Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rotis (Chapatis)

Ah, the sweet taste of success! I tried making these before because they seemed so easy but they came out flat, dry, and dense. They wouldn't puff up like they were supposed to - I didn't know what I was doing wrong. This time I had more confidence and was determined to get these right. After about 3 batches that went in the trash, I checked out some other recipes and found that they call for chapati flour (not plain whole-wheat flour). I don't what chapati flour is, but I tried using half whole-wheat flour, half all-purpose with some baking soda to make the texture lighter and it finally worked! My technique may have improved too.

Here's my recipe for 4 rotis:

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Combine first 4 ingredient in medium bowl. Add water and stir with your fingers, gathering the dough together and lightly kneading it while scraping the sides. Dough should be slightly sticky. Fill a plate with flour and dredge your dough in the flour. Knead on a countertop a few times till dough is soft and pliable then separate into 4 sections. Roll into balls and set aside. Leave for about 5 minutes. During this time a skillet (a heavy iron one works best) should be heating up on medium heat.

Take one of the dough balls and dip in the flour. Splat against the countertop and roll out with a rolling pin or wine bottle. The dough will probably stick to your pin after a couple of rolls so dip one side in the flour dish again. Splat against the countertop and flip to the other side so both sides have a light dusting of flour. Continue rolling until dough is about 1 mm thick. I think the thinner they are the better they puff.

Splat onto your pre-heated pan. Once you see little bubbles popping up all over flip it to the other side and pat edges down with a spatula. Keep flipping and patting down the bubbles, pushing the air throughout your roti so it puffs up like a ball. Once very lightly browned, remove from heat, brush with ghee or butter and the roti will deflate and be light and fluffy.

This is the original recipe I used. Follow Manjula's technique:

Note: I haven't tried using all whole-wheat flour with the baking powder. If someone feels adventurous, let me know how that works.

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