Hot, Hot, Roti

Last year during Lent we found this book at the library. My husband read it to our little girl every single night for weeks. They both loved the bright pictures, the sweet and funny story about a little boy helping his grandfather recover the “power of the tiger,” and the smattering of Hindi words and phrases that make the book perfect for reading aloud. As for me, my spice grinder and wooden spoons started turning turmeric-yellow after a few weeks of trying out Indian recipes.

I wouldn’t dare post my own recipe for roti. It isn’t hard to make, but it does take a little practice and I don’t have the time to test recipes side by side and tell you whether boiling water really is better than lukewarm, or whether resting the dough for an hour is better than a quick 5-10 minute rest. I will share these few tips I have learned, however, along with the recommendation that you try making your own flatbread of some sort at least a few times (more than once, since the first time can be tricky and it really will be easier once you get the hang of it). Sure, you can serve your curry with rice. But hand made flatbread does add a special something to the meal. After all, who wouldn’t like to feel “the power of the tiger” now and then?

  • Make sure you roll your roti nice and thin and let your pan get nice and hot. Otherwise it won’t puff. A silicone mat for rolling is nice, although certainly not necessary.
  • You don’t have to use ghee. For an oil-free fast day you can just leave the roti dry, or you can brush them with a little coconut oil. It may not be authentic, but it is still good.
  • I really want a big, flat, cast-iron pan for making roti and tortillas. They hold heat evenly and don’t stick. If you are like me and do not have one, however, try a big frying pan (you want room to get your spatula under the roti to flip it), or an electric skillet.
  • Purists will tell you that tortillas and roti are not the same thing and should never be substituted for one another. They are right. Sort of. Self respecting Mexican mamas usually use lard, and wouldn’t dream of brushing their tortillas with ghee. On the other hand, vegan, whole-wheat tortillas are awfully similar to vegan roti. In a pinch, use the freshest tortillas with the shortest ingredient list you can find and heat them up right before serving. I won’t tell.

Here is a nice video with instructions for making roti:

And here is a link for a slightly more detailed recipe I tried last week.

How to Make Soft Roti

I’ll be back soon with a recipe for chickpea curry to serve with your roti!