चर्चे चौके के Charche Chauke Ke

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Beginning with the staple: The ROTI

Posted by vivnidhi on November 19, 2007

My first post. Starting with the very basic……the staple in our house. Carb watching for me and cholesterol watching for my husband has already led to the roti being the only flour preparation made everyday. Paranthas, naans, all are enjoyed only rarely, when we like to treat ourselves.

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Hot Rotis stay fresh in aluminum foil

Rotis or phulkas need no introduction whatsoever. But the art of making them is really THE skill to know in the chauka (kitchen).  It used to be an accomplishment when my roti too would puff like my Mom’s. Her standards are still too high for me. If left on my own, I would make my family members eat all the rotis I made till they got to eat the properly puffed up one (which would be rare.)

That changed after marriage when I would quietly eat all the messed up ones or the ones which were charred and give only soft puffed up ones to my husband. So, even though I could make rotis in India, making them in the U.S. required another set of skills as we had an electric stove in our apartment. I can’t wait to see my mother struggle with her first couple of rotis when she comes here……..mean, I know, yet I am amused, even by that thought.

First, one needs whole wheat flour. Durum flour is a complete no no as far as I am concerned if one really wants soft which also stay soft until the next day. Sujata is the only brand I get here in Indian grocery stores although Pillsbury is as good.

Next you need a griddle, metal mesh (to prevent the roti from burning on electric coil) and a rolling pin.

Recipe:

4 cups flour

1 3/4 cups water

That’s it, yes. I don’t add salt cause I have always eaten roti this way. Enjoy the basic wheat taste. For the dough, I use a big plate with raised edges….called ‘paraat’ in India but I guess any vessel with high edges can be used. Spread the dry wheat flour in the plate and I sprinkle half the amount of water in the flour. Using circular motion of my hands, I try to wet all the flour. Then I start gathering the flour together and keep sprinkling more water as needed. After the dough gets together, hands’ knuckles and the small of the palm is used. 2-3 oz of extra water may be used during the process of kneading, if one finds it comfortable. A clean plate is a sign of just the right dough. If by chance, it gets very sticky, more dry flour needs to be added.  The softer the dough, the better, I just make sure that it can be rolled properly. Punching the dough well with hands and using the knuckles also helps.  A drop of oil is spread in the plate in the end and the dough is kneaded on it till it absorbs all oil. The dough is ready.I make a fair amount of dough  and keep it in the refrigerator and it lasts me for about 4 days. It does change color and become darker but the rotis come out just as good.

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Roti dough with dry flour for dusting.

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Divide the dough into equal rounds. Here’s my 2 year old trying to help me out.

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Smaller rounds make thin phulkas ..closer to perfect. Dust the round with dry flour and begin rolling using a rolling pin on a flat surface.

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Uniform thickness of the rolled out roti is the key to it being puffed up later. Try to roll out away from the center of the ball.  Make sure that the edges are of the same thickness as the center after the roti is rolled out completely.

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I try making a thin round; one can suit one’s taste

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I keep the metal mesh under the griddle so that it heats up sufficiently as well. The griddle is heated before one starts rolling out the dough round. If the roti sticks on the griddle, then the griddle is too hot, reduce the heat. If the griddle is not hot enough, the surface visible will take longer to develop bubbles. Usually the burner stays on maximum heat when I make rotis, reducing it in between if the next roti is not rolled out already.

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Once some bubbles seem to develop on the underside of the roti on the griddle, it is turned over. Tongs can be used for this but hands work as well. This is the first turn.

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This is after the first turn. Its fine if you if it does not get this brown.

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Using the smaller burner helps. Next the griddle is removed and the roti is directly put on the wire mesh. Elevate the wire mesh after putting the roti on it. The heat has to be at the maximum when I put the roti directly on the coil.  Give the roti a jump and flip it over if it is not puffed up fully. Both sides need to get a few brown spots. 100_1030.jpg

The Phulka’s ready!!

Similar procedure can be used for making rotis on gas stoves. http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/roti is a good video through wikipedia.

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15 Responses to “Beginning with the staple: The ROTI”

  1. Aruna said

    Hi
    I really liked your recipe..Thanks for posting such a detailed one..I always have a problem making phulkas..seems to be a combination of dough and having a electric stove…I will try your method..Did have a question though..Where do you get the wire mesh? Is it available in Desi stores? Thanks!

    Hi Aruna, Thanks for visiting. Do try and let me know how your experience was with the phulkas. Takes a little patience and you will be an expert. You get the wire mesh at almost all the Indian stores.

  2. [...] (which is basically roti dough). The directions for making the dough is detailed  in  Beginning with the staple: The ROTI . The important part of this recipe is making the dulha. Take a small ball in the and thin it it [...]

  3. [...] Make a dough with whole wheat and water. More about the dough can be found in my post here. [...]

  4. [...] , here is the link to the post……Beginning with the staple : the Roti. Srivalli, please accept my second entry to your fabulous [...]

  5. Syama said

    Hi Nidhi….
    Thanks for such a wonderful and detailed post.. We moved recently moved to Kentuky, where I no more have a gas stove..I am strugling to make Phulkas with my electric stove, will try my “electric phulkas” today itself.. Thank you once again. Wish I get that wire mesh here in Indian store..Its really help ful..
    Hi Syama, its a very humbling feeling that what I wrote could be of help. And guess what! my wire mesh is dying too……..so I have to begin my quest for the wire mesh too now:) .

  6. Alex said

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

    Thank you Alex.

  7. Hey, and thanks for the great tip. I’ve been going crazy trying to find out how to cook chapatis on an electric stove in the US. It’s my first time cooking too…no maids here :)

    My wife goes out to work, and as I’m a writer, I can stay at home and need to cook. This is my first foray into chapatis. I’m not able to get them to puff up. Let me see if I can get a wire mesh. But if I can’t, then I’ll just have to live with not seeing them puff (sob).

    Almost all Indian grocery stores sell the wire mesh. You might not get the roti to puff up the first couple of times but……if you keep at it …….practice will make it perfect very soon. The key is getting the roti to roll out of even thickness all around:)

  8. Neha Desai said

    Hi – I have recently shifted to wellington, new zealand. And I have one of these glass electric plates in the house. Would this work on them aswell? Otherwise how do i get it to work on them? Any help/guidance is much appreciated!
    Hi Neha, I bet you are enjoying the last of the summers in New Zealand, here we are just starting to get rid of the snow. Ok, so if you mean something like a flat hot plate like this http://avanti.amroyal.com/avanti-der240w-24-free-standing-electric-range-w-four-radiant-plates-and-black-glass-cooking-surface-in-white.html , this method of making rotis would certainly work on those as well. Use a wire mesh on top of those, heat the burner on high and just make it like normal :-). Let me know if I have understood you right and how did the rotis come out :-)

  9. Kathryn said

    Thank you for your detailed post on how to make puffed paratha. The pictures helped out a lot in understanding the whole process and made me realize the mistake I have been making of putting a bit too much dry flour while rolling out the paratha. I got a rolling pin like the one in the picture and it worked out a lot better for me than the one I had which had tapered ends. Thanks again….
    I am really glad I could be of help Kathryn, thanks for visiting!

    • Kathryn said

      The part about where you mentioned about the fact that the roti should have uniform thickness throughout really helped in puffing out the roti.
      Thanks a lot Kathryn, making Roti is a bit of work initially but very soon, practice makes it very easy.

  10. Megha said

    I have been trying to make roti’s on the electric stove and it has been killing me…we have ofcorse resorted to buying roti’s instead…after reading this post, I did go to a few indian stores close by but have not found this wire mesh…is there any other place or any other style of mesh that can be easily available….please help as we are seriously roti deprived :)
    http://www.ishopindian.com/iron-roasting-grid-c-68-p-2-pr-24452.html
    http://www.ishopindian.com/roasting-grid-round-2-c-68-p-3-pr-22702.html
    http://www.ishopindian.com/roasting-grid-round-1-c-68-p-3-pr-22701.html
    are some links that I could find quickly. Assuming you are in the US , you could order them online if you do not find them in any store. Shipping cost would be extra but your problem would be solved. Also, try speaking to the Indian grocer, I am quite sure they will know how to help you get the wire mesh. Hope this helps and thanks for visiting. I have not updated the site for a while now.

  11. Radha said

    Hi. Thank you so much for the post. I just moved to NJ frm South India.. Though we make rotis there, it wouldnt glow like balloon .. and would get harder after some time,, I got a gauze frm india but dono how to use it in this U.S. stove.. your post guided me and gave me condifedence.. I tried it immediately… Amazing it worked welll… Thanks..

  12. anjali said

    Hi – I have recently shifted to Amsterdam. I have one of glass plates in the house. Please guide me to make rotis/phulkas on these glass gas.
    Regards,
    Anjali

  13. Parul Srivastav said

    Thank you so much for the detailed recipe! I have just moved to SFO from India and my 3 year old loves phulkas.. I hope I get the wire mesh here..
    My apartment has an electric stove too. I am going to try it ASAP! Is there any other way to make them if I don’t get the mesh?
    Cheers,
    Parul

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