Bread Wars: Roti vs. Naan – What Sets Them Apart?

Roti vs Naan

Indian cuisine is celebrated for its rich flavors, diverse spices, and a deep connection to its cultural heritage. While the aromatic curries and hot dishes often steal the spotlight, the world of Indian bread, or "roti," deserves its own place in the limelight.

Two of the most beloved Indian bread varieties are naan and roti. In this article, we will dive into the differences between roti vs. naan, considering their texture, taste, and thickness. Let's explore these delicious bread options that complement Indian cuisine so wonderfully.

What is Roti?

chapati roti

Roti, also known as chapati or phulka is one of the most common Indian bread varieties. Made from a simple mixture of wheat flour, water, and salt, roti serves as a versatile accompaniment to various dishes. Its name derives from the Sanskrit word "bread," emphasizing its fundamental role in Indian cuisine.

Learn More - A Comprehensive Guide on Roti

Different Types of Roti

In India, you'll come across various types of rotis that vary in size and thickness, depending on regional influences and how they are prepared. Here are some common varieties:

  1. Chapati:These are round, unleavened flatbreads, resembling tortillas but thicker and made from whole wheat flour.

  2. Tandoori Roti:Tandoori roti has a distinct smoky flavor, achieved by cooking it over charcoal flames in a tandoor clay oven.

Recipe for Roti

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Ghee or oil (for cooking)

Instructions:

  1. Take a large bowl and add 2 cups of whole wheat flour.
  2. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and gradually add water while mixing the flour until the dough is soft but not sticky.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into small, amla-sized balls.
  5. Roll each ball into a round roti using a rolling pin.
  6. Heat a flat pan (tawa) on medium-high heat and cook the roti. Flip it when you see small bubbles.
  7. Brush the cooked roti with ghee or oil and serve hot with your favorite curry or vegetables.
Check out our detailed guide - How to Make the Perfect Indian Roti?

Recipe with Rotimatic

For those seeking a more convenient way to make rotis, here's a simple guide to using a Rotimatic:

  1. Set up your Rotimatic: Ensure that the Rotimatic is correctly assembled and connected to a power source.
  2. Add ingredients: Open the top lid of the Rotimatic and add wheat flour to the flour container and water to the water container.
  3. Customize settings: Adjust settings such as thickness, roast level, and oil to match your preferences.
  4. Start the machine: Close the lid, press the power button, and then press the Rotimatic's Start button.
  5. Wait for the rotis: The Rotimatic will automatically prepare the dough, flatten it into rotis, and cook them one by one.
  6. Collect and enjoy: As the Rotimatic makes rotis, collect them and serve them hot with your favorite dishes.
Let Rotimatic change the way you make rotis.

What is Naan?

Naan served plate

Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread that holds a special place in Indian cuisine. While it can be made at home, naan is also commonly served in restaurants as a side dish for various meat or vegetable curries.

Naan is typically made with white wheat flour or maida, depending on the recipe and personal preferences. Some recipes include ingredients like yogurt and baking powder, while others do not. Additionally, some versions include yeast for leavening, while others opt for a yeast-free approach.

The dough for naan is rolled into thin disks and baked in a tandoor until it puffs up and turns golden brown. Often, naan is brushed with butter while still hot to make it softer and more flavorful.

Recipe for Naan

Clearly, not everyone has a tandoor in their home, so if you'd like to make naan at home using a tawa, follow these steps.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon refined oil
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (curd)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Milk (as required)

Instructions:

  1. Put the dry ingredients into a kneading plate.
  2. Add butter, curd, and oil to the dry ingredients. Mix them until crumbled.
  3. Incorporate a small amount of milk into the mixture slowly, ensuring the dough achieves a soft consistency.
  4. Cover the dough with a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 5-6 hours.
  5. After resting, knead the dough lightly, make small balls, and roll each into a thick triangle using dry flour if necessary.
  6. Heat a griddle (tawa) over medium flame, apply water on the top part of the rolled triangle, and place the naan on the tawa.
  7. Carefully invert the griddle and roast the naan over the direct gas flame.
  8. Transfer to a serving plate, add a dollop of butter, and serve hot with your favorite dishes.

Differences Between Roti and Naan

Features

Roti

Naan

Examples/ Different Types

Roti comes in various forms such as tandoori roti, missi roti, roomali roti, phulka, chapati, and more.

Naan offers a wide variety, including plain naan, butter naan, garlic naan, cheese naan, keema naan, and others.

Cooking Style

Roti is typically prepared on a flat skillet or tawa.

Naan is exclusively cooked in a tandoor oven, traditionally fired by charcoal or wood.

Thickness

Roti is generally thinner compared to various types of naan.

Naan tends to be thicker than most types of rotis.

Texture

Roti has a coarser texture, often requiring more chewing.

Naan has a softer texture due to the use of specific flour and yeast.

Preparation Time

Making roti is relatively quick and simple, requiring less preparation time.

Preparing naan is a more time-consuming process.

Nutritional Value

Roti is a good source of dietary fiber, proteins, iron, potassium, and minerals.

Naan is relatively lower in nutritional value and can contain higher amounts of fat and cholesterol.

Dairy Content

Roti is typically dairy-free.

Naan often includes dairy ingredients, like yogurt, which contribute to its tangy flavor.

Calories

Roti is generally low in calories, with no saturated or trans fats and no cholesterol.

Naan is a higher-calorie flatbread compared to roti.

Final Thoughts

Both naan and roti offer their own unique flavors and textures that complement the diverse dishes of Indian cuisine. When it comes down to it, the choice between the two ultimately depends on what kind of texture and taste you prefer. Whether you enjoy the coarser texture of roti or the softer, thicker naan, both are delicious options that add to the richness of Indian meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. Is naan the same as tandoori roti?

No, naan and tandoori roti are not the same. Naan is traditionally made from maida, while roti is made from whole wheat flour. Naan is leavened, whereas roti is not. The two differ in several ways, as highlighted above, making naan distinct from the standard tandoori roti. 

2.  Which is healthier: roti or naan?

Roti is generally considered healthier than naan. Roti is lower in calories and contains zero saturated and trans fats and cholesterol. In contrast, naan tends to be higher in calories and may contain added fats. For a healthier choice, roti is often preferred, especially by those conscious of their dietary intake. 

3.  Is roti thinner than naan?

Yes, roti is typically thinner than naan. Roti is rolled out into thin, flat rounds, while naan is thicker and softer due to leavening agents and cooking methods, resulting in a puffier texture.