Is Roomali Roti Disappearing From Menus? New Tweet Goes Viral

Roomali Roti is easily one of the most pairable breads in Indian cuisine; also known as handkerchief bread, this delicate Indian flatbread was at one point referred to as ‘manda’ roti. It’s thin, soft, and stretchy and can be paired alongsid anything, from kebabs to a butter masala. The popular roomali roti has been a longstanding favourite for desi foodies for decades; however, a recent tweet made by a researcher sparked concern about the dwindling presence of this roti in menus across the country.

A researcher and journalist named Hari Krishnan recently took to social media platform X to write, “Rumali Roti vanishing from menus is a crisis that isn't spoken about enough.” In the lst couple of days, the post has been seen more than 480,000 times and has been shared widely. Several X users chimed in with their take and some revealed that they have struggled to find roomali roti at many diners in their town. 

“I too have thought about this, even though I am not supposed to consume it. Why is it missing in several places? Is it related to popularity or skills? I know it's not easy to make and flipping and spinning it in the air is an art ig,” commented one X user. Another foodie joked that this maight be a conspiracy by ‘big Naan’, while a number of people shared that they have struggled to explain what a roomali roti is to their wait staff.

The art of stretching and spinng the roti in the air to thin it out has largely been consdered a skill. History suggests that the roomali roti is a Mughal invention, though the exact period of its invention has not yet been confirmed. It is said that during Royal meals, this stretchy roti was used as a handkerchief to wipe off excess oil from the food. The royal chefs would fold the long roti like a handkerchief and put it on the table for the kings, who used these to wipe their hands after a meal. 

Chefs would toss the dough into the air, stretching it thin like a handkerchief before cooking it on an inverted, dome-shaped griddle called a tawa. This technique of cooking the roti on a dome-like tawa has survived quite seamlessly for centuries; diners and modest eateries too use this method to make roomali rotis. 

The thinness of this roti allowed it to cook quickly and evenly on the hot surface, making it a convenient option for serving large banquets and royal feasts. It is believed that the Mughal emperors appreciated the soft and delicate texture of the Roomali Roti, which complemented the rich and flavorful gravies and kebabs served in their courts. Although the roti is still available quite widely, its presence on menus has dwindled over the last few years as flavoured naans, kulchas, specialised parathas etc have taken over. 

Though it’s not clear why the roomali roti’s avalbailty is going down across restaurants, the lack of experts who can make this roti can be an issue. “True. Recently I asked at Cafe in Chandigarh for malai chaap and rumaali roti and they will be like, we don’t have rumaali roti. Instead they suggested options in Naan,” wrote one X user, under the viral post.