Let’s start the Indian Bread Types series with a East Indian Bread Collection. This region is primarily a rice growing region and has medium to high rainfall and warm and humid weather conditions. Accordingly, the East Indian bread types are mostly simple, light and usually made of rice or maida. It has some interesting shapes and forms of Indian bread, which you shall see below. So let’s start with the northern-most East Indian state: Bihar. But before you begin, I hope you have read our article about Basics of Indian Breads.
The Indian Bread Types from Bihar include both regular breads like Indian roti and variations of parathas and pooris. But the kitchens also have some interesting variations. Let’s check them out.
Litti chokha is almost synonymous with Bihari cuisine for many of us. This hard, biscuity bread is made of whole wheat and often stuffed with a spiced mixture of sattu (chana flour). Traditionally, it is baked on dung cakes or charcoal, and served with a mash of potatoes, brinjals with a hit of mustard oil. Here’s how it is made.
Makuni is basically a sattu-stuffed paratha. The crispy paratha tastes delicious with a spiced sattu filling containing onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, etc. You can read the Makuni recipe here.
3. Dal Paratha/ Dal Poori
Bagiya is a steamed rice flour dumpling, where a spiced filling of chana dal is enwrapped in silky pearly rice dough. The sweet version is called Doodh Bagiya, which contains a filling of jaggery, cardamom and coconut. These sweet dumplings are then dipped in thickened milk. You can watch this video to understand how Bagiya is made.
5. Dal Pithi / Dal Pithori / Dal ki Dulhan
Out of all Indian bread types, dal pithi is really interesting looking! They are flower shaped whole wheat dough pieces which are cooked in arhar dal. Depending on the final shape, it is also known as dal pithori (for flat dumplings), or dal ki dulhan (for stuffed dumplings). The combination is then enjoyed with pickle and ghee, or more popularly, aloo chokha. Check out how it is made here.
Breads in Jharkhand is defined by Dhuska, an iconic dish from the state. However, there are also a number of interesting breads made from rice and ragi which adorn the platter of a typical Jharkhandi meal.
Dhuska is an iconic bread from Jharkhand and one of the signature dishes of the state. Soaked rice and chana dal is ground with chilli and spices and fried crisp like a poori. It is served hot with potato curry. Watch how it is made here.
7. Dal Pitha
Dal pitha is a boiled version of bagiya. Similar to its northern counterpart, it has a filling of spiced chana dal. However, the dough is a mixture of rice flour and wheat flour, and the dumplings are boiled instead of steamed. It is usually eaten with coriander or tomato chutney.
8. Chilka Roti
Chilka roti is an airy, crisp rice crepe, and like a lot of Indian bread types, looks like a South Indian dosa. However, this batter of rice and chana dal is only soaked overnight and is not fermented like its southern counterpart. It is a popular breakfast dish and can be eaten with garlic chutney or chokha. Watch how it is made here.
9. Arsa Roti
Arsa roti is a sweet fried bread made by mixing jaggery syrup with rice flour and deep frying it in oil. It holds a special significance in Jharkhand and is the first dish by the bride and groom’s family during a wedding. It is also made in Jharkhand’s tribal community during Christmas. Watch how it is made here.
10. Khapra Roti
Perhaps my favourite of the whole East Indian bread types collection, the khapra roti is a pillowy, idli-type bread made of a batter of soaked rice and urad dal. The rice and legume are crushed using a silbatta and the batter is cooked in an earthen pot. Khapra roti is also known as chitwa in Bihar, and gorgorwa and dhakan daba roti in certain regions of Jharkhand. It is often enjoyed with non-vegetarian gravies. The way Khapra roti is made is beautiful. Take a look at the technique here.
11. Marwa Roti
Primarily a rice-eating state, the West Bengal cuisine includes breads mostly for special events like festivals and functions. Unlike the typical Indian bread types, the breads are mostly made of refined wheat flour, or maida.
Luchi is like a more delicate version of poori, and is made entirely of maida. It is made especially on festivals like Ekadashi, when rice is not supposed to be eaten. On such days, it is eaten with aloor dum, while on other days, Bengali luchi is enjoyed with Bengali mutton dish called Kosha mangsho. Watch luchi being made here.
Kochuri is the maida counterpart or the North Indian kachori. The maida dough is stuffed with hing and dal, or peas and deep fried to yield crispy kochuri (koraishutir kochuri / matorshutir kachori). Find out the recipe to this delicious kochuri here.
Radhaballabhi is deep fried maida poori with two twists! The urad dal inside has an interesting spicing of ginger, green chilli and fennel seeds. But even more interestingly, both the dough and filling have a little sugar in them to give a subtle sweet taste to the otherwise savoury fried bread. Find out the recipe here.
15. Dhakai Paratha
This is one of the most impressive breads of East India. In fact, making a Dhakai paratha is so challenging that the once popular street food is almost on the verge of extinction. Why, you ask? Well, here we go.
Dhakai paratha is like a combination of a lachcha paratha and a luchi/poori. It combines the layered paratha-making techniques of the Muslim khansamas and crispy luchis of the Hindu chefs. The traditional dhakai parathas were crispy, flaky, bigger than an average plate and had almost 25-30 layers! Find out the procedure of making dhakai paratha here.
16. Mughlai Paratha
Another decadent bread of Bengal comes with a rich history. Mughlai paratha, or moglai porota, is said to have originated during the Mughal rule in Bengal in the Bengal Subah (region of Bengal under the dynasty). During this time, Adil Hafiz Usman, a cook from Bardhaman district of West Bengal, created the recipe of Mughlai Paratha for Mughal emperor Jahangir.
The paratha is a crisp and thick paratha stuffed with egg and mutton keema. It is now a very popular street snack in Bengal. Watch it being made here.
17. Doodh Ka Paratha
This paratha gets a subtle hint of sweetness from the use of milk to knead the maida dough. A little sugar is also added to it. The resulting paratha is crisp from the outside, but soft it the middle. Read the recipe here.
Parathas are enjoyed in Bengal with rich gravies as well as in the form of rolls. The crisp parathas are made of maida and are hence crispier, lighter and less doughy compared to the north-Indian parathas. The lachcha paratha is also popular in West Bengal.
Odisha is primarily a rice-eating state. However, we found two very special breads from this state.
19. Saru Chakuli / Chakuli Pitha
These are similar to dosas, but like chilka roti of Jhakrkhand, the batter is not fermented. It is also softer and thicker. The batter in Chakuli pitha is made of soaked rice and black gram. It is enjoyed with jaggery, ghughni or potato curry. Check out how it is made here.
20. Janta Roti
Janta roti is like the North Indian phulka. However in janta roti, the whole wheat flour is mixed into salted boiling water. After the water cools down, the dough is kneaded. The rolled dough is then puffed up on an open flame. Here’s how you make it.
So that’s it for the East Indian bread compilation. Cuisines and recipes are a very fluid concept and no knowledge is better than collective knowledge in this sphere, So if you do have any points or breads to add to the list, please do let us know in the comments below. Coming up next in the Indian Bread Types Collection: Breads of North-East India!