Roti or Phulka or Chapati is an everyday staple Indian flatbread that is made in nearly every part of India. This roti or chapati recipe of an unleavened flatbread is made with basic ingredients – whole wheat flour, ghee, salt and water.
Take whole wheat flour (atta) in a bowl. Sift the flour with salt if you have flour which has a lot of bran. Add a bit of water, oil or ghee and start mixing.
Adding water to the dough in parts, begin to knead the dough.
Continue to knead the dough. Keep on adding water as required.
Knead the dough till it becomes pliable, smooth and soft. The final dough consistency should not be very sticky or loose or hard.
Now make small to medium balls of the dough. Roll the balls in the palms of your hands to smoothen it.
Flatten the ball. Sprinkle some whole wheat flour to the dough ball. Alternatively, you can also dust the rolling board with flour.
Turn on the gas stove and put the tawa to make it hot.
While tawa is getting hot, start rolling the dough ball into a flat round circle.
Once the tawa is sufficiently hot then put the roti on a hot tawa/griddle.
First cook one side. It should be less than half cooked or about one-fourth cooked.
Turn and cook the other side. This should be a little bit more cooked than the first side. Brown spots should be visible.
Now hold the roti with a tong and keep the first side which was cooked, directly on fire. The roti will start to puff.
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 papadums.
Remove and apply ghee or oil on the phulka. Applying ghee or oil keep them soft for a long time. Phulka 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.
Making Roti on Tawa
Place the rolled roti dough on a hot tawa or skillet. Keep the heat to medium-high or high. Within some seconds you will see air pockets forming on the raw chapati dough
Roast for about 30 seconds or so and you will see the air-pockets increase on the surface.
Keep in mind that the timing will change or vary with the kind of skillet you are using, the chapati thickness and the intensity of the flame.
Flip with spatula or tongs and roast the second side for about a minute.
Flip again and you will see the second side cooked more than the first side with visible brown spots.
With a clean folded cotton kitchen napkin or a spatula, begin to press the partially cooked roti on all sides and center. Pressing it evenly all over helps to puff up the roti.
Keep on pressing all over, especially the flat portions, so that the entire roti gets puffed up well.
If you prefer you can flip again and cook the second side too for some seconds if its looks under cooked.
Transfer the soft and puffed roti in a roti-basket and spread some oil or ghee on top.
Keep the rolled roti dough on a hot tawa or skillet. Cook on medium-high to high heat for about 30 seconds or so until you see some air pockets all over.
Flip the chapati and spread some oil all over while the second side is getting roasted. Cook the second side for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Flip again with a spatula. You will see that the second side is well roasted with some blisters and brown spots.
Spread some oil on this cooked side. Roast the first side again for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Remove and transfer to a chapati container or box. Keep covered. Make chapati with the rest of the dough in this manner.
Serving and Storing Suggestions
Serve roti or phulka or chapati with any Indian meal. Accompany it with vegetable or paneer curries, stir-fried or sautéed vegetables (sabji) or lentils (dals).
Store any leftover dough in an air-tight container for just about 1 to 2 days. If the dough has darkened or has a weird smell, then throw it away.
Store the flatbreads in a roti box or in a covered container for a few hours. Always cover with a tight lid, so that the flatbreads remain soft. Brushing or spreading with some oil or ghee on the roti, keeps them softer.
Adding fats like oil or ghee to the dough is optional, but makes the roti or chapati soft.
Make sure to knead the dough very well. It has to soft, pliable and smooth. Add water as needed as you go on working on the dough.
The roti dough can be kneaded with hands as well as in a stand-mixer.
Do not roast the rolled roti or chapati dough on a low heat as they will not be soft and become crispy or hard.
This basic roti dough recipe is scaleable to make a large or small batch.
If not using wheat flour labelled as "atta" then sift once or twice to remove the bran especially if the flour is coarser or has a lot of bran.
For the oil to add in the dough or brush on the roasted roti, you can use neutral flavored oils like sunflower oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil. You can also use rice bran oil and also peanut oil.
Note that the approximate nutrition info is for 1 roti made where the dough is made with sunflower oil and no oil or ghee is brushed or spread on the roti.