Text and images by Tris Marlis @ Makansutra
If you ask Indians where to get best Indian food in town, it will very likely be at their homes, say friends like Shivi Khandelwal, who showed us just how simple it is. These folks know how to cook their food. One of their first lessons in kitchen is how to make roti (bread). Indian breads’ preparation and names vary with each region; Chapati, Roti, Naan, Paratha and Kulcha being some of them. North India, being one of the major producers of wheat is a key reason why breads are their staple food.
The good news is Indian bread is actually quite easy to prepare and is a very healthy diet. Here are the simple steps to make your own roti. Preparation time is about 20 minutes.
The key ingredient, wheat
Ingredients 1 cup (approx. 200g) of wheat flour 1/2 cup of water 1/2 teaspoon of salt 1 tablespoon of oil
Easy steps to make your own roti
Mix the wheat flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add water accordingly. Don’t add all water at once. If the dough is sticky, add a little additional flour (as different batches of flour behave differently), 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead thoroughly with your fingers.
Leave the dough to rest for 3-4 minutes, drip a few drops of water, let it absorb the moisture. After that, continue kneading the dough and add a teaspoon of oil. Knead and leave it for another minute. Once the dough is ready, make even balls of same size (2 inches diameter) and set aside.
Heat up your pan (non stick or a very seasoned pan preferred). Powder your marble slab and rolling pin to prevent sticking. Take one ball, coat it with flour. Start rolling. Roll out the dough all sides evenly, adding flour as needed. Do not make it too thin, or else it will develop holes or stick. Fine tune and experiment as you go along.
Take your flattened dough off the slab and place on the hot pan. You will see the color turn from shiny ‘wet’ to matt ‘dry.’ Flip over, let it toast for a minute. Lift it up and place on the fire, let it blow up. Flip it over, lift it up and there you have your roti!
There you have it!
There are a few alternatives to make your roti. Some people prefer adding milk with their dough or add more oil to tenderize the dough. While rolling your dough, make sure it’s round and even on all sides to make sure it ‘blows up’ on fire. If you prefer to cook roti on pan only, add oil on both sides and let it toast until it appears golden brown.
I like my roti with curry or as dessert, eat it with butter, sugar or condensed milk.