Roti is one of the earliest and most basic forms of unleavened flatbreads. In some regions it is also known as ‘phulka’ or ‘chapatti’.
Roti has only two ingredients – wheat flour and water – but it requires a perfect dough and a few little tricks for these ingredients to work their magic.
As a child, I was always fascinated by the way my mother changed the flour into a pliable dough and then into perfectly round, thin and appetising rotis.
As the moist, uncooked roti hits the hot griddle, an amazing aroma spreads all over the house which is no less captivating than the scent of rain on dry soil – the true, unadulterated perfumes of nature.
In many South Asian homes the tradition of joint family system still prevails, and the women of the house take turns to make rotis for the whole family at meal times.
Imagine, a woman standing in the heat of South Asia in a smouldering kitchen making rotis nonstop for a family of 10-12 people till everyone is satiated. And when these are coming hot and fresh straight from the stove, nobody eats just one!
The most intimidating thing for me while making roti has always been kneading the dough. So I decided to figure out a simple and quick way of making roti at home.
After a few experiments I realised that almost 75% of the battle is won if you get the dough right. So I came up with a standard quantity of flour and water to be mixed in a food processor that yields perfect roti dough making.
You can use the same quantities to knead dough by hand but I’ll stick to the easier version.
Important: This recipe works only with a food processor, not a blender.
Food processor (not blender)
Skillet or Tawa
1+1/2 cups iced water
extra flour for dusting
This Is What You Do:
Start pouring iced water in a thin stream slowly through the opening in the food processor lid. By the time you finish pouring all 1+1/2 cups of water, the dough should have formed a neat ball.
Turn the processor off. The whole process takes maximum 2 minutes.
Take the dough out of the food processor and keep it covered with a plastic wrap in the fridge till you need to use it. It can stay there for two days.
Heat a skillet on medium heat. Dust the work top with some flour (not too much or the roti will dry out).
Make dough balls, slightly smaller than a tennis ball by rolling the dough between your palms.
Flatten a dough ball on your work top and roll it out into as thin and even as you can.
The skillet should be really hot before you put roti on, or it will stick to the skillet. Spread the roti on the skillet, give it 30 seconds, turn.
Cook the other side for a slightly longer time. There should be a tiny brown marks all over it.
Now transfer the roti to the direct flame with first side facing down. This will make the roti puff up.
When the roti is done, immediately wrap it in a tea towel. Repeat with all the dough. Keep warm till you serve.