Rotli (Roti) Indian Bread Recipe

Rotli or Roti is yet another type of unleavened Indian bread that can be enjoyed with any vegetable or curry. Rotli, as they are known in Gujarat, India, are rolled very thin making them light and soft. They are cooked in two different steps — first on a tawa (or skillet) and then finished off on the open flame making them balloon up. Try these wonderfully soft and fluffy rotlis, or rotis but be sure to make plenty — they go fast!

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Flour (Chapati Flour) – 2 cups
Salt – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oil – 4 tsp
Warm Water – 3/4 cup
All-purpose flour – for rolling and dusting

Method:

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix Chapati Flour and Salt well.
2. Add Oil and mix until all lumps are gone.
3. Add Warm Water a little at a time to form a medium soft dough ball. Do not overwork the dough.
4. Add few drops of Oil and coat the dough ball. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
5. Heat Tawa or skillet on medium heat.
6. Knead the dough once and divide into golf ball size balls.
7. Dip one ball into the All-purpose flour to coat and roll it out into a thin disc. Keep dipping the rotli into the dry flour to prevent it from sticking to the rolling surface.
8. Shake or rub off excess flour from the rotli and place it onto the hot tawa.
9. Flip to the other side once you see bubbles appear on the surface. Allow it to cook for 10-15 seconds.
10. Increase the stove heat to High, gently pick the rotli up with tongs, remove the tawa off of the flame, flip the rotli over and place onto an open flame.
11. The rotli should balloon up. Flip it over and cook on the other side.
12. Place the cooked rotli into an insulated container and smear it with Ghee or clarified butter and repeat the process for the remaining dough.

Makes approx 12 rotlis.

0 thoughts on “Rotli (Roti) Indian Bread Recipe

  1. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I searched a lot online but could not find a solution to my roti problem. Hope you can give me some tips.

    I made the mistake of buying a Walmart brand of brown whole wheat flour. I tried making the dough with both water and milk but the dough always turns out to be extremely rough. So I am not able to roll it smoothly and even if I manage to roll it out, it is inedible after cooking on the tawa.

    I dont want to throw away the flour. Should I add much more liquid or mix with some other flour? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Priya

  2. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I have an electric range and I use mesh and a non-stick (Aluminium based) tawa to make rotis. It fluffs very well, I feel like a pro. Thanks.
    However, I recently changed my non-stick tawa to a cast iron one. Since then, my electric coil neither gets red hot nor my rotis fluff. Because of this, the rotis made in cast iron is not soft at all. The problem is mainly with the cast iron products (Indian stores tawa, lodge cookware etc) and not with others. Any idea why? I am really disappointed!

    Thanks

    Shruthi

    1. Hi Shruthi,
      Sorry to hear that your chapatis are not coming out well… 🙁
      Lodge cookware is good but it is very thick and takes a while to heat up. The chapatis need more delicate heat – hence your aluminum tawa was working better. Lodge is great for grilling, baking…but I would not use it for chapatis. I think you need to go back to your old tawa or even a nan-stick skillet will work better…
      Hope that helps.

  3. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I have an electric range and I use mesh and a non-stick (Aluminium based) tawa to make rotis. It fluffs very well, I feel like a pro. Thanks.
    However, I recently changed my non-stick tawa to a cast iron one. Since then, my electric coil neither gets red hot nor my rotis fluff. The problem is with only the cast iron products not with others. Any idea why? I really disappointed !

    Thanks

    Shruthi

  4. we are woman shelf help group making chapati in ahmedabad.
    we are using hot press type chapati machine and found problem as chapati become hard and rubbery(chewy)after few hours. can you suggest solution please.

  5. Hello! I’ve noticed that recently the center of my rotis are not as light in color as the rest of the roti. I’ve had the atta flour sitting in my closet for some time now. We had a full house but recently some family members are living elsewhere, so I’m not making as much roti as before. Maybe 6-7 day as before it was as much as 20 per day. Will older flour affect the color of my roti? Or am I not rolling it properly?

    Thanks,

    Kanan

    1. Hi Kanan,

      Really old atta will have a funny, rancid smell. If your roti baloons up, it will not have a dark center. Only when rotis don’t fluff up, is there the raw, dark look.

  6. Perfect recipe! My rotis came out soft and tender and stayed that way even when eaten later. Warm water, little bit of oil ,the kneading method, the use of maida for rolling and the quick cooking on high flame make a huge difference in the way the rotis turn out. Thanks a ton for the wonderful tips and instructions. More than anybody my kids will be happy with the soft rotis in their lunch box!

  7. Good afternoon

    My Wife and myself have just come over from Durban South Africa. we are looking for a store that sells all the proper Indian Spices close to us. We live in ParaParaumu Wellington. Please can you help us out with an address. i think if i had to hear about spices one more time, i will have to cut my own wrist

    Thanks for understanding

  8. Hi,

    When I make Pulkhas, they come up very soft. But if I have to pack it for my lunch for the next day, I warp the pulkhas inside a paper towel and keep in an air tight container and keep in the fridge. Just before having them, I sprinkle some water on the paper towel and microwave it for 30 to 40 sec, they become soft and within minutes they become hard.

    Please help.. How can I re-heat my pulkhas in the microwave the next day without becoming hard.

    Thanks,
    Joanna

    1. Hi Joanna,

      The problem is the microwave…it dehydrates the roti even if you wrap it in a moist towel. The best way to reheat rotis is in a tava or skillet or over an open flame (in both methods, you have to keep flipping it over and over until its warm). I know this is hard if you pack your lunch for work. The other option is to leave the roti in a sealed container out at room temp, not refrigerated. This way, the roti never becomes really hard.

    1. Hi Lipu,

      Some of the larger Indian grocery stores carry them or you can search online for “insulated food containers”.

  9. Hi ladies glad to be here. Love your site and will be back later. I don’t make roti but I enjoy eating it. I also like fry back from Trinidad with cod or salt fish cooked up.

    Will recommended your site. My site is not this huge but gives some wonderful advice on a variety of topics for everyone.

    Thanks again for being the best in this space of the web.

  10. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    Thanks a lot! Finally got the rotli right! You know being a Gujarati, making ‘rotli’ is a big deal… :p i’ve been following a lot of your other recipes like khaman and dal dhokli. I just recently re-located from india and you guys are like my saviors in America. When in doubt, refer to showmethecurry.com!

  11. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I am a huge follower of your recipes.Thank you so much for this wonderful website.
    I have a question on roti tava,( I live in the US) which tava you use for roti, fulka, parathas or you ladies use separate grill pans for parathas and rotis? The reason I am asking is that I went through many circulon and calphalon grill pans they worn out quickly possibly because of the oil I use to cook parathas, Do you have any suggestion particularly for roti tavas? Really appreciate your advice.
    Thank you

    -Ashka

    1. Hi Ashka,

      Our tawa is from India. It does have some sort of non-stick surface but it is not the teflon coating. You may be able to find a good one from one of the larger Indian grocery stores that sell pots/pans. Oil does build up even on our tawa. You have to wash it well after each use.

  12. I tried this recipe over and over and over and couldn’t get my roti to puff until my Punjabi mother in law taught me her way. She doesn’t use oil but I don’t know if that has any significance. After the water is added, I make a fist and push it through the dough to the bottom of the bowl, over and over. After maybe one or two minutes of this I’ll test the tough – I push a finger into it to see if it’s tough or soft. I keep “punching” the dough until it’s soft and springs back a bit to my touch. Apparently this distributes water throughout the dough. The dough is then easy to roll into a nice circle and easy to puff… although this being the Punjabi method, there’s no open flame… the roti is puffed on the tava.

  13. Just found your website. Love it! You ladies are a class act! As a non-Indian but one who loves Indian food and likes to cook, I’m looking forward to trying many of your recipes; the videos are helpful as well.

    I have a question about breads. I look at your recipes for chapati, roti, and paratha, and it is hard for me to tell the difference. They all seem to be w.w. flour (chapati flour), water, and maybe salt and oil. They are all unleavened fry breads. So, what is the difference? Can you please educate me on this?

    Also, can you please comment on using a tortilla press vs. rolling out the dough with a rolling pin? I have seen these presses advertised as being good for chapati and roti as well as tortillas. Some of them also have electric elements and you press the dough and then fry them all in the same machine. Can you please comment on these? Do you avoid them in your demonstrations simply out of tradition, or because you don’t like them for some reason? Thanks!

    1. Hi Robert,

      There are slight differences but sometimes, its just the regional name differences. Chapatis are unleavened bread cooked on a tawa (skillet) without oil. Roti (Rotli) are unleavened bread cooked half on a tawa and finished off on an open flame to puff. Parathas are unleavened bread that is cook on a tawa with oil. Naan is leavened and usually cooked in a tandoor (oven).

      We have not used a tortilla press for making chapati/roti because most people don’t have them. If we get our hands on one, maybe we will do a “how to” video using it :).

      1. Thanks, Hetal! So there really IS a difference between the breads, albeit a subtle one. I appreciate the explanation.

        The type of machine I was talking about is illustrated here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aukFFvdzn-c
        I wonder if it is worth getting, or if it is just as easy to roll it out with a rolling pin and cook it in a skillet. Sometimes appliances are more trouble than they are worth. On the other hand, sometimes they really are timesavers. Since you have no personal experience with these (if I understand your answer right), have you heard opinions from trusted friends who cook Indian food? Thanks.

        1. Hi Robert,

          Personally speaking, rolling out and cooking chapatis is second nature to me (I’ve been doing it since I was 10 🙂 ). So, a roti maker would be an unnecessary gadget for me. It seems to be working pretty good to roll out the chapati, so if you are new to rolling, it could be a useful thing (and time saving, too). The only feedback from friends and family regarding a roti maker is that it is really useful for making pani puris.

  14. I just made these rotlis. I used 1 cup chapatti flour, 1/2 cup spelt flour and 1/2 cup quiona flour. I omitted the oil. For the 3/4 cups water, I used 3/4 cups milk (I usually use plain yogurt, but didn’t have any on hand). I also very sparingly brushed some olive oil on the finished rotlis.

    These turned out super soft and yummy.

    Thanks

  15. Hi girls. Thank you for the receipe. I was wandering what the quantities of flour and water would be if I was making for just me and my husband please? 3 or 4 rotis only. Thanks x

    1. Hi Sonal,

      I would not recommend going less then halving this recipe (half all the ingredients)…that will make about 5-6 rotlis. It is really hard to knead dough for 3 rotlis :).

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