Rotis/Chapatis/Phulka (whichever you call them) are an essential part of an Indian thali and found daily in Indian households. Pillowy soft Indian style flatbreads are made on the stovetop to accompany a variety of Indian dishes.
First, we will show you how to make a chapati dough through step by step instructions and then how to make soft and round chapatis Gujarati style.
How to make round and soft Gujarati Rotlis with Video Instructions
But can you make round chapattis?
For those of us brought up in the UK, I’m sure you will be familiar with the legendary and very quotable film Bend It Like Beckham.
In there, the Mum, Mrs Bhamra, exclaims that what family would want a daughter-in-law that can run around kicking football all day but can’t make round chapatis!
A sentiment probably, that many young girls will disagree with!
Whatever your view on that statement, there is no doubt that there is nothing as special as a homely meal of delicious curry or sabzi and perfectly fluffy rotis.
We all love rotis with our meals, although day today, we do not add any ghee on top.
What is Gujarati Rotli?
Rotli is basically an unleavened instant flatbread made using wholewheat flour and water.
When served mostly a generous amount of Ghee is spread on top.
Gujarati rotlis are thin, softer and smaller bread compared to Pakistani or Punjabi rotis.
These chapatis are half cooked on a griddle and half directly on the open flame, thus they are also called ‘Phulka Roti’ too as they fluff up just like a balloon.
Difference between paratha and rotlis
Paratha and Rotis are both made with the same basic ingredients but there is a significant difference between them.
Rotis are plain, not spicy, and can be cooked directly on the flame. They are also the best eaten soft.
Paratha can be stuffed, spiced/flavoured. They cannot be cooked on the flame as they are usually coated with oil when cooking.
They can have different shapes and can be layered. The texture can be crispy as well as soft.
Ingredients for soft roti/chapati/phulka
● Atta – chapati flour, with this same wheat flour Aate ka Halwa with Mawa prepared too
● Lukewarm water – this is especially important for those making chapatis in cooler climates
Which flour/atta should I use to make rotlis?
There are many varieties of chapatti flours available in the stores, such as white, medium brown, brown, wholemeal and Chakki aata, also known as fine durum whole wheat atta-which is always used in India but recently made it to UK stores.
There is no hard and fast rule to which atta is best for making chapatis. The only reason that you should choose atta is based on what sort of taste you prefer for your rotlis.
The only true way of achieving soft and round rotlis is to keep practising until you find a method that suits you.
What equipment or tools are needed to make Indian roti
You will need a mixing bowl to make the dough
Big and wide plate known as Parat or Trasak, to make it much easier when kneading the dough. If not any deep bowl or cake mixer bowl will work too.
A Tawa (in Gujarati it is known as Tavi or Lodhi) or flat crepe style pan
A rolling pin – In Gujarati households long and thin rolling pin is used.
Patlo or Chakla – flat circular and smooth board either wooden, stone or metal. However, you don’t have to have it, you can make rotis on your kitchen worktop too.
Tongs to flip the chapatis – or you can just use your hands (don’t burn yourself though)
Which size rolling pin is best to make rotlis?
Again I think whatever suits you best and you may have to try out a few to get it right.
We have always used thinner rolling pins (see video or step-by-step) as they aren’t too heavy and you can more easily adjust the pressure you apply when rolling out the dough.
Gujaratis use thinner, wooden rolling pins.
Tips for how to make Best Gujarati Rotli?
I can’t stress enough that no one can make the best rotli in the first go, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t turn out good a few times. The only thing you can do is practice, practice, and practice!
Here are some tips and tricks from my Mum so the whole process is less tedious and easier for you:
1. Always use fresh flour as possible and do not add any other flour such as plain flour to make rotis.
2. If you are living in a cooler climate, use lukewarm or warm but not boiling water.
3. Don’t add all the water same time, but add it gradually.
4. Kneading is the key, if the dough is kneaded properly, rotis will be softer and fluff up.
5. The dough should not be hard or not too soft, once the dough is done, it should not stick to your fingers. (check the video)
6. Let the dough rest covered with a damp cloth for a minimum 15 minutes but if you don’t have time, go ahead and make it, still, it will be good enough.
7. While rolling it, do not roll with too much pressure on, or it will stick to the worktop.
8. Try not to use too much dry flour, it will make rotis hard and crispy and the flour will burn while roasting.
9. Cook rotis on medium flame, not on low. Low heat will make Rotis chewy and not soft.
With above all tips and tricks, I am pretty sure you can make soft and round Rotis, you just need some patience and practice.
Frequently asked questions
Why do my rotli not fluff up?
The dough may not be kneaded properly.
The dough may be too hard and so needs some more water.
The rotli may not have been rolled out properly.
How to make chapatis for travelling?
Add oil to the dough before kneading, so they stay soft and stay fresh for a couple of days.
If you are making them in advance, then allow to cool before closing the lid of the container as the condensation may make the rotlis soggy.
Can I make the roti dough in advance?
To be honest fresh dough is much better for rotlis, however, if you are pressed for time prepare the dough, as usual.
Apply generous amount of oil and store in an airtight container and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Or some reason if you have prepared more dough than you needed, store the leftover dough in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze the Roti dough?
Yes, you can. Roti dough can freeze in two ways.
The first method is by just freezing the uncooked unrolled dough – put the dough in a freezer-proof container and keep it for a month.
When ready to make chappati, thaw the dough by just leaving the container in the refrigerator. Do not thaw at room temperature.
Once fully thawed, knead the dough again using a little oil then make roti following the steps given below.
The second option is that roll out the rotis, stack them in a group of 4 to 6 with a wax or butter paper placed between each roti.
Wrap each stack with aluminium foil, then place in the freezer bag and squeeze out any air from the bag and seal it. Store no more than a month.
Whenever you want to cook the roti, you can directly cook frozen or thaw in the fridge then cook on a HOT NON-STICK PAN.
What to serve with Rotli?
Mainly, Rotis are served or paired with Indian curries and daals.
My favourite combo with roti is Sweetcorn and Peanut Curry or Dill sabji.
How to store leftover Chapatis
There is a special container you’ll see in every Indian household called ‘Garmo’. It is made of stainless steel. However to keep chapattis warm nowadays insulated containers have arrived in most of the kitchens.
On worktop– store chapatis in a container at room temperature for 8-10 hours.
Refrigerator – store in an airtight container and place in the fridge. They may harden a little so to re-heat, spread a little oil and warm on a non-stick pan or tavi on both sides.
Freeze it – allow roti to cool completely. Stack them in 6 placing wax or butter paper between each of them.
Then wrap the stack in an aluminium foil and place it in the freezer bag or big container.
Ensure that the rotis are laid flat so they don’t lose their shape.
Leftover chapati recipes
I can guarantee that in most households there are at least 1 or 2 leftover chapatis – leaving us with the question of what to do with them.
For a delicious sweet treat, why not try Churma Ladoo – recipe for leftover chapati ladoo is further down in the post.
Or for another fun and easy sweet treat, add some ghee or butter to a warm chapati and sprinkle some granulated sugar, then just roll up and eat!
Cut up into strips, deep fry and sprinkle salt and chilli powder – my grandma made this a zillions times for my Dad when he was little.
One of my favourite recipes is Rotli No Chevdo, which we love to devour with Mango Lime Lassi.
How to make Gujarati rotli step by step and video
Rotli variations we love:
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Soft and Round Gujarati Rotli
- 2 cup Wholewheat flour chapatti aata + some for dusting
- 1 tsp. oil
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tbsp Ghee optional
- In a big and wide plate (parat) place the flour.
- Add water little by little and bring the dough together.
- Once the flour is in one mass, knead into a soft and pliable dough.
- Cover the dough with the damp cloth for minimum 15 minutes.
- Knead the dough again for a couple of minutes, then add oil and knead it again.
- Divide the dough into equal size balls.
- Dip one ball in dry flour and make round chapattis by applying gentle pressure.
- While rolling the chapatti, heat the Tawa or pan on medium heat.
- Carefully lift the chapatti and put it on the heated tawa.
- Wait for 10-12 seconds or when the tiny bubbles appear to turn the chapatti another side by using a tong or your hands (if using hands please be careful not to tough the Tawa)
- Let the other side cook longer until brown spots appear (lift and check) it will take 40-45 seconds.
- Now using tong, lift the chapatti, remove the tawa from the flame carefully put the roti on the direct flame (check the video)
- Let the roti fully fluff up, if some reason it doesn’t do not let it burn but quickly take it away.
- Spread the ghee – optional
- Serve hot with curry.
If your vegan or following low-calorie diet do not use ghee. The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.
The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator/plugin. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.