ROTI the most basic food of India is a fascinating subject.
The Indian bread is made of basic ingredients as grains, salt and water, yet they have tremendous individuality. With more than a thousand years of blending foreign culture with its own, India has developed a unique range of breads made of whole wheat flour. ", or "Puri" etc. Indian Breads made of other grains have descriptive names only, thus we have "Makai ki roti", "Jowar ki roti "(barley flour roti)", "Bajre ki roti " (bajra These are called by distinctive names such as"Chapati","Phulka","Paratha is a grain only grown in India),"chawal-ki-Roti"(roti of rice flour). These Rotis have regional popularity. Rotis are popular in all parts of the country except southern and north-eastern states.
In north and central India wheat is the most commonly used grain and ground whole wheat flour called "aata" is the basic ingredient in most of the rotis.
The most popular roti in India is called chapati which is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Parathas are also made from aata but are rich and flaky, because they have been spread with ghee and folded in such a way that they are somewhat like flaky pastry. They are shallow fried on a "tava"( griddle) with ghee ( clarified butter), and more melted ghee is drizzled on top and the sides of them as they cook. Puris are small and are deep fried so they puff like balloons. They are all unleavened.There is a layered roti known as lachhadar paratha. The dough is first made into a rope, then made into a circle and rolled out three times, half cooked and rolled again and ghee is applied in between every layer while rolling. Parathas are often stuffed with mashed potatoes, minced meat and cauliflower. There is a type of paratha called birahi which uses a stuffing of 'besan' (gram flour) and has an unusual taste and texture. there is another paratha called bathuway-ki-roti. Spinach or bathuway is kneaded together in the flour. It is dark green in colour. Egg stuffed rotis are called baida roti . Roti made of 'besan' (gram flour) known as besan ki roti has chopped onions, garlic and tomatoes added to the dough.A larger variety of unleavened breads can be seen in Gujurat and Rajasthan areas. Most popular is Rotlee made of whole wheat flour like cahapati but much lighter and much thinner. Same way Dal-Dhokli, Khaman, and Khakhra are served in place of roti in Gujurat. Dal-Dhokli is a complete meal in itself. Wheat flour dough is thinly rolled and cut into 2" by 2" pieces and cooked in a spicy lentil gravy. Khakhras are dry crispy rotis which remain fresh for many days. It is kneaded with milk and water. Another roti of Gujurat is Bhakri made from bajra flour. Knead with salt and water and cook on a dry tava( griddle), they are highly nutritious, every 100gms bajra flour ;contains protein-11.6gms, fat- 5gms, minerals-2.3gms, carbohydrates-67.5gms, vitamin A-0.33mgs, calorie value is equal to 361.Traditional unique breads of Rajasthan are baffla. phefre, tikkar and baati from whole wheat flour. For baati the dough is shaped into rounds and then dry roasted in an oven( but traditionally cooked in hot charcoal fire or a fire of dry cowdung). When cooked they are cleaned, cracked slightly and put into a bowl filled with ghee. Bafflas are cooked first in lentil soup then dry roasted. Phefres are round. A thick piece of dough is lightly flattened, dry roasted first Tikkars are very popular among the peasants of Rajasthan. This is a thick roti made of wheat and cornflour, mixed with a lot of chopped garlic, onions, tomatoes, green chillies and coriander leaves. Very little oil is used and it is cooked almost dry in a tava. Dopattri rotis are also very popular in Malva area. They are soft and thin chapatis like rotis, but when pulled apart two separate rotis can be seen The secret of this roti is the technique of rolling the dough. Similarly the popular roti among the peasants of marwar is batia. Then there are those breads that do not have leavening and therefore take longer to make such as naan. The naan is a Persian word which means bread exactly as does the Indian word roti. The main differences between the two is in the flour and cooking method. Names of the breads baked in "tandoor" provide further evidence of their origin. There are also many elaborated naans. The first step about the plain naan is the Roghni naan. The name means red naan, because before baking the naan is given a brushing of saffron water. Then there is the Khurmee naan. Originally this naan was coated with a mixture of khurma( dates) and gur (jaggery) cooked together. Also there is tomato and garlic naan. Badaami naan, taftan, paneer naan are the names given to a delicious variety of naans made with milk eggs and yoghurt. The range of naans available in India are so varied and so delicious that one could eat them by itself with curd, chutneys or pickles.The kulcha is another import from western Asia. It is made from maida. But it is different from naan in many ways. More ghee is used than in naans. They are round in shape and may be stuffed with a variety of fillings like paranthas and puris. Another mouthwatering roti called Sheer-maal also has Persian influence. Sheer in Persian means milk. Then comes Baquakhani is a naan which is an elaborate variation of the sheer-maal except that it is fried on a griddle rather than baked in a tandoor.Another delicious roti made in the tandoor is Khasta roti which is crisp because it is enriched with butter and then baked in a tandoor. It tastes like a pie crust. The naan on the other hand is much softer.Makai ki Roti ( whole corn meal) is served plain with saag or dahi. The Pakwan (Ajwain), roomali roti come from the Middle East.
The most popular and distinctive bread of Bombay is pao or double roti which is similar in taste to the sandwich bread. The Yehudi roti or Jewish bread came to India with the Jews of Baghdad. It is made of maida mixed with khameer and kneaded with water.
Those who live in Calcutta will be familiar with the kathi rolls which make an excellent short meal. It is a feather soft stuffed roti. After the roti is cooked the stuffing is put and the roti is rolled . Kathi rolls, dhakai parathas, Radha bollobhi Luchi are the pride of Calcutta.
In the south India the staple food is rice wheat consymption is much lesser. The malabari paratha from the malabar region of Kerala though is a paratha that is relished.
A FEW VARIETIES OF INDIAN BREADS:
Phulkas or Chapati: Flat, circular, unleavened, griddled, whole wheat flour Indian bread.
Paratha: Layered, griddled, refined flour Indian bread cooked in fat. Makkai ki roti: Roti made using whole corn meal. Besan ki roti: (Punjab & U P ) Gram flour , chopped onions, green chillies and corriander leaves are used. Tandoori roti: Roti baked in the tandoor. It may be leavened . Khasta roti: A roti made using wheat flour, eggs, cumin seeds, baking powder and milk. Shahi roti: (UP) Maida, ghee, almond paste and warm water are used. Bermi roti: (Jodhpuri) Wheat flour split, moong dal soaked overnight, spring onions, chilli powder, cumin seeds, asafoetida and water. It is cooked on a griddle and then on a direct fire on a wired mesh. Mughlai roti: wheat flour, yeast, aniseed, milk, sugar, ghee and water are used. It is leavened , rolled flat into circular shapes and roasted on a hot griddle. Lachha paratha: Flat unleavened , circular, layered bread. It is shallow fried. Khakhra: (Gujarat) Wheat flour, garam masala, fenugreek, ghee. Rolled into very thin chapatis and roasted on a very hot griddle till crisp . Served with ghee and pickles.Phefre: (Rajasthan) It is a Rajasthani farmer's bread. Coarse wheat flour or jowar (barley flour) , cumin seeds and ghee. Malwi roti or 'Dopatri' : (Madhya Pradesh) Stuffed bread made using gram flour, stuffed with bean sprouts, tomatoes and spices. served with 'nariyal ki chutney'. Dhakai paratha: (Bengal) Shallow fried flaky bread. It is rolled flat and round cut through the centre, rolled into a cone flattened and rolled out again. Bathuway ki roti : (Bihar) Bathuway or spinach is mixed in the dough. Rolled into triangles and cooked over low heat on a griddle. Methi ni bhakhri: (Gujarat) A traditional Gujarathi roti made with bajra flour, fenugreek leaves, green chillies, turmeric powder and cooked on a hot griddle. It is served for dinner with chutney. Kashmiri roti (Taktaki) : Wheat flour, pepper, cumin seeds, asafoetida, ajwain. It is kneaded into a stiff dough and rolled into thick discs. It is cooked on low heat. Roghni naan: It is a leavened bread left overnight and baked in a tandoor or an oven . Flour, milk, curd, yeast, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, egg and saffron is used. Khameera naan: Khameer - It is a leavening agent made using maida, sugar, yoghurt and salt which is mixed together into a thin batter and kept in a warm place to ferment. Mix khameer, warm milk, flour and make a dough, rest for half an hour and flatten into a pancake by tossing it from one hand to the other. Pull one side to form a triangle. Bake in a tandoor. Taftan: Leavened bread with milk, yoghurt and egg from UP . It is made perfectly under hot grills. Sheer - mal : (Northern India) Eggs, raisins, khoa, double cream, ghee, yeast and flour are used to make a dough. Essence may be added. it is left to rise for eight hours . It is sprinkled with saffron solution and baked in a tandoor. Baqarkhani : (Hyderabad) Flour, double cream, yeast, cardamom powder, sugar , salt, eggs, milk ,ghee, khoa , poppy seeds, kewra essence or rose water are used. The dough is left to rise overnight, it is rolled into a flat disc folded into half and rolled and again flattened. Sprinkle poppy seeds . Cook on a griddle with ghee. it is also made using a 'dum'. Baqarkhani is a richer version of Sheer - mal.
Roomali roti: A soft dough is made using flour, salt, oil and water. It should be very smooth and elastic. Roll into a round disc and place on the back of the palms move your wrist slowly in a circular motion to make a thin and large roti. Place on a hot inverted kadai . When cooked, fold it like a kerchief. Batia: Wheat flour and gram flour are used to make a soft dough . Roll out into a thick disc , sprinkle corriander, cumin seeds and black pepper and roll , form into a circle and flatten. Cook on a hot griddle with ghee. Puran poli: Lentil stuffed sweet roti from Maharashtra. Phulko luchi: Puffy, deep fried bread from Bengal. Pakwan: This bread is leavened using soda bi carb. Make a stiff dough , roll out into round discs and fry. Sada Kulcha: (Punjab) Plain flour, yoghurt, ghee, sugar, milk, yeast and poppy seeds. The dough is left to rest for six hours , it is baked and shallow fried in a hot griddle. Variations may be made using garlic, mint, saffron, paneer . Tikkar: It is the peasant's bread of Malwa. It is made using whole corn meal. It is cooked on a griddle. Thepla: (Gujarat) Gram flour, methi leaves, chilli powder, corriander powder, turmeric . Puri: These are plain deep fried puffy bread. Koki: (A Sindhi speciality)It is made using flour, pepper, ghee, salt and water. It is rolled thick and fried on a griddle. Dhohdha: (Sind) Barley flour, chopped onions,corriander , lime juice and water is used. A soft dough is made and kept to rest. It is flattened using the palms and cooked on a griddle.
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