Indian bread refers to dry, moist, or soft flat bread usually made from grain flour or milled cereal. The bread, which is essentially unleavened, is eaten in the form of staple food in India and is usually prepared by steaming, direct heat, frying, or broiling method. Among several types of Indian breads, naan, chapatti, paratha, and puri are a few popular ones. The flat breads in Indian cuisine are made by both fermentation and non- fermentation method. Yeast, curd, or baking soda is normally used in Indian flat breads, such as naan to provide them with appropriate environment for fermentation.
Commonly Used Ingredients and Preparation of Indian breads
Ingredients used in the preparation of Indian bread may vary from one region to the other. For example, North Indian flatbreads like roti, paratha, and puri, are usually made with milled flour (maida or aata) and water; and West Coast and South Indian flatbreads like dosa, uttapam, ragi rotis, and Appam are made with rice and black lentils.
Northern Indian flat breads are prepared by forming dough of water and milled flour, which is rolled out, flattened, and then cooked. It can be cooked on a griddle (steel, aluminum, or cast iron) known as tava, or can be deep-fried in frying pan containing hot oil. Roti and paratha are prepared on tava, while bhatura and puri are prepared by deep-frying method.
Southern Indian flat breads are prepared with the help of batter made of black lentils and rice. The batter is poured out on a skillet containing some oil, spread out evenly, and cooked until golden brown in color.
In Central Asia, tandoori roti and naan are widely consumed, and are cooked in tandoor.
Types of Indian Breads
There are numerous typed of breads popular all over India. A brief description about some of the popular Indian breads is as follows:
- Paratha- it is flat bread which is prepared by stuffing potatoes, cauliflower, cheese, onions or any other vegetables. The paratha is layered with butter or ghee, and usually eaten along with curd or pickle.
- Chapati- it is unleavened wheat -based flat bread, cooked on flat skillet (tava). It is usually eaten with Indian curries, vegetable dishes, and lentils.
- Puri- It is also spelled as poori. This Indian bread recipe suggests rolling out the dough made with wheat and salt, into small-sized circles, and deepfrying them in hot oil. The fried puri is puffed up and looks like a round ball, which is normally eaten with potato-based curries, kala chana (chickpeas with dark skin) or white chana (chickpeas with white skin).
- Naan- it is leavened flat bread, which is prepared in oven or tandoor.
- Bhatoora- it is a fluffy and soft deep-fried Indian bread, usually eaten with white chickpeas.
- Appam- it is a kind of fermented pancake, which is prepared with rice batter. There are several types of appam, viz. vattayappam, palappam, and kallappam, where vattayappam is prepared through steaming method, palappam is prepared in a small-sized shallow bottomed pan, and kallappam is prepared on flat iron griddle.
Indian Bread Trivia
Indian flat breads like naans and chapattis, when made with whole grain flour, are packed with fiber and several vitamins.