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’ ?