Simple Roti Recipe

Photo Credit: Anita Jaisinghani

Roti (also known as chapati or phulka) is the most common bread in India. Usually a little larger than a taco, rotis are made with 3-4 basic ingredients — finely ground whole-wheat flour, water, and salt, with fat optional. They're never eaten with a knife and fork. Most Indians use roti as a delicious vehicle to scoop up a sabzi (cooked vegetable), dal (cooked lentils), or a curry with their hands. It takes a bit of practice to roll a perfect round and you may end up with roti shapes that look like maps of different countries. However, it’s a fun process to learn, so don’t let that discourage you. Even the funny shaped ones will taste good. The key is learning to put just enough gentle pressure on the rolling pin to get the roti to the perfect thickness.

Makes 8-10 rotis | 50 minutes

Simple Roti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roti flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ plus cups water
  • 2-3 Tablespoons oil

Combine the flour, salt, and 1¼ cups of water in a bowl then knead the mixture into a soft pliable dough, adding more water as needed. Add water to the dough and roll it into a smooth ball and rest it for 20-30 minutes in a covered bowl. Divide the dough into 8-10 balls. Using dry flour, roll the ball into a 6-7-inch even round. Cook on a dry skillet or a frying pan on medium-high heat on both sides until it has brown spots and is cooked through. A better option is to cook the roti on the skillet — just so the dough is not raw — and then finish it over a gas stove for better and faster results.

Notes & Variations

  • If the dough feels too soft, knead in a bit of dry flour. Alternately add more water if it feels hard or dry.
  • The key to making a perfect roti is to cook it on medium-high enough to cook it on both sides, but not to dry it out.
  • Roti can also be made with whole-wheat flour, spelt, einkorn, or pastry flour; the finer the grind, the softer the roti.
  • If using commercial whole wheat, put in about 10% all-purpose flour to prevent the roti from turning out dry.
  • Add milk or plain yogurt instead of water to make a softer roti.
  • Add spices like ground turmeric, ginger, or black pepper to add flavor.

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