The Indian cuisine is replete with a variety of breads. Flatbreads are commonplace in Indian meals. Be it the humble chapatti or the stretchy naan, it is important to have bread that can be dipped into the famous curries from the Indian fare. Curry is another intrinsic part of this cuisine, wherein gravy-like dishes go well with both rice and bread. Each regional cuisine in India has its own specialties and aspects. When it is heavy and rich food, it is usually deemed to be a part of the Kashmiri, Lucknowi or Hyderabadi cuisine. When it is on the sweeter side, people tend to think of it as Gujarati. These assumptions are based on the taste palates of these regions. 

Enter an Indian buffet and we bet you’d be left baffled by the assortment of breads that are available in that bread basket. Laccha parathas, tandoori roti, naan and plenty of other flatbreads make their way into the basket. Naan is also of many types. Seasoned with garlic, butter, green chillies and what not, the naan is a soft and chewy bread that is stretched to be made. However, our tryst with a special kind of paratha happened at a recent food festival. The theme for the festival revolved around Awadhi cuisine and they brought the best of delicacies to the table. It was during main course that we experienced the soft layers of Warqi paratha touch our lips. 

While we dipped it into the Navratan korma, paneer nazakhat and murg musallam, the bread continued to be the highlight of every bite. Warqi paratha, for those untouched by the phenomenon, is a paratha or flatbread made with multiple layers. The paratha originates from the royal kitchens of Awadh and it is believed that it was an important of meals back then. Still prevalent in Lucknow, the warqi paratha enjoys a huge fan fare in the region. However, making the paratha is no cakewalk. The multiple layers are achieved by continuous folding of the dough and therefore, requires a lot of time, effort and patience. 

The word warqi is derived from Awadhi which means layers. This soft and flaky paratha shouldn’t be confused with laccha paratha which is thicker and flakier than the former. Although warqi paratha is usually savoury, you might find hints of kesar aka saffron and sugar in it at some places. This sweet version also fares well with curries like the savoury one. Need we say that the paratha involves a lot of ghee in its preparation which gives it the delicate texture. 

Repeated folding of the paratha dough into half results in those fine layers that you see in the paratha. It isn’t a quick task as the dough needs to be cooled down and set aside every time it is rolled. This allows all the layers to be clearly visible on the paratha. Made with maida, ghee, milk, sugar and salt, the paratha goes well with fiery curries from the Awadhi cuisine. Murg Mussallam paired with this paratha, lends the dish a meatiness that it needs. Even dry dishes like galouti kebabs can be served with the paratha, alongside some mint chutney. 

Here’s a recipe of Murg Mussallam that you can have with this puffed bread.