Roti Recipe or Phulka Recipe, How to make Soft Rotis or Phulkas

roti-recipe

Roti or Phulka Recipe with step by step photos and tips.

indian bread or roti is an unleavened flat bread which is made in almost every part of india. my home is also not an exception. roti, sabzi (a dry vegetable dish) and dal are regular staple dishes at home. rotis are also served with a vegetable or paneer (cottage cheese) curry.

these rotis or flat breads are made from whole wheat flour and water. ghee and salt may or may not be added. i add some salt and ghee to the dough. the whole wheat flour which is used in making these indian breads are hard to semi hard wheat durum wheat. the wheat is finely ground. this wheat flour is called as “atta”.

the same flat bread is called roti or phulka in different regions of india. these breads can be made thin or of medium thickness. in some regions like gujarat, the phulkas are made very thin. i know this as i have hands on experience of savoring these kind of phulkas from a gujarati colleague. i usually make thin to medium thickness phulkas.

phulka is a hindi word, which means to puff. the roti gets puffed up when exposed to dry heat like that of the a direct flame and puffs up. this puffing up can be achieved on a direct flame and also on the tava itself. a tava is concave flat pan to make the rotis. whereas i call these phulkas, hubby calls them rotis.

a chapati is a slightly different kind of flat bread. the word “chapati” is derived from a marathi word “chapat” which means “flat”. instead of rolling the chapatis were flattened by hand. of course its time consuming to flatten the chapati by the palms in today’s times. so nowadays a rolling pin can is used. a chapati can be also thin or medium rolled.

chapati is also made on a tava and can puff or partly puff (pic below). oil is used while roasting the chapatis on the tava. there is a version of chapati made in maharashtra called as poli. where the rolled dough is layered with oil/ghee and folded thrice. then rolled again finally. this much like the way we make parathas in north india.

roti puffed up on tava

the phulka can be smeared with or without ghee or oil.  in my home, we do apply ghee on the roti while serving it with a veggie dish or dal. as the rotis are made from whole wheat flour so they are healthy and easy to digest. here in this post, i will explain the basic method of making a roti or phulka.

ingredients for making rotis:

3 cups whole wheat flour/atta
1 to 1.25 cups water or more if needed
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 to 2 tsp oil or ghee (optional)

how to make soft rotis or phulkas:

1. take whole wheat flour/atta in a bowl. seive the whole wheat flour with salt. add a bit of water and ghee and start mixing.

whole wheat flour for roti recipe

2. adding some water to the dough in parts, begin to knead the dough.

kneading dough for rotis

3. continue to knead the dough. keep on adding water as required. if you add all the water at once then the flour will become too sticky to handle. also you need to knock down the dough with your fist while kneading. gluten strands have to be formed. if gluten strands are not formed then it will be difficult to roll the rotis.

at the final stage of kneading the dough, some people also prefer to throw the dough from approx 1-2 feet height to the bowl while kneading. this helps in making the dough soft. but i prefer to apply pressure from my fist. in the pic below you can see the hand posture which is used to knead the dough.

kneading dough for roti recipe

4. keep on kneading till the dough becomes pliable and soft. the final dough consistency should not be very soft or hard. the dough for rotis is more soft than the dough kneaded for pooris. after kneading the dough, it is advisable to cover it with a plate or cloth and keep it aside for 20 to 30 minutes. although you can make the rotis straight away after kneading the dough but this 30 minute waiting period helps.

you can also use kitchenaid or roti maker appliances to knead the dough. i also use kitchenaid stand mixer to make the dough and it works really well. many roti maker gadgets knead the dough well but till now there is not a good gadget which help in puffing the rotis.

kneading roti dough

5. now make small to medium balls of the dough. roll the balls in the palms of your hands.

dough balls for making rotis or phulkas

6. flatten the ball. sprinkle some whole wheat flour to the dough ball. alternatively, you can also dust the rolling board with flour.

making rotis or phulkas

7. turn on the gas stove and put the tawa to make it hot. the tawa has to be sufficiently hot to make soft rotis. i generally make rotis on a high flame. on sim or low flame, the rotis become hard and on a very high flame they cook too fast. so regulate the temperature while making the rotis.

so how do find out that tawa is hot enough to make rotis – back home, we sprinkle little whole wheat flour in tawa or griddle and if it becomes dark quickly then the tawa is ready to make rotis.

making rotis or phulkas

8. while tawa is getting hot, start rolling the dough ball into a flat round circle.

rolling rotis

9. keep on rolling till you get a circle as shown in the below pic. making the round rotis is not easy and with practice you will be able to roll them round. sprinkle some wheat flour if the dough begins to stretch or become sticky while rolling.

the trick to roll round rotis is that when you are rolling the dough then the roti should also be moving in circular direction.

also make sure that the rotis are not thick as they take much time to cook and also not easy to puff up and digest.

rolling dough for making rotis or dough

10. now put the roti on a hot tawa/griddle.

making rotis or phulkas

11. first cook one side. it should be less than half cooked or about one-fourth cooked as shown in the pic above.

making rotis or phulkas

12. turn and cook the other side. this should be a little bit more cooked than the first side. brown spots should be visible. the pic below shows the roti ready to put on fire.

making soft rotis or phulkas

13. now hold the roti with a tong and keep the first side which was cooked, directly on fire. the roti will start to puff.

puffed rotis or phulkas

14. turn and keep the other side on fire. the roti will puff more. avoid burning the rotis and also don’t overdo it as roti will not be soft and will become crisp and hard like papads.

puffed up soft rotis or phulkas

15. remove and apply ghee on the rotis. applying ghee or oil keep them soft for a long time. rotis made with this method is ideally served hot. if you cannot serve them hot, then you can keep them in a container that keeps food warm like a casserole or in a roti basket. you can also wrap them up in a kitchen towel or napkin.

rotis recipe, phulka recipe

16. serve the soft rotis with dal or a veggie dish.

roti recipe, phulka recipe

few rips for making soft rotis or phulkas:

1. i do add ghee/oil in the dough. adding ghee or salt makes the roti soft. you can also skip adding ghee or oil. this is the basic method of making a whole wheat flour dough. this dough you can use for making stuffed parathas like aloo paratha, mooli paratha, gobi paratha, paneer paratha.

2. it is not necessary to roast the roti directly on fire. you can also cook it on the tava or griddle. use a heavy spoon or spatula to apply pressure on the roti while cooking on a griddle, so that the roti puffs up. do the same on the other side. but the rotis made on fire are more soft but they should ideally be served hot. if you want to serve the rotis later and want them to store in container, then its advisable to make them on tawa.

3. the dough should be kneaded very well so that the gluten is formed. the dough should be smooth and well kneaded. If the dough is hard then rotis will not puff up. on the other hand, if the dough is very soft and sticky then you won’t be able to roll it and it will not puff up at all.

4. you have to roll the dough very well so that it is even, otherwise the roti will not puff up.

5. after kneading the dough, you can keep it aside for an hour or so and that will also help the roti to become soft.

6. lastly, quality of each brand of whole wheat flour is different. so while making roti on tava or griddle, each flour will take little different time to cook. so you have to experiment to know the perfect timing for the flour you are using and better stick to one flour. depending on the quality of flour, less or more amounts of water will be required.

7. after making roti, if you apply some ghee or oil then that also keeps the rotis soft.

8. kneading the roti with hot water makes it very soft and these rotis remain soft even after hours. best to use this method when making rotis or phulkas for tiffin box lunch. care should be taken when mixing the hot water with the flour. use a spoon or spatula first to mix and when the temperature is bearable knead with hands. even kneading the rotis with milk makes soft rotis.

9. after making rotis, if some extra dough is left then keep it in fridge. cover the dough bowl with a plate while keeping it in fridge. although its better to use fresh kneaded dough, but this way you can use leftover dough for 1-2 days (if kept in fridge). after 1-2 days of keeping in fridge, the dough color starts becoming brown and it becomes hard and also starts smelling and thus not good for making rotis. you can give that spoiled dough to street cows to eat.

P.S. Kneading the dough well, rolling the dough and cooking it on griddle are three important steps which need to be mastered to make soft rotis. mistake in any of these steps may lead to hard rotis or the one which are not puffed up well.

phulkas or rotis recipe below:

roti recipe or phulka recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: main
Cuisine: indian
Ingredients (american measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour/atta
  • 1 to 1.25 cups water or more if needed
  • ½ to ¾ tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tsp oil or ghee (optional)
Instructions
  1. take whole wheat flour/atta in a bowl. seive the whole wheat flour with salt. add a bit of water and ghee and start mixing.
  2. adding some water to the dough in parts, begin to knead the dough.
  3. continue to knead the dough. keep on adding water as required.
  4. knead the dough till it becomes pliable and soft. the final dough consistency should not be very soft or hard.
  5. now make small to medium balls of the dough. roll the balls in the palms of your hands.
  6. flatten the ball. sprinkle some whole wheat flour to the dough ball. alternatively, you can also dust the rolling board with flour.
  7. turn on the gas stove and put the tawa to make it hot.
  8. while tawa is getting hot, start rolling the dough ball into a flat round circle.
  9. once the tawa is sufficiently hot then put the roti on a hot tawa/griddle.
  10. first cook one side. it should be less than half cooked or about one-fourth cooked.
  11. turn and cook the other side. this should be a little bit more cooked than the first side. brown spots should be visible.
  12. now hold the roti with a tong and keep the first side which was cooked, directly on fire. the roti will start to puff.
  13. turn and keep the other side on fire. the roti will puff more. avoid burning the rotis and also don’t overdo it as roti will not be soft and will become crisp and hard like papads.
  14. remove and apply ghee on the rotis. applying ghee or oil keep them soft for a long time. rotis made with this method is ideally served hot.
  15. if you cannot serve them hot, then you can keep them in a container that keeps food warm like a casserole or in a roti basket. you can also wrap them up in a kitchen towel or napkin.
  16. serve the soft rotis with dal or a veggie dish.


{ 12 Responses }

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  1. Babs says

    Have been trying to find a way to pre-make rotis and re-heat. Is that possible? Love to have for breakfast, but with the prep work and rest time, it takes a bit longer for people on the go or when trying to pack lunches.

    Second question is how to make so kids can have in their lunches? Won’t they get soggy if you make them in the morning? Best way to wrap them for lunch…you get the idea. Thanks!

    • says

      for pre making the rotis. just cook the rotis till they are opaque but without any spots. meaning not even half cooked, but more than 1/4th cooked. stack them up and keep them in the freezer once. when you want to make them, defrost the rotis and then roast them on the griddle with some oil or ghee till they become golden with some dark spots. i had seen one well known indian check doing this way on a tv show, so i remember. but i have never tried this method. generally rotis are supposed to be made and served hot.

      the rotis don’t get soggy. in fact they can become dry and dense. for packing tiffin boxes, while kneading add hot water to the flour. mix and when the temperature is fine to handle, knead the dough. rotis made this way remain soft and do not become dry or brittle in tiffin boxes. also apply oil or ghee on the rotis as they remain soft.

  2. MA says

    Hi
    I tried to make paratha using this recipe but kneaded dough did not have any elasticity. It wouldn’t stretch at all. I used whole wheat flour (2 cups), 3/4 cups room temperature water and 1 tablespoon oil and some salt. I let it rest for about 20 minutes. The dough was so soft it would stick to the rolling pin again and again even when I apply less pressure. Can you provide a remedy? Thanks
    (The only reason I can think is that the flour was old but it was stored in an air-tight container).

    • says

      the water become too much. you could have just added some more of the wheat flour to get rid of the stickiness. different kinds of wheat flour have different water absorbing capacities, so the quantity mentioned is just an approximate. as a rule if the dough looks dry, then 1 or 2 tbsp water or more can be added to make the dough smooth and soft. also if the dough becomes very soft and sticky, then add some more flour which will absorb the extra moisture. the dough could not stretch as there was too much water in the dough.

  3. Anu says

    Hi,

    I prepare Rotis in the same way mentioned above, but I never get rotis as soft n thin as we usually get in restaurants. Is there any way in which I can make soft rotis

    • says

      i usually make soft and thin rotis at home. just make sure that you don’t add too much of water or less water. the dough should be soft and smooth. 1 tsp of oil or ghee helps, but don’t add too much.

      another way to make soft rotis is to knead the atta in hot water. add hot water to the atta. with a wooden spoon mix everything. don’t put your hand at the mixture is very hot. when the mixture becomes warm then knead with your hands. you can also use warm water, but for better results hot water is better. when you make roti this way, it even stays soft when you take the rotis in the lunch box.