In the midst of choosing between white and brown breads, somewhere we have lost out on traditional rotis, which were a staple diet of families in every Muslim neighbourhood of Old Delhi and Mumbai. One of them is Khamiri Roti, which is believed to have been a popular staple in the Mughal Age. Mostly found in the streets of Old Delhi, Khamiris make an exceptional combination with non-vegetarian dishes such as Korma. If you haven’t tried them yet, it’s time you gorge on these spongy and chewy rotis that are definitely going to leave you asking for more.

What is Khamiri Roti?

Mutton Nihari goes down well with a Khameeri Roti

‘Khamir’ is an Urdu word meaning yeast. A leavened baked flatbread, Khamiri is believed to have originated in the Mughal era and was a staple amongst the people. Not just Khamiri, but breads like Naan and Bakarkhani among others were eaten during this era. In the olden days, Indian bread industry was run by Naan Bais and Bhatiyaras, who used to supply locals a range of traditional breads. Naan Bais used to supply bulk orders during festivals and other family events whereas Bhatiyaras used to supply breads on a daily basis to various households. You can still find many old style Bhatiyaras in the small lanes and bylanes of Muhammed Ali Road, Mumbai.

Khamiris are soft, spongy and have a slight tangy taste that makes them extremely unique and special. Earlier, in summers, people used to ferment the atta by leaving it overnight to let the dough rise and prepare these rotis. Even today at Tasneem’s Kings Kitchen make Khamiri rotis the traditional way with fermented atta and avoid adding yeast or baking soda normally done nowadays in modern kitchens to quicken and ease the process.

This Indian version of sourdough bread tastes best with Indian curries and dals. This is a fluffy and spongy bread made up of sour bread, and can be easily found in a Muslim household and also on our menu. Traditionally, it is made in a tandoor but one can also make it on a ulta tawa. At home, we eat it almost every week pairing it with various kinds of gravy. The usage increases during festivals, because these festivities mean a lot of rich and delectable food. It tastes best with Mutton Nihari and Bhuna Kheema also on our menu or any other curry dish.