Multi-Layered Parotta and Beef Fry, Kerala's Best On Your Plate
Image Credit: Shutterstock | Parotta and Beef Fry,

When someone mentions parotta or porotta, images of thattukadas or wayside eateries immediately come to mind. We have always found it fascinating to watch the chefs make these parottas. First, the flattened dough is waved in the air and tapped, creating a parotta with several layers. Next, the parottas are grilled on a tava, or griddle, and finally they are patted and stacked while they are still hot. Kerala Parotta, also known as Porotta in the southern region of India. It is a typical layered flat Indian bread that is typically sold in eateries and thattukada/roadside stores in Kerala and other South Indian states. Among Keralites, Kerala Parotta with Chilly Beef Fry is a popular dish. It goes without saying that the aroma that permeates the air and the smell that you get when strolling down the street may make anyone drool. We had always assumed it would be quite challenging to try at home, so we were surprised to learn that this was not the case. Although preparation does take some time, it is worthwhile. It complements foods that are hot (vegetarian or non-vegetarian). 

It has been at the centre of a contentious discussion about GST slabs, and restaurants like this one in Madurai shape-shift it as needed. Indian speakers are being gently reminded to pronounce it parohtah and not parahtha by Southerners (which, by the way, is nothing like the Parotta). While our Malabar neighbours can't help but name it the porotah, Tamilians even take phonetic liberties and pronounce it as barotah. You can't help but accept that the simple parotta has evolved through time to represent culinary extravagance in the deep South, regardless of how it should be pronounced or where it originated (both Tamil Nadu and Kerala claim individual possession). 


The parotta was given a unique spin in the 1980s by port employees in Tuticorin, 150 kilometres to the south. Its new cousin became Coin Parottas. This modification, which was smaller, thicker, and softer and lacked the crispiness of a taco, quickly became the South Indian equivalent. By this point, parotta and salna had become intertwined, like pav and bhaji. A salna is a type of gravy that you can't help but immerse your parotta in, usually chicken or mutton. There is just no other way to eat a parotta in Southern Tamil Nadu. 

Migrant Sri Lankan workers at the Tuticorin Port, who by that time had created the renowned Ceylon Parotta and introduced it to Tamil Nadu, were significantly responsible for the discovery of the Coin Parotta. The storied Buhari restaurant in Chennai continues to serve Ceylon parotta to perfection, proudly displaying its distinguishing characteristics: a sparkling crust, a generous coating of egg, and plenty of packed mutton. Without a doubt, the Ceylon Parotta helped the Lankans elevate the parotta to a new level.

Ingredients for Parotta:

  • 1 kg - Maida 
  • 1 - Egg 
  • 1 cup - Curd 
  • 2 tbsp - Oil
  • Salt to taste

Method for Preparation:

  • First, we combine maida, egg curd, oil, and salt in a big bowl until the flour becomes moist.
  • Then we gradually add water and knead the dough until it is soft and smooth.
  • We now cover and take a 30-minute break.
  • After that, we carefully roll a tiny amount of dough in the bowl and distribute it as thinly as we can.
  • Then, using a sharp knife, we sliced the distributed dough into thin strips.
  • Once more, we roll the dough into a thin layer and set it aside.
  • Place the rolled parotta onto the hot pan after heating a tiny amount of oil.
  • If one side is done, turn it over, cook it thoroughly, and keep one side.
  • Enjoy serving and eating the layered parotta.

Ingredients for Beef Fry:

  • 1 kg - Beef  
  • 1 tsp - Fennel seed 
  • Ginger 
  • 8 or 9 nos - Medium Garlic 
  • 7 or 8 nos - Shallots  
  • 1 nos - Onion
  • 1 tbsp - Coriander powder 
  • 1 tbsp - Red chilli powder
  • ½ tbsp - Turmeric powder 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Oil for frying

Method for Preparation:

  • We first chop, clean, and reserve a side of the meat.
  • Then we grind the fenugreek and fennel seeds, keeping a side.
  • Once more, we create a smooth paste by grinding ginger and garlic.
  • After that, add fenugreek and cumin powder to a bowl with the cleaned and rinsed beef.
  • Shallots and ground ginger, garlic, are added.
  • Then we add some water, cover, and simmer until the beef is tender. Then we set the meat aside. At this point, we also add curry spices like coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
  • Onion and a few curry leaves are added to an oil that has been heated and are sauteed nicely.
  • Last but not least, we add prepared beef and thoroughly fried until golden brown.
  • Keep to one side and smother the flame.
  • Serve the beef fry and savour its flavour.