Hi Bold Bakers!
Roti, which is also called chapati, is a must-have when you’re having an Indian meal. There is no better way to transport delicious bite-sized scoops of spicy, saucy veggies or curries than a fresh, warm roti.
Lucky for me, my culinary assistant, Ami, grew up making roti — and out of all the Indian flatbreads, this whole wheat flatbread is her favorite. Isn’t it amazing when a simple recipe just transports you back home? Ami said she has so many memories of being in the kitchen with her mom, kneading the soft dough, and trying to roll out perfect circles. (That makes me a little homesick for my mum.)
Ami’s mom’s circles of dough came out flawless every time, but she’d love to tell Ami which country her roti looked like! That was half the fun of making them — the other half was getting to eat them warm off the pan.
What Is Roti?
Roti is a traditional flatbread from India that is served alongside many meals. The mild, whole wheat flatbread goes so well with spicy foods, helping to bring the heat down while also being the perfect vehicle to get those curries into your mouth. They’re also great dipped in dahl, a delicious, thick lentil stew, or even drizzled with a bit of honey and cinnamon.
Ami says that the best way to enjoy them though is to eat them hot off the pan with a little ghee — and she highly recommends making extra because no one can eat just one.
What You Need To Make Roti
How To Make Traditional Indian Roti
This flatbread only needs very few ingredients, which you probably already have in your home, and cooks up so quick you’ll be making these as soon as your first batch runs out. Here is how you make traditional Indian Roti:
- Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Then, add the oil and rub it into the flour until combined.
- Add 5 tablespoons of water and knead to form a dough. If the dough seems too firm or crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- When you’re ready to cook, place your skillet over medium heat. Next to the stove, place a wire rack, a bowl with melted butter or ghee, and a pastry brush nearby.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions, then roll each portion into a ball and flatten into a disc.
- Work with one disc at a time. Roll the dough into a thin, even circle about 6 inches (15cm) wide on a floured surface. When you’re rolling the dough, be sure to check to see if it is sticking. If it is, add more flour.
- Place the rolled-out dough on the hot, dry skillet and cook for about a minute until a few bubbles form on the surface.
- Using a spatula, flip the roti and cook the other side for about 30 seconds.
- Lift your skillet off the flame. Using tongs, place the less cooked side of the roti directly on the flame until it starts to puff up. This will take just a few seconds. Be sure to move the roti a bit over the flame so one spot doesn’t get too hot and burn.
- Flip the roti with the tongs, cook the other side on the flame for a few seconds and then transfer to a wire rack.
- Immediately brush the roti lightly with ghee or butter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Stack the cooked rotis on top of each other to keep them soft and warm.
Gemma’s (And Ami’s!) Pro Chef Tips For Making Traditional Indian Roti
- If you can’t find atta or white whole wheat flour, you can try making this with regular whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or even all-purpose flour. Each flour will give you slightly different results but will still be delicious.
- When cooking the rotis, you have to move quickly, so they don’t over-brown. You want soft, not crunchy rotis. Adjust your heat to lower or higher, depending on your stove.
- Sometimes the roti will only puff up part of the way or not at all — this is okay. Just continue with the cooking method and once the roti is on the open flame, move it around the flame so it doesn’t burn.
- If the roti doesn’t puff up, it is usually caused by uneven rolling – the rolling is a technique that just takes practice. Don’t give up!
- This recipe can be doubled or tripled for a larger crowd.
- For first-time roti makers, this is a nice shared project: one person does the rolling while the other does the cooking.
How Do I Store Roti?
If you have any leftover roti, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze them for up to 2 months. Reheat the roti in the microwave or on a dry skillet over low heat.
This Traditional Indian Roti recipe makes a mild, whole wheat flatbread that goes well with spicy foods & is served alongside many meals!
Servings: 8 roti
- 1 cup (5oz/142g) atta flour or white whole wheat flour (plus more for rolling)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 5-7 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup (2oz/57g) butter or ghee (melted)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, then add the oil and rub into the flour until combined.
Add 5 tablespoons of water and knead to form a dough. If the dough seems too firm or crumbly, add more water one teaspoon at a time until you achieve a soft but not sticky dough. Cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
When ready to cook, heat a large, handled skillet over medium heat. Place a wire rack next to the stove and keep a bowl with the melted butter or ghee and a pastry brush nearby.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten it into a disc.
Working with one disc at a time, on a floured surface, roll the dough into a thin, even circle, about 6 inches (15cm). While rolling, check often that the dough isn’t sticking and more flour accordingly.
Place the rolled-out dough on the hot, dry skillet and cook for about a minute, until you see a few bubbles forming on the surface.
With a spatula, flip the roti and cook the other side for about 30 seconds.
Carefully lift the skillet off the flame and with tongs, place the less cooked side of the roti directly on the flame until it starts to puff up (just a few seconds). Move the roti a bit over the flame so that one spot does not get too hot and burn.
Using the tongs, flip the roti and cook the other side on the flame for another few seconds, then transfer the roti to the wire rack.
Immediately brush the roti lightly with ghee or butter. Repeat with the remaining dough, stacking the rotis on top of each other to keep them warm and soft.
Serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave or on a dry skillet over low heat.