Since the Stone Age men have been making bread. Most of the early breads were mainly unleavened with different grains, thickness, shape, and texture varied from culture to culture. Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Indian breads are mainly unleavened and are grilled on a tava (flat pan) or fried rather than baked. Roti, Naan, Dosa are some of the most popular Indian breads. Breads are normally eaten with curries, lentils or chutneys. Based on the local ingredients grown in each region the bread differs.
In North India, the breads are mainly flat are made from wheat flour. The dough is made and then using a rolling pin or by hand the dough is shaped in a circular fashioned. People normally add a layer of stuffing which can be vegetables, Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or even minced meat to these breads. Some of the popular North Indian breads are:
- Chapatti (soft and circular) eaten on a daily basis in most Indian house holds in North India.
- Parathas (thick and flaky) served with Indian gravy. There are several versions of stuffed Paratha most common ones are Aloo Paratha and Gobi Paratha.
- Naan (thin crust flat bread) this bread is cooked a in a traditional tandoor oven. This bread is normally topped with cheese or garlic, etc.
- Poori or Puri (Deep fried) best eaten hot and a perfect accompaniment for Chole. Popular for kids.
- Kulcha (thick and circular) – The flour in knead into circular shaped bread and baked in an earthen oven. The bread is piped with homemade butter
In South Indian bread are mainly made from rice flour and coconut. Some of the popular ones are
- Dosa (Rice crepe) is normally, stuffed with potatoes and served with chutney or Sambar.
- Rava Dosa is a variation of Dosa which is made from Semolina and has a crispier texture.
- Appam – fermented bread usually prepared with finely powdered rice flour. It is served with thick gravy normally chicken curry.
- Kerala Parotha flaky, buttery bread which is made by hand stretching the dough into a long string and coiling it to form circular bread.
- Uttapam – is a thick pancake, with toppings cooked right into the batter,
In Central India there is a blend of grains used to make breads like Jowar (Sorghum), Bajra (Pearl Millet), Ragi (Millet), and lentils. Some of the popular ones are
- Puran Poli is a flatbread with a sweet lentil filling. This is popular bread in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra and makes a great breakfast dish. But it is equally delicious served as a mid-afternoon snack.
- Bakri is rice flour bread. It is popular in Maharashtra and Goa. In Goa it is made with coconut and steamed in a banana leave.
- Thalipeeth is multigrain bread which is served with “Toop “homemade clarified butter.
- Lacha Paratha this is layered flat bread which is eaten with vegetable or curry.
- Raj Kachori – a crunchy version of a poori which is filled with spicy delicious condiments. Served as a snack or appetizer.
Besides the breads mentioned in the article there are several breads like Tomle Tchot, Besan Pooda, and Coloyo.