Whole Wheat Indian Bread(Roti or Chapati)

A typical Indian meal is well-balanced and healthful since it consists of whole wheat bread (roti) , vegetable dish or meat dish, lentils curry (dal) and some rice.  Rotis are made at home in every Indian household (at least it used to be until modernization hit India along with everyone else!) Rotis are usually made fresh right before a meal. The best way to have rotis is to have steaming hot rotis straight from the stove onto our plates. In my house, roti making is a partnership usually where I am rolling the rotis and my husband cooks them on the stove and in twenty minutes flat we have 20 flat rotis!  Our son loves to eat it plain when its steaming hot.

Making Rotis is not a very ardous task once you do it  a couple of times.  The difficult part initially is to get the dough right – it should not be too sticky or too tight, but just the right soft consistency.  This will come with practice. And then rolling it into a nice round shape is also tricky but that also is dependent upon the consistency of the dough. If the dough is right , then rolling it also becomes easy. Again, a little practice is all you need.

This recipe will make about 20 rotis


Whole Wheat flour 3 1/2 cups

salt  3/4 tsp

Olive Oil  1 tsp plus 1/2 tsp

Water 1 cup plus between 4 to 6 tbsp

1/4 cup whole wheat flour (for dusting and rolling the dough)


1. Take a large mixing bowl.  Add the flour to it and the salt and oil as well.


2. Now add first 1 cup of water to it and use your hands to mix the water with the flour . The mixture will be sticky at this point but still not sticky enough to form a ball.


3. Next slowly add (and this is the tricky step so add water very little at a time) 1 tbsp of water at a time till the dough gets further moistened and pliable.  If the dry still feels hard and dry at places, that means it needs more water.  So you will need between 4 and 6 tbsp of water  and when the dough is soft and it comes together and you are able to knead it without it sticking to your hands, then its done.  You can add the additional 1/2 tsp of oil at the end just to remove any stickiness and make the dough smooth.  Now keep the dough covered for about  15 -30 minutes or so.


4. Before starting to roll the rotis, place a shallow pan (non stick or otherwise) on the stove and start the heat.

5. After the dough has rested a little, it becomes even more smoother to work with and now form small balls (ping pong ball size) from it.   Take a plate and add the extra flour to it. Now dip the balls into the flour on the plate and then press the ball to form a flat round and start rolling it to form a thin circle.  Try to roll the roti as thin as you can using extra flour to dust the roti as you continue to roll it.



6. Now immediately take the roti and place on the heated pan on the stove. At this point the heat should be on medium. Wait for about 20 seconds and then flip the roti using a flipper. Wait for another 15 seconds and after that you can do one of two things:


A)If you have a gas stove, then you can take the pan out of the burner and use a pair of tongs to place the half-cooked roti directly on the flame. The roti should inflate like a balloon. Then turn again to the other side and transfer after 5 seconds to a plate or a container.


B) If you have an electric stove, then you will just continue cooking on the same pan flipping it back and forth a couple of times till both sides have a few small brown dots on them which will indicate that they are cooked well.

7. You can apply some butter or ghee onto the roti while its hot.


1.While you are making the dough, if you feel the dough has become too sticky – don’t panic. Just add a little more flour and continue the process after all you just need to get the right balance of flour and water.

2. When you cook the rotis on the pan, make sure you don’t cook them for too long than necessary otherwise they will become hard (like pappadums!)

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0 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Indian Bread(Roti or Chapati)

      1. Yes, I am looking for food that I can carry while hiking and working in 100F + heat. The citrus dressing looks like it might survive. Before I got told “no more white stuff” I carried pasta salads with a vinegar dressing when I worked in the field.

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