Nope....it is not a spelling mistake. We are not talking about a paratha here. Nor is it called barotta. If you want to say it mallu ishtyle, please say po...ro....tta. In some parts of Kerala, it also goes by the name parotta.
A parotta is a layered flatbread usually made with maida and lo.....ts of time and patience. If you plan on visiting Kerala, please do try this out from a thattukada. A thattukada is God's own country's version of a fast food joint. It is simply a food cart on wheels and the food served is fresh, hot, made to order and always delicious....as long you don't really ask questions to find out where the water is from and how well the plates are washed.
As long as I lived with my parents, I didn't visit a thattukada......simply because thattukadas operate only at night, and at that time, you don't see girls/women standing around these places and eating. So, even though we had one very close to our home and I was always tempted by the tantalizing smells, I have never gone there. The place would always be crowded with mundu(dhoti) clad "gentle"men. This changed when I moved to a different town for my higher studies and started living in a hostel. One of the first things I did is visit a thattukada at night. The sense of freedom and daring I experienced is something that cannot be described with mere words. To date, the best parotta and peas curry I have had is at these thattukadas.
I tried recreating a healthier version of parotta using multi grain flour instead of maida, and the result was good, though I missed the camaraderie of my hostel mates and the luxury of having someone else make this for me.
What you need:
Multi grain flour - 2 cups, heaped (Can be substituted with maida(APF)/whole wheat flour)
Oil - 3tbsp+1tsp+1tbsp
Mix together the maida and salt. Add water little by little and knead into a smooth, pliable dough. Add 3 tbsp of oil and knead well. Rub one tsp of oil all over the dough to prevent it from drying out. Cover and let it stand for atleast an hour.
Take 1 tbsp of oil in a flat/shallow plate.
Pinch out a ball of dough. Flatten it slightly between your palms and then roll it out. Do not dredge in flour while rolling. Instead,dip your fingers in the oil and spread it over the rolled dough and continue rolling it out. The idea is to S-T-R-E-T-C-H the dough as much as you can and make it as thin as you can. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle at this point.
If you look at the pic above, you will see that the counter top is visible through the rolled out dough. That is how thin you have to roll it out.
Next, we start folding the dough into pleats from one end to the other. It is similar to making pleats on a sari.The picture will explain how it is done.
After the pleats are made, start rolling the pleated dough into a ball, starting from one end.
Once rolled, keep it covered until all the dough is rolled up similarly.
When I had rolled up all the dough into balls, I kept them on the plate in which I'd taken oil so that the oil wouldn't be wasted, plus, my dough wouldn't dry out.
Now, take one ball at a time and flatten it out into a thick circle.
Heat a tawa. Cook both sides of the parotta on it, until it develops brown spots on both the sides.
Once you have cooked a few parottas, hold them between your hands and crush sideways. Do this gently, as our aim is only to separate the layers, not to break the parotta into pieces.
Serve hot with peas curry.