Paratha is a North Indian vernacular but down South, paratha is commonly known as “parotta” or Roti prata. This is prevalent in all of South but mostly concentrated in a place in Tamil Nadu knows as Chennai (old Madras). Many of the people from this region migrated to Singapore and Malaysia where the tradition prevailed.
In Malaysia, it goes by the name, “Roti Canai” which is a strange fabrication of the words “Roti” and “Chennai”. The people who cook this dish overseas are mostly workers from Southern India.
Roti canai is made from a dough that is mostly composed of trans fats like margarine, flour and water. The dough is kneaded for a long period of time, after which it is flattened, smothered with oil and then folded before proofing, which is basically the technique of creating multiple layers, like in the case of puff pastry.
Eventually, the dough ball is flattened to a very thin mass. This is then gathered into long rope like structures that is turned into constricted knots and then flattened so it can consist of fine flakes of dough when fried
Roti versus bread
I think we’ve all been told that bread is unhealthy because it’s made up of white flour. I know we’d all love for that to be a myth to be busted but sadly, white flour raises bad cholesterol that leads to severe health issues like high blood pressure and obesity.
Roti on the other hand is composed of whole wheat flour that is a much more healthy choice. Of course now, they have introduced a novelty of bread varieties like multi grain and brown bread. Bread is usually baked in the oven unlike roti that is directly cooked on the fire or skillet. Bread is still usually frowned upon as the modern technique of bread making involves the removing of roughage (a kind of fiber) from the flour. Roughage is a nutritional constituent of the flour that assists in digestion.
Roti does not contain any leavening agent which also helps it earn brownie points. Leavening agents is a harmful ingredient because it releases carbon dioxide gas that can potentially suffocate a person which makes it deleterious to our overall health.
Additionally, roti is prepared at home and as such, makes all the difference. Brown bread or multi grain bread is a healthy alternative but it still has its drawbacks. For instance, they are packed with preservatives. Like that isn’t enough of a shortcoming, ironically, they are a lot more expensive.
Roti on the other hand is made of a wide range of wholesome, high in nutrition ingredients like wheat, millet, jowar and bajra.
It’s rather tempting to conclude that roti is undoubtedly a much healthier choice. However, roti only makes up for a small part of the meal. The side dish that is accompanied with roti, in all probability, holds more good in nourishment value. For instance, if you are going to eat roti with a blend of sugar and butter, then a vegetable sandwich for all intents and purposes is healthier.