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The Indian Bread Types You Need to Know

Indian cuisine is known for its leavened and unleavened flatbread. Here are Indian bread types that are quite popular across the subcontinent.

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Indian Bread Typessydney watson/taste of home

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Indian naan bread with corianderJoeGough/Getty Images

Naan

When we think about Indian cuisine, the first things that come to mind are naan and curry. Naan is leavened flatbread prepared with all-purpose flour, wheat flour or a combination of both. Traditionally, it is cooked in a tandoor (or clay oven), but these days oven-baked naan bread is quite popular. An Indian restaurant menu is incomplete without garlic naan. Learn how to make naan bread at home.

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Appam, Palappam,Kallappam,vella appam,parotta,Roti or Chapati a popular traditional Kerala breakfast food.Subin Sailendran Photography/Getty Images

Appam

Appam, also known as rice hoppers, are soft, bowl-shaped pancakes prepared with fermented rice batter and coconut. They’re quite popular in South India, especially in the state of Kerala. They’re crispy and lacy around the edges and soft and thick in the middle. Pair with coconut milk or vegetable stew for a delicious breakfast.

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choley bhature is a dish originated initially in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. It is a combination of chana masala and bhatura, a fried bread made from maida.prabhjits/Getty Images

Bhatoora

Bhatoora is a famous deep-fried leavened bread made with all-purpose flour. You can make bhatoora with or without yeast. You’ll often find bhatoora paired with chickpea curry. Look for chole bhature or chana bhatura in restaurants and roadside eateries.

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Masala Dosa with Sambar and chutney, south Indian breakfastvm2002/Getty Images

Dosa

A dosa is a rice and lentil pancake prepared with fermented rice and lentil batter. It’s a staple breakfast in many South Indian households, some varieties resembling pancakes and others resembling crepes. Coconut chutney makes a satisfying side.

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Homemade Indian Roti Chapati Bread Ready to Eatbhofack2/Getty Images

Roti

While rice is the staple of South India, roti (or chapati bread) is the staple of North India. It is unleavened bread prepared with whole wheat flour on a tawa or griddle, and it’s an integral part of everyday meals. You can serve roti with simple dal or with exotic curries.

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Daikon, radish, mooli or muli paratha or stuffed radish paratha, indian or pakistani favourite recipe served with butter and tomato ketchup, selective focussubodhsathe/Getty Images

Paratha

Paratha is a flaky, layered flatbread that is quite common in North Indian households. For breakfast, parathas filled with vegetables like potato, cauliflower and cabbage, as well as paneer, are quite famous. Serve your paratha with a side of pickle or yogurt and a sip of lassi or chai.

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Methi Paratha (Thepla) / Indian flat bread using fenugreek leaves, served with mint dip,yogurt.ShashikantDurshettiwar/Getty Images

Thepla

Thepla is a delicious flatbread from the Gujarati cuisine, prepared with wheat flour, gram flour or millet flour and spices. You can make thepla without veggies, but there is no harm in adding veggies and greens like fenugreek leaves or bottle gourd. Unlike the veggies stuffed inside parathas, the veggies here are mixed with dough, which is rolled out and cooked.

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Indian Cuisine Chapati Also Called Roti, Flatbread, Chapathi or Chapatti Served With Sev Tamatar, Gatta Curry, Raita, Papad or Onion on Wooden BackgroundRS STOCK IMAGES/gettyimages

South Indian Roti

If you are following a gluten-free diet, you will love the gluten-free South Indian rotis like akki roti (roti with rice flour), ragi roti (roti with finger millet flour) and bajra roti (roti with pearl millet flour). This roti is prepared with the corresponding gluten-free flours mixed with onion and assorted spices.

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South Indian traditional food Poori or puri with country chicken curryMuralinath/Getty Images

Poori

Poori (or puri) is a deep-fried, unleavened flatbread made with whole wheat flour. Poori are smaller in size when compared to bhatoora. These puffed-up, deep-fried golden beauties are served along with aloo (potato) or chana masala (chickpea curry).

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Kerala parotta, popularly known as paratha or porotta, is a delicacy from the state of KeralaePhotocorp/Getty Images

Parotta

Parotta, a popular street food in South India, is a layered flatbread prepared with all-purpose flour. It’s a sight to watch how these cooks prepare the parotta dough and layer them! This flaky, addictive bread is usually served with meat-based gravies or with vegetable korma.

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Fresh papadumPhotoAlto/Laurence Mouton/Getty Images

Papadum

Papadum is a crispy flatbread or wafer. Depending on where you are, it’s also known as papad or pappadum or applam. While all the other Indian bread can be served as a main dish, papadum is always served as a side dish. Typically made with lentils, papadum can be deep-fried or roasted over an open flame. An Indian thali (meal plate) is not complete without it!

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Indian style roasted bread naan kulchamaayeka/Getty Images

Kulcha

Kulcha is a mildly leavened bread prepared with all-purpose flour without any yeast, but rather leavened with yogurt and/or baking powder. Though it’s similar to naan, you don’t need a tandoor oven to make kulcha; you can easily prepare it on a griddle.

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Spinach Adai - Indian green pancakes. Handmade food.Stanislav Sablin/Getty Images

South Indian Pancakes

Apart from dosa, South India is also known for its mixed lentil pancakes like adai and pesarattu, prepared with green mung beans. These lesser-known pancakes and crepes are served with vegetable stew and assorted chutneys.

Next, find more authentic Indian recipes to make.

Srividhya Gopalakrishnan
Srividhya Gopalakrishnan is a passionate home cook, recipe developer and vegetarian food blogger, based out of California. She is the author of two cookbooks, Instant Pot Vegetarian Cookbook and The Essential South Indian Cookbook. She firmly believes that that the mouth is the way to the heart. She loves to share family recipes and exciting vegetarian recipes from all over the world. From traditional, authentic recipes to fusion and eggless bakes, you can find it all in her blog.

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