Saturday Morning Musings: Using those extra Zucchinis before they spoil – for Indian-American chapatis and parathas

From start to finish – Zucchini chapatis (Photo: Ela Dutt)

Sometimes we end up buying extra zucchinis because the grocery giant near home just went local with baskets of ‘imperfect’ ones from the nearby farms. And you feel compelled to get them for a million reasons – local, socially conscious buying, political correctness, and of course, fresher (maybe), no chemical preservatives sprayed on it, etc. etc.

After making two with some meat or as a vege-tomato subzi, and another one for your salad, you’ve forgotten about it. Notice the basket with three or four of them a couple days later, and you panic not wanting them to spoil. So you scrub them well, chop them into rounds and put them in a container and back into the fridge.

By the second day after that, you panic again because you haven’t used them up. Well, what got me thinking this was a great way to use the Zucchini that’s going to die on you soon, is zucchini’s soft, water-filled nature, and that its used to make delicious zucchini bread by those who know how to bake. Hate to admit it but I come up short in that department. So logical reasoning led me to the use of near-dying zucchinis in the Great Indian ‘flatbread’ as it is sometimes called in Western writing- the hardly-any-effort, unleavened, easy-peasy – Zucchini Chapati, or Zucchini Paratha.

Recipe almost not needed, but here it is anyway. And by the way, you don’t need to stick to it – like you could use just whole wheat flour or just the Indian one, whatever strikes your fancy. And as for spices, use what you like. But here’s what I did — with the caveat that you can increase or decrease the spices as you like:


Flour – two cups chapati flour to one cup whole wheat — or all whole wheat and all chapati flour – as you wish

Three medium sized Zucchinis

Salt – 1 rounded teaspoon

Ground red chillies – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam masala  – 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon

Puree the zucchini, adding water as needed.

Separately, add all the spices to the flour and mix while still dry with your hands.

Add the blended Zucchini puree and knead into a ball of dough.You will probably not need more water, but add some if needed. You may however find yourself adding some more flour if the mixture gets too loose. Don’t panic.

Set aside the ready dough in a tightly covered container in fridge or counter for spices to blend in.

Now you can make the parathas or chapatis, and can even freeze them to eat later in many ways – wraps with your choice of vegetarian or non-veg ingredients, including salad and chopped onion, cheese, you name it; or with meat/chicken curry, daal, alu-gobi subzi, or whatever else you fancy.

Ela Dutt


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