What is the difference between roti and parota or paratha as we usually call it? A recent Goods and Service Tax (GST) ruling sparked off the debate with the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR, Karnataka Bench) suggesting parotas would be subject to a higher GST rate of 18 per cent as compared to roti.
“AAR has not appreciated that the term ‘roti’ is generic and can cover different types of Indian breads,” Pratik Jain, partner and leader, indirect tax, PwC India, was quoted as saying by Times of India. Rotis are subject to a lower rate of five per cent GST.
Food anthropologist and historian Dr Kurush Dalal explained in a chat with indianexpress.com, “Parota and paratha are the same thing; they are just regional variations phonetically. The defining characteristic of parota is that it is folded. It is thicker, it has more fat in it like ghee or oil or dalda. So you add the fat and fold it and roll it out again. As many times as you repeat the action, you get that many thin layers.” Try this recipe for aloo paratha.
Technically, roti, on the other hand, is a very generic term which includes chapattis as well as phulkas, emphasised the food anthropologist. “Essentially, a roti dough is a single dough which is made into balls and rolled out but it does not have multiple layers, which distinguishes it from a parota,” he remarked.
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Parota is comparatively expensive and takes more labour, said Dalal. Popular chef Ranveer Brar added, “Parota is richer than roti. It comes from the word ‘parat’ meaning layers. Roti is more staple and basic than parota.”
Again, you can stuff a paratha. “A simple dough with stuffing inside requires a lot of fat on the outside to cook properly because of its thickness,” said Dalal.
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