Broccoli Rabe/Rapini Stuffed Parathas
For the past few weeks I have been gravely tempted to pick up these deep green fresh bunches of Broccoli Rabe at my local grocery store. I had read and heard a lot about it’s nutritional benefits before, but at the same time I also came across varied reasons about why many folks don’t care much for it due to it’s sharp bitterness and strong grassy odor. But, that did not stop me from keeping my hands off this leafy green vegetable. The moment I picked it up from the fresh produce shelf, I knew what I would make with it….something that would not disappoint my taste-buds and also that would make me satisfied that it was yet another healthy meal.
Who doesn’t love stuffed parathas? I love them….the different kinds of stuffings blended with different flavors make parathas quite versatile. A tasty stuffing in parathas cheers me up just like cream in cream biscuits or ice-cream in ice-cream sandwiches. Some of my favorite parathas as aloo/potato parathas and methi/fenugreek parathas.
To remove the bitterness from the brocooli rabe, I blanched the leaves and buds in water with a pinch of salt and sugar. To preserve it’s rich color and nutrients I then rinsed them immediately under ice cold water. I use this blanching technique for several other leafy greens and it works quite well. It makes the leaves easier to handle and also preserves the color. I kept the stuffing simple, just using a handful of finely chopped onions, garlic and green chillies with roughly chopped rapini/broccoli rabe. For seasoning I only used salt. The dough is also quite simple, whole wheat flour, salt and water. For everyday rotis/pulkas I skip using oil in the dough. But, for these special parathas I’d recommend using oil to finish off the dough just so that the dough doesn’t feel too dry.
There are two ways you could make these parathas – one is by adding the stuffing to the flour and then kneading the dough, or by placing the stuffing in the dough while rolling them out (the stuffed kind, like I made here). The former way is definitely much easier and quicker, but the latter option gives a lot more stuffing in each paratha. The rapini stuffing came out quite well. Surprisingly, I did not taste any bitterness. The salt and sugar blanch worked really well. I paired these parathas with cucumber and tomato raita to make a nice healthy and filling meal!
Prep time: 25 mins (stuffing) + 20 mins (rolling out parathas)
Cook time: 20 mins for parathas
Serves: Makes 10 parathas
– Broccoli Rabe – 1 bunch
– Onions – 1/2 medium-sized
– Garlic cloves – 2
– Green Chillies – 4
– Turmeric powder – 1/4th tsp
– Salt – 1/2 tsp or to taste
– Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
– Oil – 2 tsps
– Whole Wheat Flour – 1n1/2 cups
– Salt – 3/4th tsp
– Water (at room temperature) – as required
– Oil – 2 tsps
To make the stuffing,
1. Take the rapini bunch and cut off the bottom 1/4th part of the stalks. Then check for any thick stalks in between the bunch and separate the leaves and buds from them. Rinse the leaves and buds under fresh running water and set aside.
2. In a sauce pan, heat about 4 to 5 cups of water. Add a tsp of salt and a tsp of sugar. Once, the water comes to a boil add the rapini leaves and buds. Blanch for 5 minutes. Drain all the water and rinse the rapini under cold running water. Squeeze all the excess water from the rapini and set aside.
3. In a skillet pan, heat 2 tsps of oil. Add cumin seeds, finely chopped onions, green chillies and minced garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
4. Chop the set aside rapini into smaller bits and add it to the saute. Saute for a few minutes until the mixture is a little dry. Season it with turmeric and salt. Further saute for 2 to 3 minutes and set aside.
To make the dough,
1. Prepare the dough well before making the stuffing. Make a nice, smooth dough with whole wheat flour, salt and water. Add 2 tsps of oil over the dough and knead again for a minute or two.
To make the stuffed parathas,
1. Divide the dough into lemon sized balls. Roll out the dough into a 6-inch dia round. Take a spoonful of stuffing, make into a small ball and place on the rolled out dough. Fold all the corners of the dough, lightly flatten it at the center and roll it out into a nice paratha frequently dusting with extra flour.
2. On a tava or a pan, spread out a tsp of oil. Place the rolled-out paratha and fry it on both sides evenly for a minute or so applying oil on the other side too.
To make cucumber-tomato raita,
– Use 1/2 cup of plain yogurt. Add 1/2 cup of water and smooth out the yogurt using a whisk. Add a pinch of salt (or to taste), finely chopped handful of red onions, a couple of green chillies, finely diced 1/2 cup of tomatoes and cucumbers and some roughly chopped coriander leaves. Chill it on the refrigerator until serving time.
Serve these parathas with raita or any other side-dish/curry you like. These are equally delectable with chutneys or pickles.