It is back to basics, this time… making a perfectly puffed up, soft roti!

Did you know, when we were kids, bread (the European variety) used to be called ‘double roti’ in northern parts of India? Never questioned this strange nomenclature back then, but recently, a net search told me that this was because the size of the dough doubles in the bread made with yeast!

But back to our own home grown roti – which remains single in size, but the taste is double (if not quadruple) as good! Nothing like the aroma of a freshly made roti with a dollop of ghee or butter on top!

But making a perfect roti is by far one of the TOUGHEST things to do in Indian cooking. Much tougher than its cousin, the paratha. But with expert guidance, it can be pretty easy – as you yourself demonstrated during your last visit home! So here goes…


  • Atta (whole wheat flour, you can use refined flour if atta is unavailable, but it’s just not the same!)
  • Water

Making the Dough

Take the atta in a large bowl, and pour water little by little into it and keep kneading. The dough needs to be quite soft and pliant (without being oversoft or watery), in order for the final products to be soft. Kneading well is key here – even after the right consistency is obtained, knead a little more. Cover an let it stand for a while.

Leftover dough can be kept covered in the fridge for a day or so.

Making the Roti

Make a lemon-sized ball. (And I am talking about the puny Indian lemons here – not the oversized Dutch/ American ones here.) Roll it out into a thin disc, taking care to roll the edges out with slightly more pressure – the middle gets done more or less on its own.

The next part is tricky, but there is a foolproof way of making the rotis ‘puff’. Follow these steps.

  1. Heat the tawa/griddle just the right amount – if its too hot, you will see brown spots come up on the roti too quickly. It then becomes too hard, and won’t puff.
  2. Put the rolled out roti gently on the tawa. The side which is down (let’s call this side A) should not cook too much. Turn it over with a ‘chimta’ (pair of tongs) as soon as the colour changes a bit.
  3. The second side (side B) should cook more – cook till it becomes brownish or develops light brown spots.
  4. Now remove the roti from the tawa, and put it directly over the fire – taking care to put the first side (side A) in direct contact with the fire.
  5. Remove quickly, and if needed, put side B on the fire briefly.
  6. Remove and put butter/ghee on side A.(This side will be noticeably flimsier then the other.)
  7. Rotis are ready to serve.

If you master roti-making, you can’t be called culinarily-challenged any more! Let me know how much time it takes to get perfect rotis consistently!

Sweater pehnna, dhania khana.