Difference Between Naan and Paratha

Naan and paratha are Indian flatbreads that have gained popularity overseas and are loved by all. They have a unique and authentic taste that is a result of simple spices and Indian masala.

Now that their fame has spread all over the world, the dough mix can change according to the chefs.

Naan vs Paratha

The main difference between naan and paratha is that naan is usually prepared in such a way that it remains a bit thick and has volume whereas paratha tends to be quite flaky and soft and depending on the chef, they can also make it a bit crunchy with the addition of certain unsaturated fats. Both are seen as carbohydrate-filled meals usually eaten with a complimentary side dish.

Naan vs Paratha

Naan is commonly made with all-purpose flour with the kneading process varying over the different parts of India. The kneading decides the volume and thickness of the naan. The more the chef kneads, the thicker the naan might turn out to be. The volume of the naan is decided upon by the method of cooking and placing the naan in an oven.

Paratha has been present for a long time, with its name changing over the regions of the Indian subcontinent. The most distinguishing factor of the parathas is that it is eaten in a flaky manner.

The layered bread needs to break off easily and have a slightly crunchy texture while at the same time being soft.

Comparison Table Between Naan and Paratha

Parameters of ComparisonNaanParatha
Presence of LayersNoYes
Time Needed to PrepareComparatively lessMore time is needed to form all the layers
Thickness and Volume NeededYesNo
Flaky and SoftNoYes
Cooking Oil Used While CookingNot alwaysYes

What is Naan?

Naan is the Indian flatbread that is prepared using white flour.Even though it is called bread, there is no addition of yeast to rise the bread and therefore it is called flatbread.

In other words, it is also called Indian bread instead of flatbread or naan.It has been present since ancient times in India and was consumed by people of all economic statuses.

Naan gained momentum in the menus of most during the times of the Mughal rulers.

But the chefs who prepared the food for them were reluctant to present the Royal Family with plain naan and then began the era of flavored naans.

The old naan was then infused with Indian spices and flavors enhancing the taste with each bite. After the dough is prepared with salt or other seasoning, people tend to add in potatoes or raisins along with nuts.

This dough is then kneaded for a long time in a specific manner to bring about a thick naan. After kneading, the dough is left to sit for some time, maybe even hours.

The more it sits, the better as the higher the naan might rise. Then, small balls are made out of the dough which is then rolled out or even shaped out by the hand softly into a circle.

A circle is the most preferred shape of naan. But that doesn’t mean it is the only shape. For beginners, attaining a circular naan would be hard.

Once the naan is rolled out, it is put into an oven that in the olden days were made of stone. But now people tend to cook it in Tawas or cast iron pans.

The most common time to eat naan is during breakfast. It is eaten with a wide variety of sauces or meat dishes.

Since yeast isn’t preferred to be added to naan, the rising agent is usually baking powder. Other than this, yogurt is also used as a raising agent.

Naan tends to have higher fat content and therefore people on diet should eat less of it unless their body metabolism is really good.

What is Paratha?

Paratha is another kind of flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent and was prepared without the addition of yeast.

The flour used for paratha is whole wheat flour therefore the flatbread might look brown after it is cooked. But the usage of flour is totally on the cook and they can use regular white all-purpose flour too.

Paratha comes from two words “par” and “atta” which mean layered and wheat flour respectively. It originated in the northern parts of India and from a few regions that are now included in Pakistan.

Parathas are often filled in with vegetables that are cooked in an Indian masala and then stir-fried to create a blend of spices unique to each region.

Vegetables are not the only thing that is used to fill inside a paratha but meat varieties such as chicken and mutton are also used.

All the stuffing variations depend on the chef’s creativity and sense of taste. The dough is prepared after adding warm water into the flour and the seasoning is added.

At times, to increase the quality of the paratha, ghee or cooking oil is added to the dough and therefore highlights the textural quality of the paratha.

After this, the dough is left to sit for some time and set in properly so that the rolling becomes easier. There are a series of layering procedures that helps in attaining the flaky texture of paratha.

It is made to be a semi-thick rolled-out flatbread which is then kept in a regular Tawa to be cooked. While cooking, fresh ghee is added in which contributes to the smell of the freshly cooked paratha.

It is at times eaten plain without any curries or other condiments. It could be rolled up into cylinders and drizzled with a sugary syrup and then eaten with tea or the Indian chai.

The shape is commonly circular, but depending on the creativity of the chef, they can roll it out in any shape that they want.

Main Differences Between Naan and Paratha

  1. Naan is commonly prepared with white flour which adds its volume and slightly rubbery texture whereas parathas are commonly prepared with wheat flour that helps in gaining a proper crunchy and flaky texture.
  2. While cooking, oil or butter is added to parathas to maintain the flakiness whereas, in the case of naan, no additional unsaturated fats are added at the time of cooking.
  3. Naan is a single-layer flour bread whereas parathas are multi-layered and therefore give it a slight flaky nature.
  4. The fatty content in paratha is usually high when compared to naan due to all the oil added in during kneading as well as during cooking.
  5. It is not common for naan to be consumed sweetly but parathas are eaten sweet.

Conclusion

People might think naan and paratha are the same if people don’t look at the texture. But both have many features that distinguish them from one another.

Parathas and naan have become acknowledged worldwide for their unique flavors and varying textural qualities. Most of the time, differences are brought about by the chef who might need it to be sweet or savory or a fusion of both.

Parathas could be seen as an evening snack and can be consumed with the evening chai.

Naans are eaten both as breakfast and lunch food but at times in other parts of India, people prefer it to be a nice warm dinner on cold nights.

References

  1. https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=PK2007001206
  2. http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/33974
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