Shipra Srivastava, a media professional feels that there’s nothing better than relishing freshly made hot chapatis with a delectable sabzi and dal. Although there are several delicacies, but there isn’t a better comfort food than a delicious homemade chapati.
Well, when it comes to Indian meals, chapati happens to be an inseparable part of most Indian thalis. In fact, there are several variants of this flatbread and every region has a unique way of either preparing it or serving it.
Chapati also known as Indian flat bread is an important part of the meals. Chapati or Roti is one of the most common types of bread consumed, especially in India, where it is almost essential to have chapati or roti at least once a day. Chapati is served alongside any curry or dry dish to complete the meal or alternatively stuffed with any dry vegetable and made into a roll to carry along as an on the go snack. There are various recipes for making chapatis all over the country. The main variation in all the preparations is the type of flour used.
Chapatis can be made using rice flour, wheat flour, all purpose flour, maize flour etc. Each of these recipes taste, feel and look different from the others and are used to prepare different types of breads as well. Maida or all purpose flour is used to make bhaturas, naan, rice flour is used primarily in South Indian dish preparations, besan or gram flour is used to make gluten free, missi roti, dhoklas etc. The most common flour used to make chapatis in North India are wheat flour and corn flour, referred to as maize flour. In this article we explore the differences between the two and assess their uses.
Whole wheat flour, maida (all purpose) flour and sooji (semolina) flour are all made of wheat flour and are popularly used in preparation of North Indian breads. Out of these, whole wheat flour, commonly called atta, is considered the healthiest. Chapatis are mostly made of whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is also used to make other breads like pooris and parathas. Whole wheat flour is made of whole grain, which means it contains wheat grain, the husk bran, endosperm. This type of flour contains gluten. Wheat flour contains high quantities of proteins. Additionally, wheat is rich in vitamins and minerals, iron and calcium. Whole wheat also contains high fibre, which makes it good for gut health. The consumption of wheat has proven to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, like colon cancer. It also aids in improving digestion. On the down side, since it is abundant in gluten, it has adverse health effects for people who are gluten intolerant.
Corn flour or maize flour is widely used to make tortillas, chips and even breads. Known as makkai (makki) in Hindi, maize flour makes for a very popular ingredient in the Northern state of Punjab where it is consumed in the form of Makki ki Roti. Makki ki roti, or maize flour is an essential part of the meal, especially in winter. This type of flour is obtained by milling dried corn kernel and is yellow in colour. This flour does not contain gluten and so it makes is edible for people who are allergic to gluten. After wheat flour, maize/corn flour is the most consumed flour. Corn flour has lower calories compared to wheat flour. It is high in proteins and starch. Maize is also rich in iron, phosphorous, zinc and various vitamins. Abundant in antioxidants, maize flour is proven to be good for eyesight, and also helps in the prevention of cancer, and anemia.
Difference and which is better?The main difference between corn and wheat flour is in their texture and flavour. Maize cannot replace flour in various dishes. On the other hand, maize flour is gluten free and so can be consumed by everyone. Nutrition wise, corn flour contains higher amounts of fats. Wheat flour is richer than corn flour in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and calories. Whole wheat flour is healthier than corn flour. However, this largely depends on the recipe and the dish it is used in. Both the flour are essential in providing a balanced diet and consumed in moderation the flours are unlikely to harm your health.