I love Breads… Bread (in its various forms) is the most widely consumed food item in the world. In India alone, there are hundreds of varieties of breads. Breads in India are usually made in pans, on charcoal fire may be deep-fried or in clay ovens (Tandoor) and not always baked. From breakfast to dinner people have breads in many forms.
Following are few of the many health benefits of breads:
- Enriched with Nutrients like Vitamins B and E & minerals such as copper, zinc, iodine, manganese, calcium and other mineral salts.
- Good for Skin: Chappati is one of the foods that are good for our skin. Adding a touch of glow to our skin is one of the benefits roti can give.
- Power Packed with Energy: Breads are an excellent source of carbohydrates and contain whole wheat. This can provide with ample fuel for the day and keep us satiated.
North India is major producer of wheat. People in North India loveBreads, wheat bread (Roti) being their staple food. Since I live in Delhi, I have had the opportunity to try many varieties of bread from North India. I have tried different kinds of Parathaa, Kulchha, Naan, Phulka, Sheermal, Bhatoore and few more to count. People here usually love breads that are made in tandoor like the Naan and the Tandoori Roti. However, on a daily basis they prefer to eat Phulkas with their favourite veg or meat dish.
There are hundreds of Shops selling their own speciality dishes and with some legendary shops, which are more than hundred years old like the Babu Ram Paranthe wala, Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan, Kanaihya Lal Durga Prasad and Babu Ram Devi Dayal, to name a few. Despite many modern day challenges, they are still the best and have a rich history. It is amazing to see so many different varieties of breads here. Among all the breads, I liked Sheermal the most. It is a sweet festive bread is made up of Maida, Ghee, Sugar, Milk and Saffron Strands. It is popularly relished with Nihari, across the country during Eid and Ramadan. Sheermal is one of the Hot-selling Breads at Parathe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk.
I love the fragrance of the Khameeri Roti, a Mughal bread leavened in Tandoor. Khameer in Urdu means Yeast, so this bread has a soft and chewy texture that goes well with Nihari and Korma dishes. You can find this one in alleys of Old Delhi or any popular Mughlai Restaurant. One thing I love about Mughlai breads is that they have many Ingredients in common but they differ in terms of texture and Flavour.
Baqarkhani is yet another, sweet biscuit-like bread made from flour, baking powder, ghee, milk, raisins, almonds and kewra. This is a rich Golden Brown Crispy bread, which is bound to take you to the next dimension.
West India has a dry climate so people here have breads, which are usually dry and unleavened. Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine have some of the amazing breads in the country. Gujaratis have Methi Thepla, Bhakri – a thicker version of chappati, Khakhra and Fafda. Fafda is – crispy and thin as paper, and can be spiced or flavored as per choice. I love Jalebi and Fafda, a common evening snack of Gujarati people, which has both sweet and savory combo.
In Maharashtra, Chapati is known as “GHADICHI POLI”. Bhakri is their famous bread which is made with millets like Bajra and Jowar and forms a part of daily food in Rural areas. Maharashtrian Bhakri is thick, dry and eaten with vegetable curries.
Thalipeeth is a spicy flavoured bread with many ingredients like whole-wheat flour, Jowar flour, Rice flour, Gram flour, Bajra flour. It is usually made on iron skillets topped with butter.
Amboli, is a typical Marathi dish, which is soft and fluffy and tastes better when served with Kolhapuri Chicken Curry. It is made of rice and urad dal, methi seeds and salt, the ingredients that you get in your kitchen easily. It is similar to the Chilka Roti that we usually make in Eastern India.
Vada Pao and Misal Pao are typical Sunday breakfasts of a Marathi family. Vada Pao is Pao (Buns) centered with a Batata Vada (Aloo patty Coated and fried with gram flour batter) and some chutney and raw onion rings. Missal pao is just like vada pao but the masala is different. The Masala is made with Moth bean sprouts, potatoes and spices cooked together and topped with farsans (Namkeens). They taste better with a dollop of butter on top.
South India has a mind-blowing plethora of food range. Since rice is the staple food down south, most of the dishes are made of rice. Breads are made of rice flour, fermented rice etc. The most famous bread from south and my personal favorite is the Dosa, which is a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice and black lentils batter. It is famous in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Uthapam is a thick dosa like bread made with urad dal and rice in a ratio of 1:3, both fermented and made into a pancake which is usually served with sambar and chutney. One can try a combo of Medu Vada and Idli, which has both the crispiness from Medu Vada and the softness from idli both mixed and topped with sambar or Aloo Chana Jhol (pea and potato curry). Another of my favorite breads from South is Malabari Parotha from Kerala. This paratha dough is made up of refined flour, milk, sugar, salt, egg and then cooked over skillet or flat topped pan till golden crispy brown. Malabari Parotha has layers, hence also called as “lachcha” which is the specialty of this parotha, generally served with chicken gravy.
North East India
North East India has a simple yet tasty range of speciality breads. All the North Eastern States have their own typical breads with similar ingredients but different flavours. Sel Roti is a famous bread from Sikkim, Darjeeling, Nepal, which is made mostly during the festive season. Sel Roti is prepared with fermented Rice batter and is deep-fried until crunchy. It’s original shape is just like deep fried Onion Rings.
Tibetan bread is originally from Tibet but is famous in the North Eastern States of India. This bread is similar to Roti, but is hard on the outside and soft inside. It is also known as stovetop bread in the region, and can be prepared within half an hour. This healthy bread is served with yak cheese dish.
Sha Phaley is a deep fried bread, which is a similar but savoury version of Gujjiyas. The outer covering is of refined flour and the filling is made of vegetables like carrots, leeks, onions, cabbage and the non-veg version is made using a mixture of cabbage and beef or mutton, this bread is deep fried till golden brown and served with any chutney. Some exotic breads are not so popular but have a unique flavour. Chyadung Byasu is commonly eaten bread in regions near Tibet, and is made of maize flour. Similar but with different base Zheroe is a bread made with rice flour.
Khabzeys is also a flour based bread had as morning breakfast with Solija (Butter Tea). Phapar ki Roti, a bread originally from Nepal and had by people in North East. It is made of Buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta) and is just like a pancake. Kudo Ko Roti is also from Nepal and very famous among the North East People, it is made from finger Millet Batter spread over the banana leaf and pan roasted slowly. Another famous bread is Dhiro that is usually prepared during special occasions. This one is prepared with millet porridge and butter baked on top of skillet. Dhiro is eaten with Sidra ko Achar, a kind of Pickle from North East.
The breads of East India are influenced by north and south of India. In Odisha, Poori is a bread made from pure whole-wheat flour, deep-fried and best complimented with potato curry. Same Poori is called Luchchi in West Bengal. Luchchi is made with refined flour and ghee and then deep-fried, while poori is made from pure whole-wheat flour. In Jharkhand they have Chilka Roti which is just rice batter and made into thin crepes usually served with Laal Chai (Red Tea) or potato curry or Meat dishes.
Pitha is a bread made with batter of rice flour or wheat flour that is shaped and optionally filled with sweet or savoury fillings. When filled, the pitha’s pouch is called a khol “container”) and the fillings are called Pur. Pitha is common in Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. Chaukoli Pitha, a bread from Odisha is similar to Uthapam and served with potato and gram curry plus chutney.
Gulgula or Goppo is another bread from rural areas Odisha and Jharkhand. It is prepared with whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Gulgula tastes best with any vegetable curry dish. Lachcha Paratha is a bread of great importance in West Bengal. People usually have this bread with meat or egg wrapped inside it, and is famously known as the Kolkata Kathi roll.
West Bengal has another famous bread, the Radhaballavi. It is actually a kachori stuffed with Urad and Chana Daal paste, seasonings, herbs and chillies, deep fried till golden brown and served with Bengali style Aloo Dom.
The cuisine of Bihar is highly seasonal. The Sattu Paratha is very famous as Sattu or Channa Sattu keeps the tummy cool during summer and is healthy due to its nutritional properties. Another Bread is Sattu Poori, which is poori stuffed with a filling of sattu, onion, garlic, ginger and other spices and herbs. My Favourite is Litti-Choka! Litti or Batti is a dough ball made up of wheat flour, salt and water and then stuffed with a dry preparation of Sattu and spices. The Litti balls are cooked on a Bhatti (charcoal fire) then crushed and dipped in Desi Ghee. This Litti is served with the chokha, which is boiled potatoes and eggplant Mash seasoned with salt, pepper, virgin mustard oil, chilli, kasundi(mustard chutney), and Green Chutney all together mixed and served with Litti balls. Three medium-sized littis with chokha is a wholesome meal. There are more Breads from Bihar like Daal Puri, which is cooked dal filled in a puri, Posta Dana Paratha which is poppy seeds soaked overnight and grinded with spices and chillies to a paste and then stuffed in parathas.
A try out recipe for my readers 🙂
I offer a special bread recipe for you. This bread has long history, is a popular traditional food of Adivasis. It’s one of the famous breakfast among the People of Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Simple yet amazing bread to have with your family this quarantine season with your favourite vegetable curry or my personal favourite authentic Beef Curry.
- ARWA RICE – 1 CUP
- CHANA DAAL – 1 CUP
- WHOLE CUMIN- ½ TSP TOASTED
- REFINED OIL- QUANTITY SUFFICIENT FOR DEEP FRYING
- ROCKSALT TO TASTE
- SOAK THE DAAL AND RICE SEPARATELY OVERNIGHT.
- GRIND THE RICE AND DAAL SEPARATELY.
- AERATE THE MIXTURE USING A WHISK OR BY HAND, UNTIL DOUBLE THE ORIGINAL BATTER QUANTITY.
- MIX BOTH THE BATTERS.
- ADD ROCKSALT AND TOASTED CUMIN. MIX.
- HEAT OIL FOR FRYING. .
- DEEP FRY THE DHUSKA BATTER IN BATCHES USING A SPOON TO POUR.
- DEEP FRY TILL IT TURNS GOLDEN BROWN AND FULLY COOKED.
- TAKE OUT ON A PAPER TOWEL TO SOAK THE EXCESS OIL.
- SERVE WITH BEEF CURRY.
* Beef curry is my personal recommendation; you can eat it with your choice of any curry dish.