South Indian cuisine has been given a sleek image by, among other things, North India. This stereotypical image bears such dishes as Idli Sambar, Dosa and Uttapam.
One dish that slips right out of this stereotype, but is equally popular, so much so that it can be considered one of the signature dishes in South India, is the Malabar Parotta. Known for its flaky and soft texture and its folded and layered appearance, Parotta is a South Indian flatbread that is quite popular for its versatility.
You name it and this flatbread can become a very suitable element on plates of all kinds of dishes. From Rasam to Sambhar, from roast beef to chicken curry, from aloo curry to chutney, parotta can be cut for anything.
The origin of the flaky flatbread is still not clear, but it is believed that its roots can be traced back to the Arab nations. As maritime trade was the medium for the original recipe to come to India and transform according to the Indian subcontinent, parotta quickly gained traction in a place where rice was a dominant diet.
The Malabar or Kerala Parotta is often confused with the North Indian Laccha Paratha. But South Indians have time and again made a distinction, and rightly so, between the two. Be it the phonetics (pa-ro-ta and pa-ra-ta) or the recipe and preparation, the two differ on all grounds.
The parotta also made quite a stir on social media recently for non-food but financial reasons. Parotta led the way in a fierce discourse about GST records. The Karnataka bank of the Authority of Advance Rulings (AAR) said that unlike Rotis and Khakhras, which are imposed at five percent GST, the parottas will attract 18 percent GST. This sparked a frenzy from hashtags like HandsOffKerala and HandsOffParotta, to fight the decision.
The next time you are in a South Indian state or near a South Indian restaurant, be sure to sample this ultimate divided flatbread, which unites people across state lines.
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