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Your Guide to North Indian Bread

Your Guide to North Indian Bread

Kulcha bread, one type of North Indian bread (photo by Creative Commons user Jasonlam)

Sid Khullar | Chef's Blade

Naan

Naans are made using dough made of refined flour with a leavening agent of some sort. Some use fermented dough, others may use yeast and few people mix active yoghurt into the dough. The end result however, is the same – the dough must rise. Naans vary in size from a few inches across to a monster I’ve personally had the pleasure of demolishing, which was a little more than 1.5 feet in diameter. Typically, Naan’s are cooked in the tandoor, though an oven does the job too. Coal however, delivers a flavor that cannot be matched by a conventional oven.

Stuffed Naan (Amritsari)

Amritsar is an important city in the state of Punjab. The stuffed Naan takes its name from this city and is also called Amritsari Naan. A stuffed naan is made using the Naan dough, stuffed with a filling similar to a stuffed paratha and usually rolled into a circle. It is then stuck to the inner walls of the Tandoor to cook.

Paratha

There are many types of parathas and they’re all high in caloric value but quite delicious.

Typical Paratha

A thin layer of oil or clarified butter (ghee) is spread on the surface of the rolled Roti and folded until it’s a square about an inch across, with oil being spread on every un-oiled surface that’s exposed upwards. It is then rolled again and the process is repeated a few times. The Paratha is then cooked on a hot griddle, with liberal splashes of oil or ghee. The final result is a crisp (or not) bread that is multi layered and tastes quite good with just about anything. Typically, it isn’t eaten with non-vegetarian dishes. In ethnic Muslim cuisine, this is also called Roghani Roti, where ‘Roghani’ refers to ‘fat’.

Stuffed Paratha

The stuffed paratha starts out as a Roti rolled out, in the centre of which is placed a dollop of stuffing (spiced, mashed boiled potatoes, cauliflour etc). The Roti is then picked up by the edges, sealed (by pressing together) and then rolled out again. This is then cooked the same way as a Paratha. Typically it is served crisp, with yoghurt (sometimes whipped) with pickles. An idea after-paratha drink is sweet, milky tea.

Next Page: More on Roti and Paratha as well as Cheela and Kulcha>>