Perfect Chapati (Roti)
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Perfect Chapati (Roti)

For me, there is nothing quite as comforting as a pile of warm, pillowy Chapati to accompany an Indian meal. A staple growing up for me; the sight of my mum or daddyma rolling out chapati with expert precision and speed was as regular an occurrence as seeing somebody slice into a fresh country loaf in my friend’s households.

Roti is made with whole wheat flour, water and not much else; I add a dash of oil and salt but it’s really not necessary. You can whip up a stack of roti in next-to-no-time with these very basic ingredients – this recipe is really one to memorise as they complete a meal perfectly. Mop up curries and Daal or wrap up tikka chicken pieces like we would as kids (with a sacrilegious dollop of ketchup).

Roti is a very basic bread but its texture is everything. A well made chapati should be beautifully soft and have lovely charred spots which add a gentle flavour. A lot of people cook them on a direct flame until they puff but you can cook them directly on a pan and use a tea-towel to press onto the roti and help it to puff up. A traditional pan used to cook roti is called a tawa, which is a flat or slightly concave disc-shaped frying pan, usually made of cast iron or aluminium – a regular non-stick pan will do just fine.

View the notes at the bottom of the recipe card below for tips on how to get soft roti.

Perfect Chapati (Roti)

Perfect Chapati (Roti)

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Course: Bread, SideCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Resting time

20

minutes

You can whip up a stack of roti in next-to-no-time with these very basic ingredients – this recipe is really one to memorise as they complete a meal perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chapati/ atta flour (blend of wheat and malted barley flours), plus extra for dusting

  • 1.2 tsp salt

  • water

  • 1 1/2 tsp neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil

Directions

  • Mix the flour and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Add the oil.
  • Begin to add the water, mixing with your hands a you do so. You want the dough to come together – I usually use around 180-200ml water.
  • Once the dough has come together, knead the dough well until is feels soft and pliable.
  • Once the dough is smooth, pop it into a clean bowl and cover with a lightly damp tea-towel. Leave it to rest fo 10-20 minutes.
  • Prepare a little dish of extra flour and put it aside – this is to dust your dough balls before rolling.
  • After the dough has rested, divide the dough into a dozen equal-sized balls, ensuring that you roll each as smoothly as you can with no cracks on the surface. cover with the tea-towel whilst rolling each one out. Be rigorous here as it will stop the balls from drying out.
  • Take a dough ball and flatten it slightly with your pal, then dip it into the small bowl of prepared flour so that the sides are lightly dusted with flour.
  • Start rolling the roti by applying gentle pressure over the roti as you roll from the centre, outwards. As you get a little more practise, the roti will spin in a circular motion itself – don’t worry if it doesn’t, just move it around with your hand as you roll. Dust with flour whenever necessary, as it begins to stick and roll to the size of side plate.
  • Put your pan or tawa on a medium, high heat and allow it to get hot. Once the pan is hot, dust the excess flour off the rolled roti and place it on the dry pan.
  • Let it cook for around 20 seconds or until you start to see bubbles forming. Now flip the roti and cook for a little longer on the second side. You could take a clean, dry tea-towel and gently press into the bread on one side which will help it to puff up – this won’t always happen but it should if your bread is rolled evenly and not too tightly.
  • Remove the roti from a pan using tongs or your hand if you’re careful enough and place on a plate or board. Apply butter or ghee to the top and continue rolling and cooking the rest. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Kneading the dough until it is soft and pliable is vital for soft roti.
  • Allowing the dough to rest for 10-20 minutes is vital for soft dough. 30 minutes restime would be even better if you’re in no rush.
  • Dust the flour off of the surface of the roti before placing it in the pan. The flour will cook faster, burn and dry the bread out.
  • You can make loads and freeze them in batches. Allow to cool fully, then place greaseproof paper between each roti and wrap tightly before freezing.

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