Print the recipe card! chapati and roti (flatbread)
Chapati and Roti are super-simple flatbreads perfect for the stovetop, grill or campfire. Chapati and Roti are very similar and often used interchangeably. Depending on who you ask, the major differences appear to be that Chapati are larger and thinner, and cooked on a dry griddle; whereas Roti are smaller and thicker, and are cooked on a lightly oiled griddle. Whatever you call them, they are delicious and a wonderful addition to your FoodStorageCookbook. This recipe makes 6-8 flatbreads, roughly 6″ in diameter.
There are several different recipes for these flatbreads, and some families consider it almost as closely a guarded secret as their garam masala and curry blends. In any case, the following was adapted from a recipe given to me by a co-worker, Indira, before she returned to Jaipur to be married. If you’re out there listening Indie, THANK YOU!!
2 c whole wheat flour (see notes)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
¾ c warm water (enough for a kneadable dough)
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly until dough forms.
Knead the dough smooth (about 5 minutes), cover, and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes up to several hours. Note that the dough won’t rise because there are no leavening agents, we’re just letting the flour absorb the water and the gluten develop.
After resting, knead the dough for 1-2 minutes, without adding any more water, to relax the gluten; and divide the dough into 10-12 balls about the size of a golfball.
Roll each dough ball in dry whole wheat flour to lightly coat it so it doesn’t stick when you’re rolling it out.
Then roll the dough out. For Chapati, you want thin 6″ circles (you can use a tortilla press if you have one); for Roti, you want slightly thicker 3-4” circles. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect circles or perfectly flat and smooth, these are supposed to be rustic! You could even shape and flatten these out by hand if you have the patience.
Place an ungreased (lightly greased for Roti) griddle or cast-iron skillet on the stove at medium-high heat. When hot, place the rolled-out dough down on the griddle. When bubbles are visible, turn over and cook until the bottom side browns as well.
If you are cooking on a gas stove, grill or campfire, hold the cooked chapati/roti with a pair of tongs, and place it directly over the flame for a few seconds, until the chapati puffs up. Turn and repeat on the other side.
If you are cooking on an electric stove or griddle, keep the chapati/roti on the griddle and gently press the chapat/roti with the spoon handle or chopstick in several places; flip and repeat on the other side. This dimpling procedure should make the chapati puff up; but if you press too hard or too long, the chapati may become too crunchy or scorch.
Remove the chapati from the heat, and lightly brush one side with butter, oil or ghee to help them stay moist. (I also put mine in a tortilla warmer, or invert a plate over them since it’s very arid here.)
While you can certainly use AP flour or pre-ground whole wheat flour for this recipe, I’ve found that the flavor, texture and puffing is superior if you grind the flour right before you prepare the dough. One cup of whole wheat berries yields approximately 1 ½ cups of flour, so I ground 2 c of berries to make this recipe.
Since this isn’t pastry or cake, I only passed the wheat through my mill twice. Initially on a medium-coarse setting, and then back in again on the finest setting… plenty fine for a rustic bread.