The Delicious Diversity of Flatbreads at Shakinah
Indian cuisine is renowned for its rich tapestry of flavours and textures, and at the heart of this culinary canvas are the diverse flatbreads that accompany almost every meal. At Shakinah, we’ve made sure our clients get the chance to savour all four of the main Indian flatbreads, in a myriad of interpretations. Flatbreads are an integral part of Indian cuisine, whether they’re used as a dipping instrument or a cradle for luscious meats and legumes. Although they may seem similar, there is a unique recipe and technique for each of these flatbreads. Let’s break it down for you:
Believed to have originated in Persia, naan had made its way to India via the Mughal Empire. Naan bread is a soft and fluffy cloud of carb, normally identified by its doughy and elevated similarity to Neapolitan pizza dough. This chewy bread is made with all-purpose flour and yeast, but what gives it its unique texture and flavouring is yoghurt and ghee. Our naan is baked in our tandoori clay oven, giving it a smoky flavour and its distinctive charred bubbles on the surface. Naan often comes in stuffing variations, notably butter, garlic, cheese, coconut or Peshwari.
Kulcha is a North Indian bread that is often associated with Punjab culture. It has a soft and slightly thicker consistency to naan, and it’s definitely airier on the inside. The main cooking difference between kulcha and naan is the use of baking powder instead of yeast, giving it that lifted element. These are also cooked in a tandoor, which results in a crispy outer layer and a soft interior. At Shakinah, we offer two options for stuffing – onion or fresh mint.
Paratha is a versatile flatbread enjoyed throughout India, with regional variations. Think of it as India’s answer to the pancake, both in shape and versatility. It’s thicker than both naan and kulcha, with layers that are delicate and flaky. To make paratha, we use whole wheat flour for an earthier flavour, water, and sometimes a bit of oil or ghee. It can also be stuffed with various ingredients such as minced chicken or lamb. Unlike naan or kulcha, parathas are cooked on a griddle, or tava, with a drizzle of oil or ghee, resulting in a crispy exterior and soft interior. We recommend pairing parathas with raita, pickles, or a side of curry sauce.
Roti is a staple flatbread in India, widely consumed across the country. This is a thin, soft and flexible bread, not dissimilar to a Mexican tortilla wrap. We make our roti with whole wheat flour and water, and we don’t usually add any fat, unless we’re serving our butter roti which is generously salted and served with lashing of butter. These are also cooked on a tava, and may in fact puff up when cooked properly. They make a wonderful addition to biryanis, vegetables and lentils.