A crunchy overhaul

Flat breads, an Indian staple, are moving beyond the regular fare

A crunchy overhaul

From paneer makhani flatbread to kalonji kulcha, the twists are many, strange yet mouth-watering.

Bindu Gopal Rao

Breads are a staple at every meal and while curries have seen much change, the bread was somehow always left behind. This now seems set to change as chefs are experimenting with innovative fillings and grains to ensure that flat breads become interesting and tasty. As India unlocks, it might be a good time to indulge and try out these flavours.

The variety on plate

The twists are many — strange yet mouth-watering. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a tandoori ragi ka masaledar nanza, makhmali pudina and rosemary paratha, chukandari worki paratha and thyme charcoal bharwan chicken baida roti on the menu. There are breads with combinations like keema matar, chicken liver and paneer makhani. If the traditional stuff like tikoni khamiri roti, Baluchi kulcha and Kashmiri kulcha is available, there is olive chilli garlic naan, cooked with black and green olives and brushed with virgin olive oil, for those who have a liking for Italian flavours.

A whole lot of health

Breads are normally made from white flour and are thus heavy on the stomach. To change that, restaurants are making use of healthy ingredients. The base flour now has multigrain variants and there is a focus on flours derived from millets such as ragi, bajra and jowar, water chestnut (sinhgara) and chickpeas. Sandeep Choudhary, executive chef at Ibis, New Delhi, says their innovative offers like veggie-packed, naturally gluten-free and grain-free cauliflower flatbread have been a hit among sportspersons.

Guests are driving change too. Chef Varun MB, executive chef at Novotel Hyderabad Airport, says a guest who was staying with them for over 15 days suggested that they introduce dry keema parathas for breakfast so that for others like him, who are in a rush to grab a wholesome breakfast and crave protein intake, can have a perfect dish to just grab and go.

So, the next time you are dining out, make sure that you look for unusual breads. They won’t just taste better, but also be better for you. And, of course, never shy away from experimenting with them in your own kitchen.

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