One day, Nick and Eva, my dear friends, suggested that we serve lunch as well. Lunch would have to be served at 1 pm and I was not sure we could work faster than the speed at which we were working, but we decided to give it a shot. It was a resounding success and there were a few records set in the ensuing months and years. There was a time when we have served 250 chapatis in one day! God bless my dear dear sister-in-law, Diana, who single handed, made all those chapatis for us every day for 3 years! I dedicate this blog to Diana for her love and support.
For those of you who love chapatis, here goes!
Indian dry bread made from flours of whole wheat, refined wheat, jowar, rice, corn and other cereals are generally referred to as rotis. Phulkas and chapattis are made from whole wheat flour. Phulkas are small, dry rotis. When rolled out bigger in size, and roasted with or without oil, they are referred to as chapattis. Sukha rotis means dry rotis.
Whole wheat flour
Water for mixing
almost 1 cup
You will require a flat cast iron skillet or slightly curved heavy pan, a rolling pin and rolling board or a clean and dry kitchen tabletop, a flat ladle to flip the rotis or chapattis with, and a clean thick cotton cloth folded tightly to press the rotis and encourage them to puff up. Rotis are best cooked over a gas flame, as it is necessary to control the heat from time to time.
Put the whole wheat flour in a wide pot, bowl, or thaliª and add salt. Mix slowly with water and knead into a soft dough. Add oil and knead well for a couple of minutes until the dough becomes soft and homogenous. Cover with a muslin cloth or a lid and let stand for about 20 minutes. Knead again, then make smooth, round, medium-sized balls. Use dry flour while handling if the dough gets sticky.
Roll out circular rotis with a rolling pin. Use flour if the dough sticks to the rolling pin or board. Take care to ensure that the rotis are evenly rolled out to around 5 inches in diameter.
Heat the roti pan and put rolled-out roti dough on it. Spin the roti gently on the pan after 10 seconds, preferably with the cloth pad, to allow it to cook uniformly. Once blisters appear, flip the roti and cook it on the other side for half a minute or until it develops golden brown spots (lift it to check). Flip once again and gently press with the flat ladle to encourage the bubbles to puff. Once the roti has fully puffed, remove it from the pan.
The total time it takes to dry roast one roti is between a minute to 90 seconds. If you leave the roti on the pan for longer than that, it will become tough in texture.
Rotis may be cooked partly on a pan and partly over the flame. Cook the roti on one side on the pan and flip it over once blisters appear. Spin and gently press the edges for 5 seconds. Lift with a ladle and put the same side directly onto a gas flame until the roti puffs up. This is a skill that is refined with practice.
When you become efficient at making rotis, you can serve them hot from the pan. Otherwise, store the rotis in a container lined with a clean cotton cloth or kitchen tissues. Dry rotis may be stored for up to 2-3 days at room temperature. A dollop of pure ghee or butter over a hot roti tastes divine!
If your roti does not puff up, do not keep it on the fire for long, as it will simply burn. Just take it off the fire after 15 to 20 seconds. Rotis will not puff up if they are not evenly rolled out.
"Practice and all is coming" and "Eat more chapatis" - Thank you Guruji, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.