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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why bread is called ‘Double roti’ in India?


Why bread is called ‘Double roti’ in India?

The question had been bothering me for some time, and I was unable to find an authentic response, till I stumbled upon an article on British influence on Indian cuisine.

Bread has been alien to India, and our Indian breads have traditionally been unleavened or flat, comprising mostly of chapatti, roti, parantha, naan or poori. Baked western bread was popularized in India during the time of British raj. The use of Western bread however dates even further, most probably, during the Portuguese colonization period. The reference to this can be found in the vastly popular Maharashtra snacks – ‘Pao Bhaji’ .
In my quest for getting a correct answer to my question I came across many interesting theories about theses breads. For instance many people think that bread is called ‘double roti’ because it rises to double its size when baked. Also, more interestingly some say the term ‘pav’ or ‘pao rooti’ (Bengali word for bread) comes from the fact that commercial bread used to be kneaded by foot in bread factories of India in 19th century.  

The truth however is not very startling. The word ‘Pav’ comes from Portuguese word for bread – ‘pão’. The dish however has a history of its own and revolves around the textile mill workers of Mumbai or ‘Bombay’ as it was called then.

The name ‘Double roti’ however comes from the fact that when British introduced sandwiches in India, the natives called it ‘Double roti’ as it had meat and vegetables stuffed inside two slices of bread.  The term later became popular for any kind of baked bread, whether stuffed or not.

So, next time you dig into a ‘pav’ or ‘double roti’ remember why it is called so.  Its caio for now, or should I say ‘pav’ ?

14 comments:

Sharbari said...

Wow this is good stuff...love ANYTHING TO DO WITH BREAD:) specially pavbhaji!!!

Star 2 Success said...

Interesting !!! What they never taught in IHM Pusa even in the golden days !!!

sandeep chatterjee said...

Thank you for the comments Mr. Bakshi.

@Sharbari... Thanx a lot.. missing pav baji ??

Nishant Srivastava said...

Amazing piece of Information. Never thought of.....surely, now when I eat any bread I will think about this.

sandeep chatterjee said...

Thanks Nishant !!!

Sudip Sen said...

Dear Sandeep,

loved the informative article! could i request you to share the article on British influence on Indian food with me? Hope u don't mind. Please contact me at sudipsen84@gmail.com

Thanks in advance

Amrut Acharya said...

Very interesting.. I'm glad I now know. Also realised that sandwich is the name of a place in Britain. And when you order 'the same as in Sandwich' you get a sandwich. Later of course it came to be called, just sandwich!

KITOOMAL said...

Good post and thanks Amrut as well, for the info about sandwich!

I knew that double-roti is another name for a single Pav out of a laadi of pav (loaf of bread). But the sandwich explanation of double roti seems more logical. Also, when vendors sell vada-pav, they slice the pav almost all the way into to, and stuff the vada. This creates a flap - somewhat like Falafel (falafel is more in the pocket mould though).

Anubhav Narula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Human said...

Interesting... I always used to wonder it

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Shail N said...

Sandeep: The same question came up this morning while having tea with my wife. Glad i could search this on Google. Good stuff and Thank you for researching this.