Naan and Tandoori roti are Indian flatbreads and serve as accompaniment food to numerous Indian cuisines. At first glance, the tandoori roti and naan look the same but there are many features that set them apart.
Learn the differences between naan and tandoori roti in this article, which one is healthier, their ingredients, and uses.
What is tandoori roti?
Tandoori roti is a flatbread from the Indian Subcontinent that is prepared using a traditional pot-shaped clay oven also known as tandoor. The tandoori roti unlike other roti variants derives its name from the tandoor used in making it. They are also different from your regular roti because the regular ones make use of a concave or flat skillet called Tawa.
Plain wheat flour dough is the main ingredient used in making tandoori roti. However, cooking methods differ as some people may add ghee, sugar, butter, or yogurt.
What is naan?
Naan is a flatbread popular in the Asian part of the world, that is usually leavened and traditionally prepared using a tandoor. Naan mainly serves as a side with cuisines in the Caribbean, Western Asia, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Central Asia.
Common ingredients used in making naan include; Atta flour, cooking fat (ghee), water, wheat flour, milk, yeast, maida, and yogurt.
While the naan originates from South Asia, ancient Egypt, and Mesopotamia, most of the naan varieties prepared around the world come from South Asia. Though commonly called naan in western countries, the name does not hold any special significance in South Asia, as it is the generic word for bread over there.
How is naan different from tandoori roti?
Tandoori roti is typically unleavened bread made using whole wheat flour. It does not contain fillings and usually serves as a scoop to pick up veggies, soups, and curry dishes.
It also sometimes serves as a wrap in meat preparations. Naan on the other hand is a yeast-leavened flatbread that contains fillings, much fancier, and sweeter than tandoori roti.
You mostly prepare them using refined all-purpose flour and its fillings may include; butter, raisins, nigella seeds, and/or coconut. Additionally, naan has a non-vegetarian variant that you can stuff with keema (minced lamb or goat).
Tandoori roti’s thickness may vary based on who prepares it or how it is prepared but can never be as thick as naan. Naan’s thickness is a result of the various ingredients and fillings used which gives it a denser texture that is mouth-filling in comparison to the tandoori roti. However, both the tandoori roti and the naan are soft and chewy flatbreads.
Note: Naan is thicker than all variations of roti.
Naan is only prepared on a cylindrical clay or metal oven also known as tandoor which is often powered by wood fire or charcoal while a flat skillet or tawa can sometimes be used to prepare roti especially when there is no tandoor. Note that the tandoor roti gets its name solely because of the tandoor used in preparing it and not the ingredients.
Tandoori roti is merely a variant of the plain roti prepared on a tandoor. Other variations of the plain roti include phulka, roomali roti, chapati, missi roti, etc. Naan on the other hand has many variants such as; butter naan, garlic naan, keema naan (non-vegetarian), pudina naan, cheese naan, laccha naan, baby naan, Nawabi naan, etc.
Naan has a softer texture due to the ingredients added and the kind of flour and yeast used while tandoori roti has a dry, less flexible, and coarser texture. Because of the tandoori roti’s coarse texture, it requires more chewing than naan.
Tandoori roti, when prepared with whole wheat flour, contains protein, iron, dietary fiber, minerals, and potassium. Although naan also has similar nutritional benefits, it contains large amounts of fat and cholesterol.
Roti is fairly easy to prepare and barely consumes time because it uses fewer ingredients. Naan, however, takes a great deal of time because of the mixing of ingredients and separate preparations involved with the fillings used.
Tandoori roti when prepared plainly, has no saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat, and less amount of calories. Naan, however, contains a lot of calories.
What are the similarities between naan and tandoori roti?
Tandoori roti and naan are both flatbreads that traditionally only use tandoor in their preparation. Also, they both serve as accompaniment food mostly served with soups, vegetables, and curry dishes.
Which is healthier between tandoori roti and naan?
The tandoori roti is healthier than naan as it contains fewer calories, and no saturated fat, trans fat, or cholesterol making it great for heart health. It also offers nutritional benefits like proteins, iron, potassium, dietary fiber, etc.
Naan, on the other hand, makes use of animal fat in its preparation and as such contains saturated fats and cholesterol which when eaten excessively may lead to heart conditions.
How do you make tandoori roti?
To make your tandoori roti, measure two cups of wheat flour into a bowl, add ½ teaspoon of salt, then add 1 tablespoon of oil before mixing. Mix them properly and add water in little amounts to make the dough soft. Avoid adding too much water to the mix at once else you’ll ruin it.
Mold and press the mixture to smoothen the dough. Once the dough is ready, take small lumps from it and roll them with a rolling pin on a rolling board. Finally, place the flattened dough on a tandoor to cook. Note that this cooking step can take place on a tawa if you don’t have a tandoor.
How do you make naan?
To make restaurant-standard naan at home, simply go through the following steps;
- Mix water and sugar in a bowl, add yeast to the mix, and keep for five minutes.
- Add flour and salt into a separate bowl and mix.
- Pour yogurt or other fillings you will use and the yeast mixture into the bowl holding the flour and salt, then mix at medium speed till the dough forms.
- Once the dough rises, flatten it, then place it on a disc and divide it into 8 pieces. Cover the disc with a wrap.
- Finally, place the flattened dough on a tandoor (cylindrical clay or metal oven) and grill it using medium flame till it is slightly charred or gives a golden-brown color.
Is tandoori roti vegetarian?
Yes, tandoori roti is a vegetarian-friendly meal, as long as the dishes you’re serving or eating them with do not contain meat.
Is tandoori roti gluten free?
No, tandoori roti is not gluten-free as it is made using wheat flour. You can however make use of a gluten-free flour alternative like almond flour to make your roti.
Is naan bread vegan?
Naan is generally not suitable for vegans unless it has been modified as it contains animal products like milk, eggs, ghee(clarified butter), and/or yogurt.
Tandoori roti is mostly made using plain unleavened dough while Naan uses leavened dough that has been fermented with yeast. While both flatbreads mainly come served with Indian or Asian cuisines, naan is much richer in contrast to the tandoori roti as it contains other ingredients like milk, egg, raisins, coconut, and butter.
Additionally, in terms of nutritional and health benefits, naan due to its ingredients is filled with various nutrients like protein, fats, minerals, carbohydrates, etc. However, it is unhealthier than the tandoori roti since it uses animal fat which contains bad trans fat and cholesterol.
Finally, although different, the tandoori roti and naan are mainly applicable to Asian dishes or Indian cuisines. While they can sometimes serve as food wraps, they are primarily used to scoop food which makes them quite different from the tortillas used in Mexican dishes. Find out the difference between the roti and tortilla, and the dishes they go best with.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Thanks for reading.