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Looking for some main course items or Indian cuisine? Get a list of 12 most popular Indian flatbreads here.
Flatbreads are typical authentic Indian everyday food. Our meal is incomplete without flatbreads. Traditionally flatbreads are unleavened bread which is made without yeast. Just flour, salt, and water to knead the dough. These are instant ones as you don’t need leavening time for making flatbreads.
If you are not allergic to gluten, then these homemade whole wheat flatbreads are the best dinner mains to accompany your curries. Or just put some sauces and veggies and wrap it for your lunch or kids tiffin. Excellent ideas.
The more common variety is made with whole wheat flour. And is popular as “chapati/ roti/ phulka” in different parts of the country. This is also the healthiest option as compared to the refined flour ones like a tortilla, pita bread, naan, and kulcha. Brush some ghee or clarified butter after it’s baked.
The other varieties of flatbreads like naan, bhature, kulcha, paratha need little variation. But however small variation brings in a lot of change in taste, texture of these flatbreads. One can make these flatbreads with just butter or may love to stuff veggies, cheese to make them extra delicious and healthy.
Regional Variations to Indian Flatbreads
North Indian Flatbreads
In North India, flatbreads are the staple food, unlike the eastern part where rice is the staple food. However in the eastern part and western part also people consume flatbreads on a daily basis. Phulkia, naan, kulcha, tandoori roti, Makki ki roti, lacchha paratha are more common in North Indian states like UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc.
Some other deep-fried flatbreads like poor and bhature are also common and loved in North Indian Cuisine. Chole bhature, chole kulcha, makki ki roti with Sarson ka saga are some best food combos of North India. Best ones you will get on roadside dhaba on highways.
West Indian Flatbreads
Whereas West India and South India, a type of flatbread is made from multi-grains like jawar (sorghum), ragi (finger millet), bajra (pearl millet). In Maharashtra, “thalipeeth” is one of the most popular flatbread from multi-grains. It contains many grains and cereals like wheat, rice, bajra, jowar, ragi, green gram, black gram, horse gram, chickpeas, and many more. Each of them is roasted and milled together to make the flour. You can also get readymade flour in your grocery store and supermarkets.
East Indian Flatbreads
In Eastern part of our country, like Kolkata, Odisha, Bihar, rice is the staple food. However roti, paratha, poori, luchi are also loved food there as well.
How to make Indian flatbreads from scratch?
This is one of the simplest recipes but may be difficult for beginners as compared to other stuff like prepping or sauteing. But when you know how to make a dough, half of your work is complete.
Once the dough is ready, make small balls and roll them into circles (again difficult for beginners 😉 ). Place the rolled bread on tawa or griddle and cook both sides till it’s little puffy. With the help of a tong, place it on direct flame and it will puff like a balloon if rolled well.
Making of Chapati/ Roti/ Paratha Dough (wheat flour)
In a mixing bowl, take wheat flour, a pinch of salt. Now add water slowly and gradually. Keep mixing flour and water till it forms into a dough-like structure. If you will add all water at a time, the dough may turn watery and sticky.
Make sure it’s not too watery or too stiff. It should be soft, smooth, and must not be sticking to hands/ fingers. Now knead the dough for good 10 minutes. “The more you knead the dough, the softer the chapati/ roti/ bread will be” – magic mantra from my mom. So give enough pressure of your palm and fist while kneading the dough.
Tips to fix:
- If your dough turns sticky and a little more watery, you can fix it by adding additional flour in batches till you reach the desired consistency of dough for roti/ chapati/ paratha.
- If it’s that watery and can’t be fixed by adding little flour, then make wheat flour crepes out of it. Anyways it won’t be a waste in that case too.
Making Poori Dough (puffed bread)
Poori is a deep-fried bread with whole wheat flour. Same recipe if you will make with refined flour or maida, it will be Luchi (popular in Kolkata). These are regional variations. This is also smaller in size. The dough for poori is way different than those of chapati/ roti/ paratha. Here along with flour, salt, you can add little oil and carom seeds (optional).
The dough is relatively tight for the poor. This is because we need to roll it without dusting with flour. However, you can grease the board and pin for the rolling process.
Similarly, for khasta or kachori, you need to add oil to the flour and mix until crumbles. Then add water gradually making a semi-stiff dough. This makes the kachori crispy and flaky. The same is to make dough for samosa.
Making Dough for Naan or Kulcha
Naan and kulcha are made with fermented or leavened dough. For fermentation, use yeast, baking powder, baking soda/ fruit salt, curd. For vegan dough, use activated yeast mixture. To make yeast free dough curd, soda, baking powder. Detailed process of dough is there in each type bread recipe. After you make the dough, proof the dough in some warm place. You can also use microwave and instant pot for quicker proofing of dough.
Types of Indian Flatbreads
As described above, the making process is different for each or some types of flatbreads. Here is a list of 10 easy flatbread recipes. These include roti, paratha, kachori, bhature, naan, etc.
Tandoori roti is a popular North Indian recipe. This is a popular restaurant-style bread cooked in tandoor or clay fire. Tandoori roti is one of the loved street food in North Indian dhabas. This is a whole wheat recipe similar to plain chapati but the thickness and cooking method differ.
Lachha paratha is a layered flatbread. The dough can be of whole wheat or refined flour. The dough-making process is similar whereas the layers are as a result of rolling style. This goes best with any curry or dal items. Lachha paratha is almost similar to Kerala Paratha.
Aloo paratha is again another popular North Indian food. This is nothing but stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes. This is one of the most loved breakfast items and popular dhaba food (street food) in North India.
Paneer paratha is a paneer-stuffed flatbread. This is a high protein breakfast item. Though it’s popular across India, this is a major North Indian food. This is made by stuffing cottage cheese or paneer.
Mughlai paratha is another type of cottage cheese or paneer-stuffed flatbread. This is a popular street food of Kolkata but a vegetarian version of it. The dough normally contains refined flour but to make this healthy, you can also make this whole wheat flour.
Gobi paratha is a cauliflower-stuffed flatbread. Here you will have to spice up the grated cauliflower and then stuff them to your flatbread (just like aloo paratha). The dough is regular flatbread (roti) dough. This is an excellent filling breakfast recipe from North India. Gobi paratha is a winter special flatbread as fresh cauliflower is available mostly in winters. But since nowadays these are available all season, you can easily make them any time of the year.
Methi paratha is also popular as methi thepla in Maharashtra and Gujurat. This is an easy flatbread and one of the best nutritious Indian flatbreads. Spice it up with ground spices and mix with fresh fenugreek leaves. The rest process would be same as other paratha recipes. This is excellent for kid’s snacks or Tiffin box also.
I make dal paratha from my leftover cooked dal. This is the best way to use leftover dal. Any dal is okay to make dal paratha. Easy, healthy and high protein breakfast and tiffin box recipe.
Bhature is a deep-fried bread. This is divinely goes with chole masala or vegan chickpeas curry. But my bhature is not vegan. If you want to make vegan bhature, use non-dairy curd. This recipe has no yeast.
Naan is another delicious Indian bread made with refined flour. You can also make this with half-half flour to make it healthier. Normally you will have to leaven the dough using yeast or other leavening agents like baking powder. This is a vegan naan recipe That goes well with any restaurant style curries.
This is an authentic North Indian recipe. In fact a Punjabi food. This is a combo of aloo paratha and naan I must say. This stuffed Kulcha naan is extremely delicious and also easy to make. Serve it with Amritsari chole for best pairing. The leavening agent can be yeast, baking powder, curd, etc. Read the full recipe here on the link below.
Aloo kachori is one of the popular North Indian breakfast recipe. This is normally aloo or potato stuffed poori. But to make this little crispy, the dough is different than regular poori dough. It should not be as stiff as regular poori dough. The dough should be soft as regular flatbread dough. Read detailed recipe here.
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