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Guide to Indian and Pakistani breads

Indian and Pakistani cuisine is known for many things; spicy dishes, great use of herbs and spices, heart warming curries – one thing they aren’t so well known for (but they should be) is their range of delicious breads.

Bread is one of the most vital foods in India and Pakistan as meals are mainly sauce based, which requires a good piece of bread to consume it. Breads you find as you travel east tend to look much different from the bread we eat here in the UK. That is because they are much less likely to make the yeast-risen loaves you find at home. Instead, they are more likely to cook flatbreads over an open stove but there are a few other cooking methods they like to use.

Here is our handy guide to Indian and Pakistani breads, and we think you should try each and every one:

  1. Roti

This traditional flatbread is one of the simplest ways to make bread and for this reason, it is eaten all over the world. This flatbread is made using stoneground wholemeal flour known as atta. The flour is simply mixed with water to make a basic dough with a sprinkle of salt often added for flavour. The dough is rolled out into a flat disk shape before being cooked over a medium-high heat. You will find some sort of roti on nearly every table across India and Pakistani.

  1. Paratha

The paratha builds on the basic roti recipe to create a layered bread that is much fluffier and robust. It is made from wheat flour, similarly to roti, but this time the dough is layered before being rolled into shape and ready for cooking. Because it is thicker than a roti and layered with flavourful ghee, it can be eaten by itself, or with a little yoghurt and pickle or even stuffed with vegetables or spices.

  1. Thepla

If you want more of a snack bread than a side to your meal, Theplas are a great choice. This flatbread is made from fenugreek leaves and wheat flour with Methi leaves directly mixed into the dough. Eaten more as a breakfast across India and Pakistan, Theplas are thick and slightly crispy.

  1. Naan

We all know about Naan breads here in the UK, but across Asia they are rarer compared to other breads like rotis. This leavened, flour-based bread contains active yeast in the dough which makes it more similar to British loaves of bread. Naan breads are typically cooked by being stuck to the inside of a tandoor oven. They are thicker than other flatbreads which makes them a perfect accompaniment to saucy curries.

  1. Bhatura

Bhatura is similar to Naan, another leavened bread; however, this time the bread is kneaded instead of rolled so that it retains its thick shape. Instead of being cooked within an oven, the Bhatura is deep fried, producing a crispy outside encompassing a light, fluffy inside.

We have a huge selection of incredible breads for you to try right here at Royal Nawaab’s restaurant in London.