Roti and naan are popular flatbread types that have deep roots in South Asian cuisine. Enjoyed by millions globally, these breads are staples in India and Pakistan. But are they, in reality, just the same thing or not?
Roti is a simple, unleavened bread, known for its versatile use in daily meals, while naan is a leavened bread, often enriched with ingredients like yoghurt, and is typically cooked in a tandoor.
What is Roti?
Roti, also known as chapati, is a round, unleavened flatbread originating from the Indian subcontinent. It’s a fundamental part of daily meals in many Indian households. Made from whole wheat flour, water, and salt, it’s cooked on a flat skillet called a tava.
Roti is valued for its simplicity that doesn’t take away from the dish it is served alongside as well as its ability to complement various dishes.
What is Naan?
Naan is a soft, leavened flatbread in Indian and Central Asian cuisines. Distinct for its fluffy texture and slightly elastic nature, naan is traditionally baked in a tandoor or clay oven.
The dough is made from refined flour, yeast, yoghurt, and sometimes milk, giving it a distinct taste and texture. It’s often brushed with butter or ghee and can include toppings like garlic or herbs.
Similarities Between Roti and Naan
Of course, there are some very obvious similarities between roti and naan. There are 3 things that make them pretty alike:
- Cuisine Origin: Both roti and naan originate from the Indian subcontinent and are integral to South Asian cuisine.
- Serving Style: They are typically served warm and used as a vehicle for picking up food or soaking up sauces.
- Versatility: Both can be modified with additions like butter, herbs, or spices to enhance their taste.
Differences Between Roti and Naan
But they are not the same bread. The list of differences is fairly extensive:
- Preparation Method: Roti is made using a simple dough that’s cooked on a flat pan, while naan dough is leavened with yeast or baking powder and traditionally cooked in a tandoor.
- Ingredients: Roti typically uses whole wheat flour, making it healthier. Naan, on the other hand, is made with refined flour and often includes dairy products.
- Texture: Roti has a firmer and chewier texture, whereas naan is softer and more pillowy due to the leavening agents.
- Flavour: Roti has a straightforward, wheaty taste, while naan, especially when enriched with ingredients like yoghurt, has a richer, slightly tangy flavour.
- Serving Occasions: Roti is more commonly used for daily meals, while naan is often served in restaurants or on special occasions.
Yes, you can substitute roti for naan in most meals, especially in Indian cuisine. Roti is typically lighter and less rich compared to the buttery and fluffy naan, but it works well as an accompaniment to curries and dips.
Roti vs Naan: Which Wins?
If you were limited to only eating roti or naan with your next curry, which would you pick? Let us know by voting in the poll below:
Do You Prefer Roti or Naan?
Hailing from Liverpool, Oliver is an adventurous chef with a penchant for exploring diverse cuisines and novel ingredients. Ollie, combining his love for local British flavours with global influences, brings innovation and charm to home cooking.