Wheat porotta or regular porotta, is Kerala's favourite food villainous than we think?

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Soft and flaky porotta with crispy edges, soaked in spicy and flavoursome beef gravy is the dream of any porotta lover. People hardly think about the poor nutritious quality of the all-purpose flour when they tear a piece of porotta, scoop a chunk of the perfectly cooked beef with it and enjoys the heavenly combination.

Meanwhile, wheat porotta has been gaining popularity, lately, as a healthy variant of the porotta. However, how good is the wheat porotta which is touted as the healthier cousin of the regular porotta.

Wheat flour isn’t a flexible ingredient like the all-purpose flour which can be easily pulled and stretched. So, to make it flexible lots of vegetable fat has to be added in the dough. It is the vegetable fat that gives taste to the wheat porotta and makes it extremely soft and flaky. In the restaurants, vegetable fats and oils are mostly used to make wheat porottas.

However, not many know that these fats and oils are nasty enough to make people unhealthy. The truth is that, contrary to the popular beliefs, there aren’t any health benefits if you replace the regular porotta with wheat porrotta. 

Is the all-purpose flour as bad as it is believed to be? 

The western cuisine involves lots of breads which are primarily made with all-purpose flour. The classic bread toast is their favourite breakfast dish. From the Yorkshire pudding to the beef Wellington that is cooked on special occasions, Britons cannot avoid all-purpose flour from their diet. Besides, cookies, biscuits and crumbles are made using the good old all-purpose flour. 

The Italian pizza, pasta, lasagna, German sausage rolls and the Belgian waffles are all made using all-purpose flour. Meanwhile, the exquisite French cuisine is incomplete without the delicious pastries. Similarly, the popular American dishes like pancakes, burgers and hot dogs have all-purpose flour as the main ingredient. 

As the processed foods do not have any healthy fibers in them, these food items get digested soon and are turned into glucose.

All-purpose flour is also used in many East European and Arabian dishes. The same is true about the various noodle dishes and tasty dumplings that are served in the Asian countries. 

Not just Keralites who binge on porotta, but the entire world loves dishes that are cooked using all-purpose flour. 

However, there is a major difference between the above said Western dishes and our classic combination of porotta and beef. While we eat 3-5 porottas with huge portions of meat curries, they include lots of veggies and leafy vegetables in their diet.

Even if a few pieces of Chinese potato or plantains are added in the beef curries, we would scoop them out and eat only the meats and the fatty gravy. Porotta could be enjoyed as a healthy and well-balanced food item if we include a few veggies along with it. 

So, just like the Americans love their guacamole toast, can’t we include some drumstick leaves stir fry or plantain stem roast with porotta and beef?

(The writer is a restaurant consultant and blogger. Opinions are personal)

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