Roti, Rotli, Chapatti or Phulka — How to make soft, fluffy roti’s
Rotli, Roti, Chapatti or Phulka is yet another type of unleavened Indian bread that can be enjoyed with any vegetable or curry. Rotli, as they are known in Gujarat, India, are rolled very thin making them light and soft. They are prepared and cooked in four different steps — first knead the dough, then on a tawa (or skillet) and then on the open flame making them balloon up and finished off with some butter or ghee or simply leave it plain.
Every time I think of Rotli (Roti) it brings back fond memories of my childhood. This was the first cooking experience I had in my kitchen with my grandmother. At the early age of 7, I was standing up on a stool and trying to roll out a round roti, which at that time seem close to impossible. But with the inspiration and guidance of my grandmother I became successful at making Roti’s.
Roti is traditionally made with Whole Wheat flour also known as Atta flour. Roti is consumed in many parts of the world like India, Pakistan, South Africa, and the southern Caribbean particularly Trinidad, Tobago and Guyana. The only difference is the name given to the roti since they are made in many different forms, sizes, shapes and stuffing. No matter what name we use they are wonderfully soft and fluffy, simple to make and delicious. Try it out and make sure to make plenty – they go fast! Preparation / Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes Makes: 12 round roti’s
1. Take the whole wheat flour/atta in a bowl. Add oil and mix atta and oil together. Then add warm water a little bit at a time and start kneading the dough. Keep on adding water as required. If you add all the water at once then the flour will become too sticky to handle. Also you need to apply a little bit of pressure to the dough with your fist while kneading because gluten strands have to be formed if gluten strands are not formed then it will be difficult to roll the roti’s.
2. Keep on kneading till the dough becomes pliable and soft. The dough consistency should not be very soft or hard the dough for roti’s is more soft than the dough kneaded for puri. Finally apply a very small of oil to your palm and rub all over the kneaded dough. After kneading the dough, it is advisable to cover it with a plate or cloth and keep it aside for 15 -20 minutes. You can make the roti’s right away after kneading the dough but this 30 minute waiting period helps making soft and fluffy roti.
3. At this point preheat your tawa (skillet) on medium high. Now make small to medium balls of the dough and roll the balls in the palms of your hands or on the base of your rolling surface. Flatten the dough ball and sprinkle some whole wheat flour or maida( all purpose flour) to the dough ball. Alternatively, you can also dust the rolling board with flour.
4. Now lets start rolling the dough ball into a flat round circle.
Remember making the round roti’s is not easy and with practice you will be able to roll them round so don’t worry about the shape. If need be sprinkle some wheat flour or maida if the dough begins to stretch or become sticky while rolling.
* the trick to roll round roti’s is that when you are rolling the dough then the roti should also be moving in circular direction. Also try to make the roti’s thin as possible. Roti’s that thick take much more time to cook and also not easy to puff up and digest.
5. Put the roti on a hot tawa/griddle. First cook one side it should be less than half cooked or about one-fourth cooked before flipping over. Flip and cook the other side. You should be able to see fairly light brown spots.
6. Once done flip over onto your wired rack or if you have a gas burner right onto the fire make sure to use tongs to avoid getting steam burn. Let it puff up into a balloon and then flip over again to puff up the other side.
7. Once both sides done remove and apply ghee or unsalted butter on the roti’s. By applying ghee or butter to roti’s keep them soft for a long time. Roti’s ideally served hot taste much better but if you cannot serve them hot, then you can keep them in a container that keeps food warm like a casserole or in a roti tin (dhaba).
For best results make sure to knead dough using warm or hot water. This will make the roti’s soft and will keep the roti’s soft for many hours.
Left over dough should be placed in a airtight container and kept in the fridge for 1-2 days but keep in mind that the colour of the dough will change to a darker brown and may also get harder. It’s best to consume within 1 day.
Roti has a self life of only 1-2 days if left in the fridge. Depending on the climate roti’s tend to spoil quickly in the summer months.
It’s not necessary to have a wire rack to fluff the roti’s it can also easily be done right on the tawa. Once the roti’s start cooking just press down onto the edges of the roti with a flipper or spatula and you will it start to raise.
Some times the quality of the Whole Wheat atta varies so that will also make a difference in the roti’s. Some whole wheat atta comes mixed with maida (all purpose flour).
Don’t worry if all your roti’s don’t fluff up into a balloon. Roti takes a lot of practice to become perfect so just keep trying don’t give up.
If you’ve made this recipe or have a favorite of your own, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.