GST Throws Spotlight on Malabar Parottas and the Whole Country is Stunned

Parotta lovers aren’t going to spare anyone.

Shraddha Varma

If you’ve never given a thought about the difference between a roti and a paratha or parotta, now is a good time to learn the basics. According to the Karnataka bench of the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) parottas ‘are not rotis’ and, therefore, subject to 18 per cent GST (goods and services tax). Roti is charged 5% GST, is generic and all Indian breads can’t be categorised under it, the ruling mentioned.


It all began after Bengaluru-based ID Fresh Foods had applied to the GST Authority to classify to of their products—whole wheat parotta and Malabar parotta—under “khakhra, plain chapati or roti” category. According to Entry 99A in Schedule I of GST Notifications that was issued in 2017, a 5% GST rate is applicable when the goods satisfy two conditions – first, their classification should be under the Tariff Headings of either 1905 or 2106; second, they should come under the “khakhra, plain chapati or roti” category. The bench clearly stated that the said products weren’t ready-to-eat and had to be heated before consumption.

The news ticked Twitter users off, especially those from Kerala where the combination of beef and parotta has attained a cult status. The hashtag #HandsOffPorotta started trending on social media platform, collecting a large variety of reactions. While some decided to chart out the similarities between the flat breads for the authorities, a few went all out to express their love for the Malabar parotta. Meanwhile, others went on to term it as downright food fascism. Hilarious memes didn’t take too much time to follow. 

If you know Twitter, when there’s a trending topic, hilarious memes are not far away.

Radio jockey, comedian and TV Presenter Danish Sait also used the #HandsOffPorotta as material for his videos:

As the trend took off, Kerala Tourism couldn’t help but share a photo of parotta. 

When asked his take on the roti vs parotta debate, food anthropologist and historian Dr Kurush Dalal didn’t have an answer but a fresh question to ask instead: “Why are they charging 18 per cent GST on food items, irrespective of what they are?” He continues, “What customers here need to understand is that restaurants and businesses won’t be in a position to bare 18 per cent on anything, which means that it automatically gets transferred to the customer and the latter has to bear the brunt of it.” With this point, Dr Dalal wants customers to be alert, understand and raise a voice at the right time for the right topic. Some food for thought, isn’t it? 

So, What is the Malabar parotta? 

For the uninitiated, chef Sandeep Sreedharan, the brains behind Curry Tales restaurant in Mumbai and Mahe in Goa, describes the Malabar parotta as a layered, flaky flatbread. “It is similar to the north Indian lachchha paratha in appearance, but parotta is lighter, richer and softer because it is made with maida (processed flour) while the former uses wheat flour,” he explains. Sreedharan informs that the best of parottas can be found at chayakadas and kallu shaaps (tea shops and toddy shops) in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 

How to Make the Malabar Parotta at Home?


Refined flour
Baking powder


1. In a bowl, add refined flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, ghee and add water to it.  
2. Make a soft dough and roll it into balls. 
3. Spread ghee over them and let set aside for a few minutes.
4. Take a dough ball and roll it into a thin paratha, spread ghee on it and arrange it like fan. 
5. Twirl it into a wheel like disc and roll the paratha. 
6. On a tawa, carefully place the paratha and generously apply ghee to cook it on both sides.
7. Your Malabar parotta is ready to eat. 

Banner image: Shutterstock


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