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Indian Breads


jokhm
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I have gone through all the different threads on all Indian breads located on the eGullet forums, but I have yet to find anything that simply discusses the whole scope of bread names and terminology. As one who is familiar with eating many breads but hearing several different possible names attached to them, there is no clear idea in my mind that separates each one. I'll just name a few things and maybe everyone can help expand the list and elaborate:

Poori

Bhatura

Dosa

Chapati

Paratha

Thanks a lot!

Joel

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As one who is familiar with eating many breads but hearing several different possible names attached to them, there is no clear idea in my mind that separates each one. I'll just name a few things and maybe everyone can help expand the list and elaborate:

Poori

Bhatura

Dosa

Chapati

Paratha

Thanks a lot!

Joel

Joel Welcome Aboard!

If I understand your question right I will be brief in explaining some breads.

First of all I would eliminate Dosa as bread.

Indian bread topic is vast and may need some training and some technical expertise. Indian breads are a magnificient part of Indian meal.

Chapati:

Chapati is cooked on a griddle and is flat. The key ingredient is "atta" which is a whole wheat flour made out of low-gluten wheat. It's probably the most simple of all and plays a vital role in most of the Indian meals.

Paratha:

Paratha is more work than a chapati and more rich as well. A good paratha should have multi thin layers and sometimes can be stuffed as well. Parathas are made from the same dough like used for chapatis but added with ghee or butter in between the layers and also topped with ghee or butter. Ghee is clarified butter.

Poori:

Poori is again the similar dough of chapati and it is rolled flat and deep fried.

Nan:

It is similar to a pizza dough except there is usually no yeast. Nan is kind of puffy, chewy flat bread cooked in the Tandoor oven. (A charcoal fired clay oven). Nan is made out of white flour an all purpose does the job.

:wub::biggrin:

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joel

another welcome to egullet!

what would be the best bread to eat with saag paneer? :biggrin:

or would rice be better?

I will be making it tonight and was thinking of making chapatis to go with it, I haven't had very good success with naan, though it is my favorite Indian bread.

Maybe i need to invest in a tandoor! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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what would be the best bread to eat with saag paneer? :biggrin:

or would rice be better?

I will be making it tonight and was thinking of making chapatis to go with it, I haven't had very good success with naan, though it is my favorite Indian bread.

Maybe i need to invest in a tandoor! :biggrin:

Yes Chapatis would be great with Saag Paneer. How ever if you have both chapati and rice pulao (pilaf) is even better. I am a south Indianso I would do 50/50.

Now Tandoori Rotis or Nan's would be perfect. I understand Tandoori Nans are tough at home. What I believe you could order one from here for home. They cost approx $ 695.00 USD.

Enjoy your dinner. :wub::wub:

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For someone interested in learning about ingredients common to Indian cooking, I highly recommend Linda Bladholm's book, The Indian Grocery Store Demystified.

She categorizes breads into four groups:griddle-cooked, pan fried, deep fried, and oven baked

A few for each group:

griddle-cooked:

chapati

phulka

roti (many variations depending on the flour used)

pan-fried:

paratha (variations with stuffings. Some common to north India are aloo and mooli.)

deep-fried:

puri

bhatura

oven-baked:

naan

kulcha

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I notice that the place I seem to find myself in quite frequently serves a thali with a main choice of either Bhaturas or Chapatis. What would be the difference between the Bhatura and the Poori?

Joel

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Pooris are most often made with whole wheat flour.

Bhaturas are made with all purpose flour (Maida) and has khameer (yeast) in many versions.

Pooris are made for Pujas (religious ceremonies) since there is no yeast and the bread is clean and pure. Bhaturas are more of a fun dish for other special occasions.

Their taste is very different even though each of them are prepared pretty much the same way. Pooris are harder to roll. Bhaturas are easier and maybe a great bread to first make if begining a journery into the realm of Indian bread making.

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I ended up making naan last night (I was going to make chapatis but found out I had no whole wheat flour), I used a Madhur Jaffrey recipe and it actually came out very good, considering it was done in a regular oven.

My question now, is that when I am served naan in restaurants they always seem to have oil brushed on to them, what do they use and is it brushed on before or after the baking? These could have benefited a little from oil, since they were dry-ish on the outside.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Melted butter on the outside. :smile:

And of course after baking.

Thanks!

Her recipe also had an egg in it, that is the first time I had used an egg in naan, how common is that?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My question now, is that when I am served naan in restaurants they always seem to have oil brushed on to them, what do they use and is it brushed on before or after the baking?

Definetely butter after baking.

Naan's as we know traditionally are Tandoor baked. when you slap a naan on the walls of Tandoor, you usually use some oil on the face of the Naan, that keep's the naan being dry and gives you that shine of the bread. A regular oven? I am not sure.

Yes, Egg is very commonly used in Naans. :blink:

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I've been making Naan at home with this recipe:

http://barbeque.allrecipes.com/az/naan.asp

I use a cast iron griddle and have been pleased with how they turn out. I've also tried baking them on a stone in the oven but they came out more like pita.

Crystal

We like the mooooon........Coz it is close to us...........

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on this bussiness of nan or naan

I believe, origionally all you did was add water to the flour and leave it to ferment on its own and let nature leaven it. you saved a little bit of this dough and used it as a starter in your next batch of dough, like sourdough.

but now, specially overseas ( outside India) they are using everything, milk, water, yeast, baking powder, eggs, butter, oil, salt, sugar etc.

about the butter on the naan, its a matter of personal preference, some do and some do not. Just as some times you find onion seeds on the naan and sometimes you do not.

When you shape the doughball into the nan, if you apply nothing to the side facing the charcoal your nan can turn out a little dry. Moistening this side with water will result in a softer nan and aplying oil will make it crispier

The butter or oil which gives it glaze is applied after the nan is done.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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Bhasin, at least a couple restaurants in NYC are still making the Naan dough using the previous days dough.

DO you do that?

Or are you using yeast?

Few use eggs, but you know, every now and then I am amazed at the taste of egg in Naans. It makes me smile a big smile, and I love eating them. I love eggs.

I also enjoy those that are topped with Nigella (onion seeds) or even Sesame seeds, but I find the plain ones brilliant too. Go figure. :rolleyes:

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When I was making my naan, I sort of forgot about the very last one and left in in the oven for about twice the time of the others, it came out a nice brown and was quite crispy.

It wasn't really soft like the other naan, but it was actually quite enjoyable, my husband really liked it.

I wonder if the addition of egg is the reason I liked this one so much, I was never happy with them before and had never added egg.

There is a restaurant i went to in Cleveland that had a choice of like 4 or 5 different naans to choose from, I remember trying an onion and a nigella one.

These are on my list of to make next!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Bhasin, at least a couple restaurants in NYC are still making the Naan dough using the previous days dough.

DO you do that?

Or are you using yeast?

Suvir, I have to confess NO.

Our guy uses baking powder AND some yeast. Sounds crazy? To me too. But the nan turns out good, everyone loves it and I keep my mouth shut.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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Would you happen to have a camera with which you can take a picture for us the next time?

The recipe link you share is rather interesting.  Would love to see what the end result is like.

My scanner needs to be replaced but, I can develope my next roll onto a disk and post the image.

Crystal

We like the mooooon........Coz it is close to us...........

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Would you happen to have a camera with which you can take a picture for us the next time?

The recipe link you share is rather interesting.  Would love to see what the end result is like.

My scanner needs to be replaced but, I can develope my next roll onto a disk and post the image.

Crystal

Thanks Crystal! :smile:

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Kalastanya in NYC makes a great Fenugreek Paratha.  I'd love to make my own.  Anyone have recipe?

Joseph,

Welcome to eGullet and the Indian forum. :smile:

I am posting below a recipe given to me by a friend from Bombay. I have never tested the recipe, so I hereby issue a disclaimer. I think it should work fine. Use very little water to begin with, since you can always add more. If you want, please email me, and I can send you a few recipes for Indian flatbreads that I have written, maybe you can compare them and ensure that what you do is similar.

I love Theplas (what many Indian stores sell today and call Methi Paratha). They come from Gujarat, a state in Western India. The state where Mahatma Gandhi was born and lived for a large chunk of his life.

Keep us posted on how the bread comes out. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Theplas(Fenugreek Scented Flat Bread from Gujarat)

1 cup chapati flour (whole wheat flour)

1/4 cup chaawal kaa atta (rice flour)

1/4 cup besan (gram flour)

1/2 cup tightly packed haraa dhaniya (cilantro), washed and chopped very finely

1 bunch haree methi(fenugreek leaves) or substitute with 1/2 cup Kasoori Methi, washed and chopped finely

1/4 teaspoon haldi (turmeric powder)

1 tsp. laal mirchi (red chili powder)

1 tsp. til (sesame seeds)

1/2 tsp. zeera (cumin seeds)

3 green chilies, minced very finely

2 tbsp. canola

salt to taste

Flour for dusting

Canola to shallow fry

Mix all three flours together and sieve. Use a fork and mix the flours nicely. Set aside.

Mix all ingredients except the oil for shallow frying.

Knead into a soft pliable dough using as much water as required. Use your knuckles and your wrists to really knead the dough well. The more you knead the softer and more pliable the dough will get.

Divide this dough into 12 equal rounds.

Roll these rounds into circles, about 6" in diameter. Use flour to dust the circles as you roll them.

Heat a skillet or a griddle, shallow fry these circles by applying a little oil on both sides. Fry until cooked. Drain on paper towels and let cook to room temperature.

Repeat for all 12 rounds.

Store these flat breads in an air-tight container.

Eat with a pickle of your choice or with some raita.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Would you happen to have a camera with which you can take a picture for us the next time?

The recipe link you share is rather interesting.  Would love to see what the end result is like.

Here you go:

The dough after the first rise, shaped into balls:

fbca4bf3.jpg

On the cast iron griddle:

fbca499f.jpg

The final product:

fbca4ac7.jpg

I caught an episode of Baking With Julia the other night with Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford making naan-I think I'll try their recipes and techniques next.

Crystal

edit to repair funky pic link.

Edited by Crystal (log)

We like the mooooon........Coz it is close to us...........

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I used a Madhur Jaffrey recipe and it actually came out very good, considering it was done in a regular oven

I made naan last night using MJ's recipe and was very pleased. Her receipe uses yeast, baking powder and egg. They puffed up like tear drop shaped ballons. My husband and I had the butter or no butter discussion, but I found that I liked them brushed with melted butter after they came out of the oven. Also I love them with the onion seed as well.

I have a question for the experts (since I am not one) - I am planning an East Indian dinner for 15-20 people in a few weeks. I haven't got the menu set in stone yet (suggestions are welcome), but will serve it buffet style , with tables set up to eat at on the lawn. I am wondering about breads. I love most of the breads - chapatis, pappadums, pooris, naan, etc. However, it seems to me that most breads are best straight out of the oven. Given the time pressures of a muti dish dinner I think that I probably don't want to fuss with last minute bread preparations. Is there a bread that (1) I can do before hand and reheat or (2) do most of the prep before and minimal fussing at the last. :hmmm:

Life is short, eat dessert first

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