Roti is an unlevened bread, often eaten in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Whenever I visit an Indian restaurant, I often ask for it with my meal as it’s is almost always prepared vegan. Stewart requested chana masala tonight, so I decided to try my hand at making roti.
If you thought the No Knead Bread was easy, this is even better. It seems impossible to screw up, and unlike the No Knead, this bread requires no rising (read: instant gratification).
I started by looking up some recipes online. Some called for oil, others forbade it. Sometimes a recipe mentioned sugar, others said milk was the key. There were whole wheat recipes and all-purpose flour recipes. My head was swimming. Amongst all of them were a few simple ones that had three ingredients: flour, water, and salt.
I cast my computer aside and declared that people have been making bread for AGES. I didn’t need the internet to tell me how! I just needed to connect with my inner bread spirit, and lo, there was roti there.
In spite of that, I’m going to give you directions. You know, in case your inner bread spirit is on vacation or something.
Roti for Two
Serves you and your very impressed date
1 Cup Flour (180 g)
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbs Water
2 Pinches Salt
(Yeah, that’s it!)
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add 1/2 cup water and see how wet your dough is. You want pizza dough consistency here, so add more water or pinches of flour to get there. I ended up needed the extra two tablespoons of water, but you may need more or less depending on humidity and how much flour you get per cup. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it starts to smooth out a bit. You don’t want it to be so sticky you can’t work with it, so add flour until it’s soft and not too gummy.
Let the dough rest in the bowl for, oh, 15 minutes. It doesn’t really matter. This puppy isn’t going to rise, we just want to give the gluten some time to relax. If you leave it in there for 30 minutes, I’m sure it won’t matter.
Take a heavy cast-iron or non-stick skillet (or whatever you have available) and put it over a high flame. If you have a tawa use that, but I’m guessing that if you own one, you don’t need a roti recipe from me. While the pan is heating, divide the dough ball into quarters. They should be about the size of kiwis. Ish.
Roll out the dough so it’s fairly thin but not impossible to pick up, about 12″ in diameter. Your pan should be nice and hot now, so toss it in!
Here comes the fun part. Roti is all about flipping. After the first few seconds in the pan, flip the dough. You can use tongs if you’re smart, or you can be like me and try to flip it by shaking the pan and tossing it in the air, or by grabbing it and turning it with your fingers before it burns you.
Every few seconds, give it a flip. You’ll start to see some color, and some air pockets forming. This is when you start pressing it down into the pan to make sure it cooks evenly. Get yourself a moist paper towel (not wet! moist!), ball it up, and use it to press down on the roti. You’ll see more air bubbles forming.
Keep flipping and pressing. It’ll look like pita bread – the raw yellow-tinged dough will turn white, and you’ll get some nice colored spot and fun air pockets.
Keep flipping and pressing it until you don’t see any raw dough and the spots are nice and dark. Serve warm with spicy foods, or use to make wraps.
I hope you believe me when I tell you this is insanely easy. It really is. You can’t mess it up, I promise. Go try it!