A soft Indian flatbread, roti (or chapati as its also known), is a great side to many curry dishes. You can either use it to mop up the curry sauce or as a wrap, with the curry filling inside (yum!). Homemade roti is simple to make, with a few techniques you can learn and perfect as you practice. Follow our 'How to make soft roti' guide, for all the tips and tricks you need to make the perfect soft roti and discover your new go to curry side dish.
Making roti will forever remind us of living in Fiji. Watching people in the villages rolling out the roti was a regular occurrence. Our guide shares all the tips we learnt along the way to perfect this delicious bread.
- 200g Plain flour - Traditional Indian roti are made using atta flour, if you can find this locally, you can also use wholemeal wheat flour or bread flour. But we get great results using plain flour, just make sure you spend the time to knead it well.
- 1 tablespoon oil - canola or vegetable oil.
- Pinch of salt
- 150 ml boiling water
Make the dough.
Start by adding all the ingredients into a bowl, using a knife to mix it well. Being careful the dough is not too hot place it onto a clean surface. Knead for 10-15 minutes, until the dough it smooth and soft. You shouldn't need to flour the surface, but lightly do so if your dough is sticking. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 8 smooth balls. To smooth the balls roll on the surface using a cupped hand. Watch the video below for this technique.
Place the dough balls back in the bowl and cover to prevent from drying out.
How to roll out the roti.
Place a nonstick frying pan, tawa or cast iron pan on a medium/ high heat. While the pan is heating, take one ball out and flatten slightly. Dip the flattened ball into flour making sure both sides are lightly covered, helping you to create smooth circles when rolling them out. And lightly flour the surface.
Roll the dough out into a circle, making it as thin as you can, aiming for 2 mm. It helps to roll around the edges, moving the dough round as you work. Don't worry about perfect, this is a technique that takes practice, when you start out just focus on making them as thin as you can. (Watch the video below)
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How to cook the roti.
Place the roti on the hot pan. Leave it on one side for 10 secs, to slightly colour. Then turn the roti over on to the other side, leaving it till its cooked through. This will take between 30-60 seconds, depending on how thin you rolled the roti. While this one is cooking, roll out the next dough ball into a circle.
Once the roti is cooked through, turn it over for the final time to further colour the first side.
Three cooks is important! It is during the third cooking time that the perfect roti, will puff up. How much depends on how thin you rolled out the dough. Either way they will taste great, so whether you get a few bubbles or the entire roti pillows up, let it cook for a further 10-20 seconds before removing from the pan. Watch it closely at this stage, to prevent it from burning. Place the cooked roti on a plate, between a clean towel, while you repeat the process until all your roti are cooked.
Once you get into the flow of making roti, it can be quite a therapeutic process. Happy rolling!
As with most breads roti/ chapati is best served fresh. Before serving store the freshly cooked roti on a plate wrapped between a clean tea towel. The heat from the cooking process will keep the bread soft. To keep the roti soft overnight, wrap plastic wrap over the plate and towel and keep in a dry place. You may need to reheat the roti for a few seconds in the microwave. We love having left over roti and curry, to make wraps for lunch the following day. If you haven't tried this yet you should!
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Our goal is to share simple, tasty dishes created by Chef Shane and partner, Sara. Using Shane's understanding of flavours and knowledge of food, to teach and inspire you to create delicious food everyday and gain a new level of confidence in the kitchen. Sara understands what it's like preparing weekly dinners for a busy family of five and likes to create dishes that are easy, full of flavour, that the whole family will enjoy.
How to make soft roti (chapati)
- 1 Non stick frying pan, tawa or cast iron pan
- 1 Rolling Pin
- 200 g Plain flour (7oz)
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- Pinch of Salt
- 150 ml Boiling water (5 fl oz)
- Add all the ingredients into a large bowl, use a knife to mix it well.
- Check the dough is not too hot from the boiling water, turn out onto a clean surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until smooth and soft. (See note 1)
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal balls, rolling them using a cupped hand on the surface to smooth them. (See video for technique)
- Place the bowls back into the bowl and cover.
- Heat the pan on a medium/high heat.
- While the pan is heating. Take one dough ball flatten slightly and dip both sides into flour and lightly flour the surface.
- Roll the dough out into a circle, making it as thin as you can, aiming for 2mm. The technique is to roll in out around the edges, turning the dough around slowly after each roll. (See video and note 2 below)
- Once hot place the roti on the pan and leave for 10 seconds. Then turn the roti over to cook on the other side till cooked. Depending on the thickness this will take 30-60 seconds.
- While this roti is cooking, roll out the next dough ball.
- Once the roti is cooked through turn it for the third time. This will add additional colour to this side and allow the roti to puff up. The perfect roti will fully puff up, again depending on how thin it was rolled out. Let it cook for a further 10-20 seconds before removing it from the pan. Watch it closely at this stage to make sure it doesn't burn. (See note 3)
- Place the roti folded between a clean tea towel on a plate and repeat the process to cook all the roti.