There are two main staple foods that are inherent to Indian cuisine. Number one has to be rice – this ubiquitous grain is a key feature on Indian dinner tables up and down the country, and even here in the UK at your local curry house or one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants, you would not expect your creamy korma or spicy vindaloo to be served without a fluffy portion of rice on the side. The other staple is, of course, bread. Indian breads are popular throughout the sub-continent in their various guises, from the thick, comforting naan to the everyday roti. Although it is generally considered that the curries of the north – with their thick, richer sauces – tend to lend themselves better to bread than the thinner sauces of the south, bread is enjoyed throughout many of the states. The key grains favoured are dependent on the agricultural offerings of the region – many of the southern states employ maida flour in their bread of choice.
To dispel the myth that bread is mostly consumed in the northern states, we invite you to explore the versatile bread of the south – the parotta. This delicious form of Indian bread is favoured amongst the southern states, particularly in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is also popular in the island country of Sri Lanka, too.
The parotta is a variation of the north Indian paratha and is created from layers of dough, brushed with ghee and kneaded into a spiral that is arranged into a spherical shape. When this ball of dough is rolled flat, it presents a rather attractive flat bread with a raised, spiral pattern.
Traditionally served with a vegetable based kuruma or the spiced curry saalna, featuring chicken, beef or mutton, the parotta is a particular favourite on the street food scene as well as remaining an integral part of weddings, festivals and other celebratory feasts. Here are some of our favourite parottas you just gotta try…
This is one for those that like to spice up their lives (and their bread) with a little bit of Indian heat. Capsicum and onions are stir-fried with delicate pieces of parotta – sometimes the bread is battered with flour and spice and deep-fried for added crunch. Coconut, chilli and curry leaves are added for further delectable flavour.
This is a street food favourite and popular amongst meat lovers in the southern states. The recipe calls for chunks of parotta to be stir-fried with meats, egg and soaked in a spiced sauce. Kothu parotta is a Sri Lankan speciality.
Craving a snack with a little more substance? Try the Ceylon parotta. This version sees the flattened bread folded into a neat parcel, enveloping a scrumptious filling of minced meat, curried vegetables or spicy seafood.
Feeling like a light bite will be enough to satisfy your bread cravings? The coin parotta is, as the name suggests, a mini version of the traditional flatbread. Although not literally the size of coin (more like a side plate), the coin paratha makes a tasty accompaniment to a main meal or a handy, pocket-sized snack.