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The Naan & Roti Chronicles

Differences between Roti, Naan, Chapati, Paratha, Kulcha & host of other breads out there?

Major difference is where it is made: Usage of Tandoor/Clay Oven would make it fall under the Naan style of making category & Usage of Concave Iron Griddle(Tava) makes them fall in the Roti’s style of making category.

Naan’s preparations have processed flour (Maida) leavened with yeast which results in the thick or puffed up look, where as the roti’s, phulka’s,chapathi’s are whole wheat thin bread unless you are using fillings or experimenting with different flours or yeast


Paratha – Means layers of atta, thick round flat bread popular in the north of India & made on the Tava

Chapati/Phulka – A thin flat bread made on the tava, it has very little or no salt used in its preparation so as to support the Indian spicy dishes. The word Chapat which means to slap, forms the basis of slapping the dough between your fingers and making it into round shape

Roti– The term roti means bread in Sanskrit and the preparation style is the same as Chapati. There are different methods of making Chapati/Roti. One is on direct flame and another is semi cooked on tava and then completed on direct flame, while the popular third one is directly on the tava

Naan – The word Naan refers to all breads but the Hyderabadi naan is perceived differently. It is called Sheermal in many parts of Lucknow and Northern States but it is not the sweet version what we get here in terms of our Naan. The few varieties available are:

  • The Square Naan – Called the Char Koni Naan, One of the most popular variants of Naan , designed in such a way that it can easily be torn into four pieces. Saving of food , avoiding waste and sharing the bread among others on the same table were some of the reasons for its design. This is served with Nihari as an accompaniment
  • The heart shaped Naan – It is popularly served during weddings, majorly as an accompaniment to the Marag (Mutton Broth/Spicy Mutton Soup). No need to explain the significance of heart shape at a wedding
  • The Star Shaped, Oblong shape and the round shape are only available on custom bulk orders for weddings or functions.

Naan (Square Naan or the Char koni Naan)

Kulcha – Clay oven is used to make this popular thick round bread, originated in Punjab and usually made with stuffing’s of vegetables and meat



Sheermal – A circular bread which is slightly sweet as it is kneed with milk. It goes well with Khoorma or Quorma during weddings



There are always exceptions to the above, few of them are:

Tandoori Roti – Ingredients of a Roti but made in a Tandoor hence the name


Tandoori Roti

Rumali Roti – An inverted concave iron griddle or wok surface is used to make the famous roti which when folded looks like a Rumal (Handkerchief). Origins of which are credited to Hyderabad during the Nizam’s rule who used to wipe excess oil off his hands after a heavy oil laden meal using this.

Old Forklore which you probably won’t find on the net: A lavish dinner was thrown by the Nizam for the British, during the course of the dinner a senior dignitary arrived and the Nizam in a hurry to greet him wiped his hands clean using whatever he could find nearby, which incidentally was this roti which looked a kerchief, hence the name stuck


Rumali Roti


Rumali Roti

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