I love sharing the breakfasts we often had growing up: deeply savory, satisfying, perfectly spiced to awaken the senses, and served with yummy dipping sides. Methi Thepla is a perfect example. This thin, soft whole-wheat flatbread is chock full of fresh fenugreek leaves, turmeric, red chili powder, carom seeds, and sesame seeds. I have since added my own twist to the dough with mashed sweet potato which adds such wonderful flavor and texture!
Note: Original post published in March 2016 has been updated with new photos and a video.
Methi Thepla: Breakfast and Beyond
Thepla brings back such clear memories of my mom making “garam garam” (as she calls them) for breakfast, always served with pickle, chutney, and yogurt. The aroma of fresh fenugreek leaves and sizzling ghee is not something you’re likely to forget! Nor is that amazing first bite of a Thepla served hot off the pan.
This easy vegetarian meal also makes the perfect healthy lunch at home or on the go. They can be made ahead, are fast, filling, and travel well! We pair it with soups or salads for a heartier meal.
Methi Thepla on the Road
My mom makes Thepla, not just for breakfast when we visit, but for longer car trips we take while there. They are such a welcome treat on the road! She also makes sure to pack a big stack of soft Theplas for our trip back to the US from India. Not only do they make a quick, tasty meal en route, but they are also still good for a few days after. That connection to home and to her kitchen is priceless during those first days back!
What is Thepla
Thepla is a thinly rolled soft Indian flatbread, originating in the beautiful western state of Gujarat. They have since become quite popular throughout India as a delicious breakfast and on-the-go snack. The simple dough is made with whole wheat flour or a mix of whole wheat and besan or other grains. Leafy greens such as methi or spinach and spices such as turmeric, red chili powder, carom seeds (ajwain), and sesame seeds are kneaded in. They can also be made with or without curd in the dough.
Difference between Thepla and Stuffed Paratha
- To make Thepla all the ingredients are kneaded together to form a dough which is then rolled into thin flatbreads. Making Thepla is much easier as you just have to get the overall consistency of the dough right.
- Stuffed Paratha is a 2 step process. First, the outer dough is kneaded with wheat flour and then the inside filling is made separately. The inside filling is covered with the wheat dough and then gently rolled before cooking on a stove-top griddle/pan. Making stuffed paratha can be a bit tricky as you need to get the consistency of the outside dough and the filling right.
My Delicious Twist On A Classic!
I started adding mashed sweet potato to the whole wheat dough and never looked back! I love the way the subtle sweetness plays against the unique combination of maple syrup, bitter, and earthy flavors from the fresh fenugreek!! You’ve got to try it!
Sweet potatoes also give Thepla a soft yet crispy texture when cooked. And the added nutrition is another huge bonus!
Once cooked, Methi Thepla will stay good at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. That’s why they're perfect to take along on trips or have ready for packed lunches and quick breakfasts. Thepla can also stay refrigerated for a week or stored in the freezer for longer.
- Fenugreek (Methi) has long been used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine to treat a host of ailments. Fenugreek is anti-inflammatory and high in fiber which can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol.
- Sweet Potatoes are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are an excellent source of Vitamins C & A, potassium, B6, and manganese. Also high in dietary fiber which is so important for heart and digestive health. With a low glycemic index, their natural sweetness can be enjoyed while helping to control blood sugar.
- Ground Turmeric (Haldi) is a healing spice that adds a peppery-woody taste and a deep golden color to curries. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Carom Seeds (Ajwain) are known to aid in digestion issues, lower cholesterol, and help reduce inflammation.
- Sesame Seeds are rich in fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
How to make Methi Thepla
- In a big mixing bowl add the peeled sweet potato and mash it with a potato masher. Add garlic, methi, carom seeds, sesame seeds, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, and half of the oil (photos 1 - 4)
- Add the flour and mix well, massaging with hands so the moisture from the methi is released. Start adding a little bit of water at a time and making soft pliable dough. Add water as needed, you may not need all of the water. Once the dough ball has formed, add the remaining oil and continue to knead the dough for a couple of minutes making it look even. Place the dough in a bowl and cover it. Let it rest for 20 minutes (photos 5 - 8)
- Make 8 to 10 lemon-sized round balls from the dough. Take one dough ball at a time and roll it in the dry flour coating it well on all the sides. Roll the dough ball into a 6 to 7-inch circle, depending on the thickness you like. Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Put the rolled Thepla on the pan (photos 9 - 12)
- Cook on both sides until the Thepla is cooked with light brown spots on both sides. Apply a few drops of ghee on each side and then take it off the pan (photos 13 - 14)
Tips To Make Soft Methi Thepla
- While making dough only add a little bit of water at a time. Chopped fenugreek leaves can be very moist, requiring very little water to make a soft pliable dough
- Roll the Theplas gently without putting too much pressure so they will come out soft. They can be rolled thick or thin depending on your preference. Either way, they will be delicious
- When cooking the Thepla on the pan, gently press with a silicone spatula. Over pressing Thepla can make them hard
- Cook the Thepla until it gets light golden brown spots on both the sides
- Add ghee or oil just before taking it out of the pan
Serve the Thepla with spicy achar/pickle and yogurt which you can spice up with a sprinkle of salt and ground cumin. Serve with a cup of hot ginger chai for breakfast or with a cooling sweet-tart mango lassi for snack, lunch, or dinner.
- These Thepla stay good for 1 to 2 days at room temperature making them great as school lunches or to carry when traveling.
- You can also refrigerate the Thepla for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container. To warm up simply microwave in a slightly damp paper towel for 10 seconds per Thepla.
- Theplas can also be frozen for upto 2 months. Place them in between parchment paper and store them in a freezer zip lock bag or container.
- The dough can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container making it a great meal prep recipe. Roll the Theplas as needed.
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- 1 small sweet potato steamed, cooled and peeled (see notes)
- 4 garlic cloves pressed or grated
- 2 cups fresh fenugreek leaves stems trimmed, washed and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 2 cups whole wheat flour for dough
- ¾ cup water use as needed
- ½ cup whole wheat flour for rolling parathas
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- In a big mixing bowl add the peeled sweet potato and mash it with a potato masher. Add garlic, methi, carom seeds, sesame seeds, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and half of the oil.
- Mix well, massaging it with hands so the moisture from the methi is released. Adding little bit water at a time make soft pliable dough. Add remaining oil and knead the dough for a couple of minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes
- Make 8 to 10 lemon-sized round balls from the dough.
- Take one dough ball at a time and roll it in the dry flour coating it well on all the sides. Roll the dough ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle, depending on the thickness you like.
- Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Put the rolled Thepla on the pan and cook on both sides until the paratha is cooked with light brown spots on both the sides. Apply a few drops of ghee on each side and then take it off the pan.
- Roll and cook the rest of the theplas. Serve hot with pickle and yogurt!
- How steam sweet potato in the Instant Pot - Add 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot insert. Place the trivet inside the pot and then put the sweet potato on top of the trivet. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure release valve to sealing. Press the steam button and adjust cook time to 10 minutes. Depending on the size of the sweet potato it will take 10 to 15 minutes for it to steam. Allow natural pressure release and then open the Instant Pot
- Use around ¾ cup of mashed sweet potato for 2 cups of flour
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