What is Indian bread called?

Indian bread comes in many varieties with different names depending on the region. Some of the most common types of Indian bread include naan, chapati, paratha, puri, and roti.


Naan is a popular Indian flatbread that is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven. It is made from maida flour (refined wheat flour) and has a slightly chewy texture. Naan can be served plain or with different toppings like garlic, cheese, or herbs. It is one of the most widely recognized Indian breads globally.

Key Points on Naan

  • Made from maida flour, yeast, yogurt, ghee or oil.
  • Leavened flatbread cooked in a tandoor oven.
  • Soft, chewy texture with charred spots.
  • Served plain or with garlic, cheese, herbs as topping.
  • Eaten with Indian curries, kebabs, dals.
  • Popular across India, especially in the north.
  • Also called naan bread outside India.


Chapati is an unleavened flatbread that is integral to Indian cuisine. It is made from whole wheat flour known as atta, mixed into a dough and rolled out into thin rounds. Chapatis are cooked on a tava or flat skillet until browned spots appear. They have a simple flavor and chewy texture.

Key Points on Chapati

  • Made from whole wheat flour (atta), water and salt.
  • Unleavened flatbread cooked on a tava/griddle.
  • No yeast used, relies on gluten development.
  • Chewy, slightly dry texture when cooked.
  • Eaten with curries, sabzis and dals.
  • Staple food across North and Central India.
  • Also called roti in some regions.


Paratha is a layered flatbread that originated in northern India. It is made by layering a dough with ghee or oil and folding into sheets. The process creates a flaky and crisp texture when cooked. Aloo paratha stuffed with spiced potatoes is one of the most popular versions.

Key Points on Paratha

  • Made from whole wheat dough layered with ghee/oil.
  • Cooking creates flaky, crisp texture.
  • Stuffed versions include aloo, paneer, keema.
  • Shallow fried on a tava until crisp.
  • North Indian breakfast staple with curd/pickles.
  • Also popular in Pakistan and Nepal.


Puri is a deep-fried Indian bread made from whole wheat flour dough. Small rounds of dough are deep fried in oil until they puff up into a balloon shape. Puris are crunchy and flaky in texture. They are often served for breakfast or snacks accompanied by potato curry, chana masala or dal.

Key Points on Puri

  • Made from whole wheat flour dough.
  • Deep fried in oil until puffed and golden.
  • Crunchy, flaky, crispy texture.
  • Served with potato curry, chole, dal.
  • Popular across North and East India.
  • Also called poori in some regions.


Roti is a general term for flatbread in India. It is normally used to refer to chapati which is an unleavened whole wheat flatbread cooked on a dry tava or griddle. Roti is consumed across India and forms a staple part of local diets. It is most commonly served with dals, curries and sabzis.

Key Points on Roti

  • Generic term for unleavened flatbread in India.
  • Typically refers to chapati in North India.
  • Made from whole wheat flour (atta).
  • Cooked on a dry tava or griddle.
  • Consumed with meals across India.
  • Primary staple food in North and Central regions.

In South India, the term roti refers to a different kind of flatbread that is made from rice flour rather than wheat flour. Rice roti is a staple in states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Other Popular Indian Breads

Here are some other flatbreads and breads that are integral to Indian cuisine:

  • Tandoori Roti – Baked in a clay tandoor oven. Crispy, slightly charred.
  • Rumali Roti – Large, thin, handkerchief-like bread. Cooked on inverted griddle.
  • Phulka – Chapati cooked directly on fire. Puffed up.
  • Kulcha – Leavened naan stuffed with potatoes, paneer etc.
  • Bhatura – Deep fried, leavened bread served with chole.
  • Sheermal – Sweet, saffron-flavored flatbread baked in oven.
  • Appam – Bowl-shaped rice pancake from South India.
  • Dosa – Crispy rice and lentil crepe from South India.

Indian Breads By Region

Different types of Indian breads are consumed as staple foods in various parts of the country based on local cuisine and food habits. Here is an overview:

Region Popular Breads
North India Chapati, naan, tandoori roti, paratha
Central India Roti, chapati, phulka, puri
West India Bhakri, thali peeth, puri
East India Luchi, pitha, puri
South India Appam, dosa, uttapam, pathiri

As evident, chapati, roti and naan are the most common Indian breads found across different parts of the country. Other region-specific flatbreads also play an important role in local cuisines and diets.

Making Indian Breads

Traditionally, Indian breads were made at home on a daily basis for consumption. The process involved making dough from flour and water, kneading it well and shaping rounds to be cooked on tawa, griddle or in tandoor. While this practice continues in many Indian households, commercially manufactured breads are also widely available.

Making good Indian bread requires practice and the right technique. Here are some important tips:

  • Use high quality flour – whole wheat flour like atta for chapatis and maida for naan.
  • Knead the dough well until smooth and soft.
  • Rest the dough for 30 minutes for gluten development.
  • Divide dough into equal sized balls before shaping.
  • Use dough liberally with dry flour for rolling to prevent sticking.
  • Cook on a hot tawa/griddle using little oil or ghee.
  • Flip frequently until evenly puffed and browned.
  • Brush with ghee or butter for extra flavor.

With the right flour, technique and cooking equipment, authentic tasting Indian breads can be easily prepared at home.

Serving and Eating Indian Breads

Indian breads are versatile and can be served and eaten in different ways:

  • Breads like naan, paratha and kulcha are ideal for dipping into curries and gravies.
  • Chapati and phulka go well with thick dal preparations and dry sabzis.
  • Bread rolls like kachori or luchi can be stuffed with spiced fillings.
  • Deep fried poori, bhatura are typically served with potato based curries.
  • Plain tandoori roti or butter naan can just be eaten as such.
  • Breads also make for good wraps for kebabs, rolls or sandwiches.

In most Indian meals, bread is served along with prepared food dishes like curries. It complements the gravies and soaks up flavors splendidly. Indian breads also make for a quick breakfast paired with chutneys or curd.

Popular Accompaniments for Indian Breads

Here are some delicious food preparations that are traditionally served with different Indian breads:

  • Naan – Butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, dal makhani, paneer bhurji
  • Chapati – Rajma, chana masala, aloo gobi, dal tadka
  • Paratha – Aloo mattar, chole, dahi, pickle
  • Puri – Aloo curry, chana masala, kheer
  • Roti – Sarson ka saag, paneer pasanda, rajma
  • Dosa – Sambhar, chutney, potato masala
  • Appam – Veg/non-veg stew, coconut chutney

Chutneys, raitas and pickles also make popular accompaniments to be served with different Indian breads to enhance the flavor.

Global Popularity of Indian Breads

With Indian cuisine gaining popularity globally, Indian breads are also being enjoyed worldwide. Some key points:

  • Naan is served at Indian restaurants across the globe and is well recognized internationally.
  • Chapati and Roti have emerged as healthy alternatives to processed buns and breads.
  • Parathas are found on menus from the Americas to Europe and Asia.
  • Dosa and Appam have gained popularity as rice-based crepes and pancakes.
  • Fusion dishes use Indian breads in creative ways like Naan pizza, Taco roti etc.
  • Supermarkets carry frozen and ready-to-eat Indian breads due to demand.

The growing availability of Indian breads has led more people to try out flavors from the sub-continent. Their versatility and taste makes them cross-over internationally as part of the larger popularity of Indian food.

Health Benefits of Indian Breads

Traditional Indian breads made from flour, water and salt offer several health advantages:

  • Provide complex carbohydrates for energy and fiber.
  • Chapatis and rotis have nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour.
  • Filling option when eaten with protein and vegetable dishes.
  • Thin breads have lower calorie impact versus rice or noodles.
  • Have lower glycemic index than refined flour breads.
  • Can be part of healthy balanced meals due to versatility.

Of course, fried Indian breads like poori and paratha eaten in excess can lead to weight gain and health issues. But consumed occasionally in moderate portions, traditional Indian breads are a nutritious accompaniment to main meals.

Innovations in Indian Breads

While traditional breads hold enduring appeal, there have been some innovations in Indian breads to suit modern tastes:

  • Multigrain and whole wheat versions of naan and kulcha.
  • Cheese overload and pizza parathas and stuffed kulchas.
  • Healthy chapati wraps replacing sandwiches.
  • Low carb, keto-friendly bread options.
  • Packaged parathas and rotis for convenience.
  • Exotic stuffed dosa, appam and uttapam variations.
  • Fusion breads – naanza, roti pizza, paratha tacos etc.

These innovations build on traditional recipes while catering to new flavors and diet preferences. The new age Indian breads increase options for consumers.


Indian breads from chapati to naan are integral components of Indian cuisine across different regions. Their versatility to complement curries along with nutritional benefits has made them endure as staple foods over centuries. With growing international interest in Indian food, classic breads like naan and innovative stuffed parathas are gaining more exposure globally. While traditional home-made varieties retain nostalgia, ready-made and packaged Indian breads now offer more convenience. The varieties, textures, flavors and versatility of Indian breads ensures their continued popularity in the country and on the global food stage.

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