westridge, said he wanted different items in the breakfast, especially on Sundays, and brought Parathas from the bazaar twice a week.
He said Tawa Paratha was popular among the citizens. With the opening of new outlets for Parathas, most of the people have stopped preparing it at home.
“Though many known food companies have also introduced frozen Parathas in the market, the taste of a freshly made Paratha is different,” he said.
Published in Dawn.