An assortment Indian bread basker containing roti, naan, and paratha.
The Traditional Cooking Method That Makes Paratha Distinct From Naan
Naan and paratha are two of the many delicious flatbreads found in South Asia. They both have a blistered exterior from high-heat cooking, but the actual cooking methods differ.
Naan is a leavened bread that is always baked in tandoors, large cylindrical clay ovens that can reach scorching temperatures. Paratha is a pan-fried flatbread with flaky layers.
Paratha are also often stuffed with fillings before cooking. Filled versions can work as meals on their own, while plain paratha works well as a side to curries and dal.
Once naan dough has been prepared, bakers slap the rolled-out dough against walls of a tandoor until the break puffs out and gains a charred, speckled brown exterior.
Paratha are traditionally fried on a tawa, a stone or steel frying pan shaped like a disc. Tawas are commonly found in the kitchens of South Asian households.
Cooking paratha begins by heating the tawa and adding a good amount of oil or butter, then pan-frying the pre-shaped dough into a flaky, charred pancake-like bread.