Ravishing rotis

Mallika Basu - Ravishing rotis

Posted 27th April 2007

roti-plate.jpgThe day started with a very English breakfast meeting at 8:00am followed by shockingly hard work on three-inch red stilettos. But I just couldn’t stop thinking about soft, fluffy rotis/chappatis.

Back home and two double vodka cranberries later, I decided to have a second go. The background research was in place.

Following my failed attempt over the weekend, I asked my mother what could have possibly gone wrong. She said: “It’s all in the kneading.” Read: “I don’t have a clue either.”

I took the wise advice of friends, blogger buddies and internet research instead. Calm and in control as you can only be after two stiff drinks, I took to roti making with renewed gusto.

The results were not bad at all. The were soft and fluffy, almost round and two out of three filled up with air. That’s near-perfect in my books.

roti-flame-sm.jpgSo here is the way to make three rotis after a hard days work for beginners like me.

  • Half cup whole wheat flour/chappati flour/atta
  • Half cup hot water
  • Pinch of salt

Line the work surface with newspaper in case of spillages. In a large mixing bowl add the flour and the salt.

Add a little bit of hot water and mix it into the flour vigorously. You will get a crumbly mixture. Then add a bit more and repeat the process. The idea is to break the flour down and incorporate plenty of air into the dough.

Keep adding water until you get a hard dough that does not stick to your fingers. You won’t need all the hot water in the cup.

Now go into the dough with your knuckles, kneading viciously. I did this about 6 times and got bored, but the more you do this the softer the rotis will be.

Roll the dough into a thick sausage and break it off into three parts. Make dough balls, store in the mixing bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or kitchen towels and leave to rest for 15-30 minutes.

After the resting time, lightly flour a flat chopping board and heat a frying pan or flat griddle pan. Dip the first dough ball in the flour lightly, flatten and roll it out about 1 mm thick in a round shape.

If you don’t get a perfect round, just use your fingers to stretch the roti out in the wonky directions.

Now place the roti on the frying pan and heat until little bubbles appear on either side. You may need to press its surface with a slotted spatula or flat turner to encourage this.

When the bubbles appear, take the frying pan off the flame and toast the roti on the naked flame for a couple of seconds on either side, until it swells up. Don’t worry if it burns a little bit, this just adds to the smokey flavour. Use a tong to flip it over.

When the pale brown spots on the roti turn darker and it swells up, its done. Remove from the flame and start the process all over again with the second and third dough ball.

Serve the rotis hot, lightly buttered on one side. Finally, crumple all the old newspaper and throw it out to get a flour-free, shining kitchen surface.

17 responses to “Ravishing rotis”

  1. Coffee says:


    Ur mum is right!!!! its all in the kneading. Try adding 1 tsp of ghee or oil while kneading the dough….. the rotis will be soft and will remain soft for a while. 🙂

  2. Jag says:

    Ravishing indeed. The open-flame method of puffing up the roti is a classic method. See our vid of this in action at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT642_NjYlE . Yours look A OK!

  3. Shilpa says:

    Haha, you’re funny! Congratulations on the successful rotis! Aargh, I don’t foresee doing them in the near future since I only have a glass ceramic stove!

  4. Reena says:

    First time here. Congratulations on finally getting the rotis right. Adding warm water or milk for kneading makes rotis softer. It took me 4 years to get my roti in correct shape and texture 🙂

  5. Sandip says:

    Thanks for this…..i tried it immediately after reading this blog today afternoon and truly the rotis have come out soft and tasty…and hey it doesnt take a lot of time…thanx to 2 very importnt tips…one is the amount of water..which shud b gradual so else the flour just sicks to each and every finger which happened to me the only time i tried it..an second was the tip by coffee to add a little oil to the flour while mixing and the rotis were indeed soft…maybe not fluffy coz my oven is an electric one and doesnt have any flame on it…yet there was a little air in therotis….i guess that will suffice for the time being!!

  6. pablo says:

    I haven’t made a roti for years – but reckon it must be time revisit. However, ain’t no way I’ll be doing any kneading – that’s what the kitchenaid and dough hook is for. Also, I was once given a tortilla press (which looks like this – http://www.mexgrocer.com/9116.html)and it works just fine for roti.

  7. alka (finally) says:

    love the new look! i know i always talk about everything but the cooking…..but promise u, i will…very soon

  8. sia says:

    see…u did it girl:)

  9. dolly says:

    hey i told u . its all about kneading

  10. meeso says:

    No flippin’ way!!! These turned out perfect, and it was so easy!!! I can’t believe all this time I’ve been struggling to making rotis this way and that way and all I had to do was find this blog!!!

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  14. This post is great. Thank you for this post. I like this type of people who share knowledge with others.

  15. sharon says:

    ever heard of roties once out of frying pan u take between hans and fluf them up by smaking together

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