Must eat – Legendary Mughal special flatbreads in Old DelhiSmriti Saxena
Selecting right bread as an accompaniment to a dish is as important as infusing the dish itself. This dining essential is known to be introduced by Mughals to the foodie city of Delhi. Here are some selections from the local baker’s menu which you must try. Take your pick
Sheermal/Bakarkhani/Laal Roti : Not to be confused with Lucknow’s sheermal or Kashmir’s bakarkhani, this sweet and soft bread is the second most popular bread after the khamiri roti. The sheermal gets its name from the milk – sheer is Persian for milk – that’s added along with ghee and sugar to the dough. The bread that’s served with generous lashings of ghee is paired with spicy dishes like stew, nahari and qorma and with desserts like phirni and rabri.
Doodh Cheeni Ki Roti: One of the many varieties of breads that appear on the menu but is rarely displayed on counters, the doodh cheeni ki roti has to be pre-ordered. In addition to ghee, sugar, and milk, it contains paanch maghaz (combination of five seeds/nuts), elaichi (cardamom), saunf (fennel seeds) and kalaunji (nigella seeds). Dhaniya (coriander) and til (sesame seeds) are added as toppings.
Parat-Daar Paratha: Though the parat-daar patatha can be eaten with various Mughlai curries, it is absolutely delicious with mutton qeema. The parat-daar paratha (parat means layers) or lachha paratha is made of milk, sugar and flour. Semolina (suji) and ghee are added, not while kneading the dough, but to the dough balls. It is cooked on low heat and is handled with care as it has many layers. This roti is also available at other north Indian eateries.
Khamiri Roti :The all season bread is “the Mughal’s closest answer to leavened bread,” chef Tarla Dalal noted on her site. This thick and spongy roti is part of the staple diet of families in every Muslim neighbourhood of the city. There are bakers who specialise in the khamiri roti (khamir means yeast). It can be paired with nearly any dish, gravy or dry, vegetarian or non-vegetarian and is in demand both during domestic meals and at wedding banquets.
Kulcha: Much richer and bigger than the kulcha with matar (peas) that is a popular street food across much of north India, this kulcha is the thickest of all the breads sold in Old Delhi. Made of flour, yeast, milk, sugar and eggs, it leaves a sweet aftertaste. It comes closest to the naan in its chewiness and can easily be considered its distant cousin. Earlier, kulchas were made in tawas or clay tandoors set aside especially for them. The story goes that by the time Shah Jehan came to power, chefs in the royal kitchens had started replacing naans with kulchas stuffed with vegetables and meat.
Content and images : Hindustan Times