Indian classical breads have always fascinated the food lovers. Be it Sheermal, Bakharkhani, Kheema Naan, Bhatura or Dhakai Paratha.

The term Paratha as per Historian Late K.T Achaya on paratha in his book, ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’ as “Wheat dough rolled out, with frequent folding over while smearing with fat, to a square or triangular shape, and pan fried using a little fat to a layery structure. Cauliflowers, potatoes, spinach and methi leaves can be mixed into dough before frying.” 

There are several myths and facts available to dismantle the word Paratha. Some believe it is of a size of a lid of “Parat (a kind of flat round utensils” – hence the name is given whereas some believes that it is a combined word “Parat + Atta = Paratha”.

However, various ancient Indian texts suggest that round flat breads existed in ancient India. Vedic texts mention Purodhashas (the word believed to the precursor to the words pataha or paratha) as thick pancakes, stuffed with dry lentils or vegetables, offered to deities during Vedic rituals.

The word Rotika has been mentioned in the 16th century medical text Bhavaprakasa to describe a bread used to eat curries with. Flatbreads resembling bowls have also been described in Tulsidas’s 16th century epic poem, Ramcharitamanas. Kannada literature between the 10th and 18th centuries also talk about an unusual method of roasting flattened wheat dough that is then eaten with sugar and edible camphor – these methods mentioned are still used in making the Rotis today!

During the medieval period, the Roti is believed to have been a royal favourite. Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari mentions that Mughal Emperor Akbar was extremely fond of eating the thin, roasted, wheat flatbread with ghee and sugar.

Undivided Bengal gave birth to lot of specialities – be it in non-vegetarian delicacies or a vegetarian speciality, a version of rice or flour-based products. One amongst it is Dhakai Paratha. A flaky deep-fried unleavened bread which is a typical breakfast item till today in Bangladesh and many a part of West Bengal too. This particular paratha is considered as a health hazard these days as it a high source of fat but still in a chilly morning eating Dhakai Paratha with Cholar Dal (Gram) and to hear the crackling sound inside the mouth is still considered a royal treat. Some believe that it is originated in Dhaka of now Bangladesh whereas some believe that it is originated in Midnapore district of West Bengal – the authenticity is still unknown. Whatever the case may be whenever a discussion on Indian Speciality Bread occurs the name of Dhakai Paratha would definitely reflect.

Some exclusive Indian Speciality Breads:



Where: All over North India
With What: Chole (spiced chickpea curry)


Where: Kashmir or Punjab
With What: Salted tea or any old curry you like

Rumali Roti

Where: Originally Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, now anyplace with a sizable Muslim population
With What: Usually meat dishes, like creamy galouti kebabs, or the marrow-studded stew nalli nihari


Where: Eaten all over North India
With What: Various, but most famously mango pickle and yogurt


Where: Lucknow
With What: Anything meat-based with warm spices, like nihari or haleem


Where: Kashmir
With What: Quorma


Where: Lucknow
With What: Any non-vegetarian spicy gravy

Verqui Paratha

Where: Lucknow
With What: Almost all gravy items

Khamiri Roti

Where: Entire North India
With What: Kheema or Dal Makhni


Where: Kashmir
With What: Salted Tea



Where: Originally from the South, now available everywhere
With What: Coconut chutney and sambar, a South Indian lentil dish

Neer Dosa

Where: Mangalore
With What: Anything you like, but best with seafood

Mangalore Buns

Where: Mangalore
With What: Coconut chutney and sweet coffee


Where: Kerala
With What: For breakfast, eat with vegetable ishtu (stew) or fiery egg curry


Where: Sri Lanka
With What: Best with mild breakfast curries made with turmeric-stained coconut milk

Malabar Parotta

Where: Kerala
With What: Absolutely everything


Where: Kerala
With What: Fruit and tea for breakfast, curries for lunch or dinner

Akki Roti

Where: Karnataka
With What:Varieties of Pori/Pachadi



Where: Bengal
With What: Great for thick, mustardy Bengali curries

Dhakai Paratha

Where: Actually from undivided Bengal
With What: Choar Dal


Where: Authentically from Undivided Bengal
With What: Great for thick, mustardy Bengali curries


Where: Bihar
With What: Mashed vegetable dishes, called chokha (a favorite: charred eggplant mashed with yogurt, mustard oil, cilantro, and chili)


Where: Orissa, Assam, Bengal
With What: On their own


Where: Meghalaya
With What: In the morning with red tea

Tal Angangaba

Where: Manipur
With What: Nothing



A specialty of the Konkan Coast, the western coastal region between Mumbai and Goa, deep-fried vade (not to be confused with vada, a snack made from deep-fried fermented rice batter in the South, or sabudana vada, made from tapioca) are made from a batter of rice, lentils, and a variety of finely ground spices, often a combination of coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and pepper. Since coriander and fenugreek both act as thickeners, unleavened vade come out of the fryer puffed and hollow like puris. Vade are most often served with a spicy, coconut-based chicken curry as part of a dish called kombdi vade (best eaten at a street cart of the same name in Mumbai).

Where: Konkan Coast (coastal Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka)
With What: Versatile, but ideal with fiery fish curries

Puran Poli

Where: Maharashtra and Gujarat
With What: Usually on its own; in the far South, served with payasam, a thin rice pudding


Where: Gujarat
With What: They travel well with pickles, or are great with vegetable curries at lunch


Where: Maharashtra
With What: Ghee or yogurt


Where: Sindh (western Gujarat/southeastern Pakistan)
With What: Ideally with lime pickle and yogurt


Where: West and Central India, but especially Maharashtra and Gujarat
With What: Any type of curry, vegetable fry, or dal


Where: Mumbai and Goa
With What: Great with minced mutton, deep-fried vegetables (pav bhaji), and, most famously, batata vada


Where: Rajasthan
With What: Spicy Dal and melted ghee


Where: Gujrat
With What: Butter & Jaggery

5 years ago