Roti vs Naan: What Is The Difference Between These Indian Breads?
When I was in college, my roommate’s mom used to stock our refrigerator with frozen curry that would last us for months. Usually, we’d eat naan with the curry, so when I first tried roti, I was confused. What was the difference between the two?
There are a lot of different Indian breads that have their own unique characteristics, but the thing I really wanted answered was what is different in roti vs naan.
Let’s take a look at each of these breads in detail: how they’re made and what makes them each unique.
What kinds of Indian breads are there, and what are they used for?
Before we get into the specific details about roti and naan, let’s take a look at the variety of Indian breads that exist.
In India, particularly in North India, curries are served with bread, not rice. You can, of course, get rice with curry if you prefer it that way, but a hot piece of bread is preferred. You can use this to scoop up a saucy curry.
This is how curry is eaten in North India! In big cities and Indian restaurants around the world, curry will usually be served with one of the following breads:
Each of these has their unique characteristics (and delicious flavors!) that are worth exploring, but today we should focus on roti and naan, the two most common Indian breads that you’ve probably encountered before.
What Is The Difference Between Roti And Naan?
It’s time to explore the difference between roti and naan. Let’s start with the basics of each bread.
Naan is a flatbread that is made of white flour. It is leavened. Usually, naan is cooked in a clay oven that is known as a tandoor. It is much softer and chewier than other types of Indian bread since it has yeast in it.
Traditionally, the cooking process would look something like this:
You can see that the tandoor oven is a very unique feature of how naan is made, and this is what gives the unique shape and toasting that naan bread has.
While you have probably had naan when you visit an Indian restaurant, it is actually less commonly eaten in Indian homes than roti. That is because you need a tandoor oven to make it, and most Indian homes do not have one. Still, its commonly eaten and very tasty!
Naan comes in many varieties, including the following flavors:
- Stuffed : With garlic, potato, mutton
No matter which type of naan you try, you’ll love this light, delicious bread.
Roti is probably the most popular type of Indian bread that is eaten in India, and it’s actually a larger category of breads, so there is a lot of variety when it comes to what roti is.
Generally speaking, roti is an unleavened bread made from wheat flour. It is rolled out very thin and usually cooked on a flat griddle that is known as a tawa.
It looks something like this:
As I mentioned, there are many types of roti. Here are just a few of them:
- Tandoori roti (cooked in a tandoor oven, like naan)
- Roomali roti (rolled out extra thin)
- Phulka (partially cooked roti is then fire roasted)
Each type of roti is delicious, and roti is the most common type of bread that you are likely to enjoy with your meal.
Highlighting The Main Differences Of Roti vs Naan
Now that you know what naan and roti are, let’s highlight the main differences between roti and naan.
- Naan is traditionally made from all-purpose flour; roti is made from wheat flour.
- Naan is leavened; roti is not.
- Naan is cooked in a tandoor; roti is cooked on a tawa.
- Naan is a much heavier food and can be eaten as a meal on its own; roti is very light.
- Naan is higher in calories; roti is lower in calories.
- Naan is chewy; roti is coarser in texture.
- Naan is usually thicker than roti.
I also want to highlight a few of the most important similarities:
- Both have many varieties.
- Both are types of flatbread.
- Both are eaten with curry or on their own.
- Both have a different texture.
- Both are served hot and delicious.
- Both are delicious to enjoy with your meal!
How Can I Make Indian Bread At Home?
While you might not be able to replicate the texture perfectly at home, you can definitely replicate these delicious foods with great naan and roti recipes.
Here’s a video about how to make naan at home:
And here is another video about how to take on roti in your kitchen:
It’s simple. You can have these delicious Indian breads at home. All you need is patience to learn how to perfect the cooking technique, and you’ll have your own delicious bread in no time.
Choose A Favorite… Or Don’t!
Have you picked your favorite bread in the roti vs naan war?
I’m just kidding! You don’t have to pick one. I love them both find the doughier taste of naan to be incomparable to roti, which has its own pluses.
Which one do you like better? Or do you have another Indian bread that you prefer? Let me know in the comments; I can’t wait to see which is your favorite. Then, share this with your friends who haven’t been able to figure out the difference between roti and naan yet, either!