Pani Roti (पानी रोटी): A Menu from Nepal

pani roti, पानी रोटी, panroti
पानी रोटी  (Pani Roti)

Pani roti directly translates to water bread in English but is far more different than the literal meaning. Some people refer it as just Panroti but again panroti is another North Indian recipe where a bread is made using the leaves of pan plants.

What is Pani roti?

Pani roti is a traditional Nepali cuisine popularly emblematized as a dish of the poor but in fact, is not. The logic behind this might be that we don't have to cook multiple dishes when there is Pani roti. That means when we cook rice, then definitely you will need curry, daal and pickles. Pani roti is a one-off dish. You cook it and have it. There is no another complementary dish required. As the name suggests, Pani roti, of course does have enough water or liquid that serves as daal or curry. It has balls of wheat flour as a solid staple.

Wheat flour balls
These flour balls of wheat are added in the cooked curry to cook further

How is Pani roti cooked?

The preferred utensil for cooking pani roti is a pressure cooker. First, you cook curry. For example you cook beans by pressurizing in a cooker just in the regular way. After the beans are cooked, you add the balls of wheat flour rolled in small sizes. According to the quantity and size of the wheat rolls, it takes at least half an hour to one full hour to properly cook the wheat rolls.

Dietary Value of Pani roti

Curry can be of any vegetable. So, cook at your choice but gobi (karkala) or unripe pumpkin serves as the best combination as per taste. At least add some greens. When you eat pani roti in the morning you don't have to run for the lunch during afternoons. This gives you enough power for 12 hours.

Social Norms about Pani roti

The cooked pani roti might not be so pleasant to your eyes on seeing. But it is potent to quench your hunger for longer. Hence, it is all-in-one diet customarily eaten by Nepalese villagers when there are a lot of farming works to do and not enough time for cooking and washing utensils. In the past, people would ridicule a family who binge upon pani roti so, oftentimes, people would eat it quite behind closed doors. But gone are the days because it is nowhere that you can find people eating traditional pani roti. It is rarer than even Dhindo. So, nowadays when you happen to eat pani roti, it's celebrated.

You can see the video clip below to see how pani roti looks after being fully cooked in a pressure cooker.

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