No matter how much of a food enthusiast you might tend to be, there invariably would be times you would encounter such interpretations of your favorite food that would leave you dwelling in the wonder of a new found edible love. Because food is variable and static at the same time, there exists numerous interpretations of the same stuff. Like when it comes to staples like curry and chapati, bread and rice, which all come in a variety of different types. In the Indian context again, such diverse manifestation of similar food dwells in particular flamboyance. From minute tweaks to massive twists, food in India has always been susceptible to sufficient aberrations. Whether that is a dish native to the country or is something more universal is however a different issue to ponder over altogether.
One such food item that features prominently in our regular meals is the chapati. As an unleavened flatbread originating from India but popular also elsewhere, even as a staple, chapatis are however somewhat ambiguous. Among the many types of roti, even when sometimes used interchangeably to in fact refer to a roti, there however is little that differentiates a chapati from its more encompassing counterpart. That ‘little’ something is the width of the bread, as chapatis are generally thinner than rotis. Tricky annotations aside however, the chapati makes for quite a hearty meal across all its types, of course with accompaniments. Here’s listing therefore the different types of chapatis you need to be trying out to totally satisfy the desi food cravings-
A mainstay of Gujarati cuisine and diverging considerably from the different types of chapati is a thepla. A multigrain flatbread, thepla involves a mix of different flours with usually fenugreek leaves a prime composition of the dough though there exist variants as well. An array of seasonings also find their way into a thepla, which is rolled out and cooked on a tawa, much like a chapati. Nutritious, wholesome and a delicacy in itself, thepla sure is one much preferred of the chapati variants.
Indians love their spices more than enough to be welcoming of a chapati based on their goodness. Popular as the khara chapati, this is a bread that has as many incorporating masalas in it as you can imagine. Flavorful and complete in itself due to the array of fusion in its folds what with all those condiments taking over, this is one dish encompassing spicy benefits that can be enjoyed by itself or with soothing accompaniments like curd or beverages.
Again a regional interpretation of the chapati is the bhakri that is native to a few regions within India. Even in being identifiable as a chapati, bhakris have their own different types. Usually made with some form of millet flour, or sometimes even wheat flour, bhakris are traditionally coarser than chapatis due to the flour variation. Popular in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa, as well as in Rajasthan and Karnataka, bhakris are somewhat crispy. Almost biscuit like in texture, bhakris are made from a rather stiff dough to endow them with the characteristic crispiness. As a dish that stays good longer due to the firmness, bhakris have served as rural staples for long. Whether you want to savor it with curry as a meal or pair it with some chai and achaar for a snack, bhakris can very well see off your cravings for the day!
Khakhra might be more popular as a snack in the ambit of Gujarati cuisine in its crackerish identity but it still can qualify as a chapati as well. A seasoned wheat flour dough is rolled out as thin as possible before it is cooked really well over slow heat. Crispy due to the thin essence and the well cooked intricacy, khakhras make for healthy, addictive snacks in their host of encompassing varieties.
One of the few overseas adaptation of the chapati, the lavash can however be a leavened or unleavened bread. Distinctive in being a cultural component in the realm of Armenian cuisine, this might not be entirely fitting of being among the different types of chapati in identity. In essence however it is almost the same though traditional versions see it baked inside a clay oven. The more modern reiterations, that are cooked on a tawa, are more characteristic in its similarity with the Indian chapati. Interestingly, the lavash isn’t just a primary component of the meal. It functions as well as an ingredient, in being the base for sweet dishes, pizzas while also being consumed as it is.
A stuffed chapati native to south India, Boli is a unique delicacy for more reasons than one. A sweet presence among the many different types, this is a really delectable chapati that ranks high on the health quotient as well. Mainly a mainstay of festivities and celebrations down south in the country, boli is a chapati that encloses a sweetened gram dal ball within its yellow hued cheer.
With the suffix rotti very prominently in its name, jolada rotti isn’t a ‘wholesome’ chapati in essence. But it still pretty much resembles our thinner chapatis in some aspects. Made out of jowar, these are vegan, gluten free options that however are no maverick of the modern times. In Maharashtra as well as in north Karnataka, these coarse rotis have been traditional staples. Jowar roti is also unique in its style of cooking. While it is cooked on a tawa all right, there is a certain tweak in the method compared to the other chapati types. Placed floured side up on the tawa and then watered, jolada rottis seem quite ‘rustic’ to the eyes in their charred coarseness. Savoured warm with some simple veggie or lentil accompaniment, this is a chapati that is definitely distinctive from the rest.
A peculiar chapati hailing from Kerala is the rice flour based Orotti. Also popular in Sri Lanka as the Pol Roti, orotti is a distinctive delight in its method of preparation. Apart from rice flour, coconut is another interesting ingredient that makes up the Orotti. From cooking the rice flour and the grated coconut to making the chapati without rolling it out, this pristine white parcel of taste is sheer indulgence. The rice flour dough is flattened big and thin only after it has been placed on the hot tawa to make up a chapati quite interesting in approach and refreshing in flavours.
Hailing from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is a chapati quite distinctive. Bereft of the characteristic thin girth of chapatis, chikkolees are made like a chapathi but are cut into pieces before serving. With spices also added along with this chapati, chikkolee makes for as wholesome a delicacy as an addictive snack.
It might be wrong to entirely attribute tortilla as being characteristic of a chapati but it’s the closest the Indian flatbread can come to in essence in being a bread popular worldwide. More appropriately a close relative of the chapati rather than being among the different types of it, tortillas are native to Mexico. In its smooth texture as compared to the lesser even one of a chapati, these two very popular breads still differ considerably in the fundamentals. But based on the premise of being rounded, wholesome, delicious breads incorporating variations of their own, tortillas and rotis enjoy commonplace similarity and comparable popularity.
Another of the few stuffed chapatis, this time with an Afghani lineage, is the very filling Bolani. In its thin crust, the bolani is essentially a chapati, though its stuffing makes it more inclined to being among the many types of parathas. Baked or fried as per preference, this is a snack that is nutritious, encompassing and a favorite not just in its country of origin but also in America.
A rather dry preparation from the arid lands of Rajasthan are types of chapati popular as tikkars. Tasty in its spice infusion and healthy in its corn and wheat flour blend, these comes loaded also with onions and tomatoes for a preparation that is a meal in itself. Pizza like in essence in being topped off with the veggies yet every bit desi in its authentic Indian feel, tikkars are delicious enough to entice taste buds around the world with its medley of diverse flavours.