Flatbreads have always been a staple for Chopped judge and chef Maneet Chauhan. Every Sunday when she was growing up in Ranchi, India, her mom made parathas for brunch alongside homemade butter, pickles and yogurt, and her family also packed the whole-wheat flatbreads on train trips. “There’s a joke in my family that my sister fed me a bite of aloo paratha before I even started on solids,” says Maneet. “That’s how my love story with food really began.” Maneet has continued the tradition of making paratha, plus naan and poori, at home with her husband, Vivek Deora, and children Shagun, 10, and Karma, 6. “The kids get involved — the dough is like Play-Doh to them,” she says. “The versatility of paratha is amazing — I love it with a hearty goat curry, and my kids even eat it with ketchup.”
Combine the flour, salt, fenugreek and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Mix with your fingers until crumbly. Mix in the milk with your fingers. Knead the dough, adding water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a smooth, soft ball. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth; let rest, 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1 1/2-inch ball on a lightly floured surface. Working with 1 ball at a time, flatten the dough with a rolling pin, then dust with flour and roll out into a thin 6-inch round.
Brush the dough with vegetable oil and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough with your fingers to make 3/4-inch pleats.
Stretch the pleated dough as much as possible into a rope (it may only stretch 1 inch longer or so), keeping the pleats intact. Spiral the pleated dough around itself like a cinnamon bun. Pinch the end of the dough together to secure. Dust the spiral with more flour. Roll out the dough into a 6-inch round with a rolling pin. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Cook the parathas: Preheat a tawa or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place a paratha in the hot pan and cook until golden brown spots appear on the bottom, about 1 minute. Flip the paratha with a spatula and cook until golden brown spots appear on the other side, about 1 more minute. Remove from the pan to a clean surface and brush both sides with vegetable oil. Return the paratha to the hot pan and cook until golden brown all over, about 1 more minute per side. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining parathas. Bend the parathas gently in your palms to expose the spiral layers and make them more defined.