A soft Indian flatbread, this easy roti recipe is a great curry side dish. Use it to mop up the curry sauce or as a wrap, with the curry filling inside (yum!). With 4 basic ingredients, homemade roti is simple to make. Follow our how to make roti guide, for all the tips and tricks you need to make the perfect soft roti.
Making roti will forever remind us of living in Fiji. Watching people in the village rolling out roti was a regular occurrence.
We were determined to learn how to make these delicious soft perfect rotis for ourselves. Our how to make roti guide shares all the tips we learned along the way.
This roti / chapati recipe is simple and perfect for beginners, showing you the key steps to making perfectly puffy rotis that the whole family will love!
What is roti?
Roti bread (Roti canai), is a staple food in Indian homes and though it has different names it is enjoyed throughout South Asia. It is an unleavened flatbread, that has been enjoyed for many centuries.
Made with just basic ingredients that are mixed into a dough and then rolled out into thin rounds to make delicious rotis.
These rounds are typically cooked on a griddle or skillet, without the need for any oil or fat, until they puff up and develop a beautiful golden-brown colour.
Simple yet delicious roti is the perfect side for curries, used as a wrap for kebabs or vegetables, or simply enjoyed with a dollop of yoghourt and some pickles.
To make roti you will need:
- Rolling Pin (Belan): A rolling pin is essential for flattening the dough into thin, even rounds. It's traditionally made of wood but can use whatever rolling pin you have available.
- Griddle or Tava: A flat, heavy-bottomed griddle or tava is traditionally used for cooking the roti. Though we have also seen them cooked on a direct flame! You can also use a skillet, cast iron or heavy-bottomed frying pan. It should have a smooth surface and be large enough to accommodate the size of the roti you intend to make.
- Mixing Bowl: You'll need a large bowl to combine the ingredients while making the dough.
- Clean Cloth or Napkin: You'll use this to cover the dough and keep it from drying out while you're cooking the individual rotis.
- Tongs or Roti Turner: Tongs or a roti turner are useful for flipping the roti while cooking.
- Plain flour (all purpose flour) - Traditional roti is made using atta flour, if you can find this locally. You can also use wholemeal wheat flour, which traditionally chapati is made with. But we get great results using plain flour or all-purpose flour, just make sure you spend the time to knead it well.
- A little oil - Canola or vegetable oil will work.
- Pinch of salt
- Boiling water - this needs to be boiling hot water, not just warm water.
How to make roti
1. To make the dough.
Start by adding all the ingredients into a bowl, using a knife to mix it well. Check that the dough is not too hot then place it on a clean surface.
Knead for 10-15 minutes, to creat smooth soft dough. You shouldn't need to flour the surface but you can do so lightly if your dough is sticking.
Place the dough in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions then roll into smooth balls. To create a smooth ball, roll on the surface using a cupped hand.
Place the dough balls back in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth to prevent from drying out.
2. How to roll roti.
Take one dough ball and flatten it slightly. Dip the flattened ball into flour, shaking off any excess flour. Ensure both sides are lightly covered, this will help you create smooth round circles when rolling.
Dust the surface lightly with flour. 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 around in quarter turns 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.
3. How to cook roti.
Heat your dry pan to a medium-high heat. Cooking roti at the right temperature is important for best results.
Place the roti on the hot tawa or pan Leave it on one side for 10 seconds, to colour slightly.
Then turn the roti over onto the second side, leaving it till it's cooked through. This will take between 30-60 seconds, depending on how thick your roti is.
While this one is cooking get rolling 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. It's on the third cook that your roti should start to puff up creating deliciously soft flatbread.
This will depend on how flat you roll out your roti, but it can take a little practice, so keep trying!
Place the warm roti on a plate, between a clean kitchen towel, while you repeat the process until all your roti are cooked.
Top 3 chefs tips.
- Dough balls - when dividing the dough, take the time to shape the dough into smooth balls. This will help create smooth soft circles for the roti.
- Making circles - to make nice round circles with the dough roll out from the centre in a slight circular motion to the edge then turn the dough by a quarter and roll out from the centre to the edge again. Repeat this process until the roti is as thin as possible around 2 mm thick.
- Creating the perfect roti puff - Flipping the roti a couple of times is important! It is during the third cook that the perfect roti will puff up. How much depends on how thin you rolled out the dough. Whether you get a few bubbles or the entire roti pillows up, they will still taste great. Let the roti cook for a further 10-20 seconds before removing from the pan. Watch it closely at this stage, to prevent it from burning.
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 it in a dry place.
Before serving you may need to reheat the roti for a few seconds in the microwave. We love having leftover roti and curry, to make wraps for lunch the following day. If you haven't tried this yet we highly recommend it!
Love this dish? Please leave us a review below. And come join us on social, tag us in your delicious photos Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Hungry for more deliciousness? Subscribe to our newsletter, to receive our latest e-recipe book and never miss another ATK recipe!
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 every day. Try new cuisines 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. She likes to create healthy recipes, that are easy to whip up and full of flavour which the whole family can 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 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.
- Place the dough balls 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 it out around the edges, turning the dough round a quarter then rolling it out again from the centre to the edge. (See 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, 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 wrapped between a clean tea towel on a plate and repeat the process until all the roti are cooked.