Last week, the digital food publication and encyclopaedia Taste Atlas released a list of the ‘Best Breads in the World’. It had 100 breads from all corners of the globe, and Indian breads dominated the list with roti, various types of naan and parathas.
According to the widely circulated list, aloo naan ranked 86, paneer naan ranked 84, (Kerala) parotta ranked 83, Kashmiri naan ranked 72, rumali roti ranked 66, aloo paratha ranked 58, puri ranked 55, paratha was at 28, roti ranked 27, Amritsari kulcha ranked 26, naan was at 7, and butter garlic naan secured the third position. Among the several ‘world’s best foods’ list that Taste Atlas has released this year, the one of breads is dominated by India. Their website tasteatlas.com carries a description of the Kashmiri naan that says, “The dough is made with a combination of flour, yeast, salt, sugar, yogurt, and ghee. Once rolled, the dough is filled with dried fruits, nuts, and spices such as glace cherries, raisins, almonds, cashews, cumin, and fenugreek. The naan is then baked in a hot tava pan until fully cooked, a bit puffy, and golden brown. This type of sweet naan is usually served for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, when it’s typically paired with tea (Kashmiri chai) or coffee. It’s often served with spicy curries, gravy, raita, or chutneys.”
Anyone familiar with the traditional breads of Kashmir knows that this description is largely inaccurate. Kashmiri breads are cooked in a tandoor and not tawa. Some of them are paired with nun chai. Most of them don’t have ‘glace cherries, raisins, almonds, cashews, cumin, and fenugreek.’ Kashmiris have a range of breads, which is locally known as roti or tschots. Perhaps the version described by Taste Atlas is sold in Indian restaurants and curry houses in the West.
Back to the list, the breads that secured the top positions include the cheesy pan de bono from Columbia which ranked number one, and roti canai from Malaysia that ranked second. The latter, as the name suggests, has an India connect. Pronounced as Roti Chennai, it is believed that this flaky bread was introduced in Malaysia by immigrants from South India in the nineteenth century. It’s made with refined flour, lightly fried and then smashed. It became a popular street food in the streets of Malaysia. For those curious to know more, watch this video: