Roti – Basic Indian bread

Here’s the recipe for Roti – a no fuss, no frills Indian bread. It’s a staple in millions of households and the basic recipe allows you to build on it and get endless variations.

  1. In a mixing bowl or on a clean tabletop, assemble the following – 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1.5 cups of cold water.
  2. Mix all the ingredients well and knead till you have a semi-soft dough. Feel free to add a few more splashes of water if you think the dough is too firm. You’re looking to achieve the same consistency as Playdough.
  3. Knead till the ball of dough looks smooth and loses all it’s rough edges
  4. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 1 hour, in a cool place. If you’re in a very warm place, then pop it in the fridge.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into lime sized balls
  6. Roll each ball into a sphere and flatten with your fingers till it looks like a chubby Oreo.
  7. Dust with dry flour and roll out into a disc, using a rolling pin. Roll the dough out, as thin as you can get. The ideal shape is perfectly round, but mine look like the geographical map of Indonesia, and still taste perfectly good. 🙂
  8. Heat a griddle, or a cast iron pan. Carefully transfer your disc to the pan and allow to cook for 30 seconds. The roti should gently start forming air pockets and billowing up.
  9. Using a dry cloth now, gently press down on the roti at various spots. You’re trying to force some browning on the underside of the bread, and get some colour on it.
  10. Flip the roti and let it cook again. Repeat the process with the dry cloth and get those lovely brown spots on the other side now.
  11. Take off the heat and transfer to a bowl / box lined with a tea towel or another dry cloth.
  12. Serve immediately

So that, was my basic Indian bread recipe. Build on this, and make it your own. Here are some ideas:

  1. Brush with ghee or butter before serving
  2. Try increasing the amount of salt, and adding carom seeds to your dough
  3. Add 2 tsp of oil to the dough to get a richer, more flaky bread
  4. Add 1 tsp of cumin, and a dash of chilli powder to your flour for a spicy version
  5. Get fancy, and try your hand at paranthas. Roll out two super thin discs and try sandwiching mashed potato, vegetables or even mince between the two. Roll again and cook on a griddle with oil or butter.
  6. Roll out a disc, brush it with oil. Fold it upon itself like you would do for puff pastry, and roll again. Repeat the process thrice and you’ll get a lovely layered roti that flakes as you break into it.

Over and out!

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