Soft, slightly chewy, and with the perfect touch from the grill, Naan is a significant part of Indian fare, and has a whole bunch of variations too. Cheese Naan, Butter Naan, and Plain Naan – to name a few. Colombo houses a range of Indian restaurants where you can try them out to your heart's content. What's even better is that you have the chance to pair it with some super interesting curries packed with all that Indian spice blends which you cannot simply buy from the local market.
A mixture of leeks, carrots and potatoes curried to perfection, and stuffed inside a pocket of roti, then pan-grilled to add those nice crispy patterns on the dough, this is one of the most basic roti-based short eats you can find in Colombo. The triangle-shaped pocket is the most common one, but occasionally, you get the cube-like ones too. If done right, you're not going to miss your meats in this one.
If someplace has elawalu roti, you'll most probably be able to find its fishy friend right next to it. Fish Roti is a variation of elawalu roti, and it usually comes with bits of mackerel thrown into the elawalu mix. Praneetha's take on this roti is very spicy, which simply tears apart in your mouth so beautifully.
Ain't nothing better than a paratha with crispy spots here and there to go with just about any curry you have, am I right? From street-side kadeys to fancy Indian restaurants, this is one popular roti in Colombo that you would never say no to. Featured above is the paratha we discovered at Praneetha, and
curries – beef and parippu from Uva Hotel.
A pocketful of flattened bread stuffed to its brim with a mix of stir-fried meats and veggies, in a manner that it almost spills out of its bready enclosure, Murthaba Roti is easily the best roti option to fill you up. This one doesn't come in podi portions – they are giant, have a good filling, so one roti can feed at least 2 people. It's a bit hard to find too. But we guarantee that you can get a good one of this at Hotel De Plaza. Well spiced, and with an abundance of meats of your choice, there's nothing better than a glass of chilled Coca-Cola to pair with this one.
Adapted from the popular concept of elawalu roti, the Chicken Roti is simply a way of infusing the chicken-y goodness into the good old elawalu roti. While it's not essentially a rare find, it's not very common either. So, if you're craving for one, drop by Praneetha.
Boy, oh boy! We were over the moon when we discovered this one during our attempt in rounding up all the rotis in Colombo. Found at Praneetha, it features chunks of well-cooked pork riding side by side with all the curried veggies and has a sprinkle of pepper slipped in, bringing everything to the spicy side of things. If you can't handle the spiciness, worry not – A bottle of fizzy Coca-Cola has your back!
Slightly similar to a paratha, but packed with egginess, biththara roti is a popular breakfast/dinner staple. You can eat it on its own but pairing it with some meat curries or sambol can bring the experience to a whole other level. Get yourselves a portion of this along with a dynamite seeni sambol from Uva Hotel, and a bottle of Coca-Cola to balance things out – you can thank us later.
Kulcha is also a flatbread similar to Naan, hailing all the way from India. The key difference between these two lies in the ingredients and the methods of preparation. In comparison to Kulcha, Naan is softer and lighter in texture, as its dough is leavened with yoghurt and yeast during the preparation, whereas Kulcha dough is not. On the other hand, Naan is most commonly made with wheat flour, while Kulcha is made with refined white flour.
Anyway, Kulcha is a hard find in Colombo. Out of the Indian restaurants we've been to, only a few of them does Kulcha, and Chola does the best one we've had so far. Beautifully embedded with sesame seeds, they've got deliciously crunchy spots scattered about, while the middle is all hearty and buttery. Pair this one with some Butter Chicken or Paneer Butter Masala and you're in for a treat!
Pol Roti is a classic Lankan delicacy that tastes so good with some lunu miris, katta sambol or even fiery meat curries. Crunchy to the bite, while the flecks from the correct griddling act as a flavour boost, this one is a good snack for breakfast, dinner, or even during tea time. Some make it with bits of onions and chillies embedded. Yum!
We got this particular pol roti slathered with hot-as-hell katta sambol from Hondahitha in Kohuwala.
*This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola.