Wholesome and hearty flatbreads are an essential and delicious component of a truly well balanced Indian meal. There are several different types and varieties specific to the various regions of India.
The Indian flatbreads can be divided into three basic categories: deep fried breads (such as pooris and bhaturas), pan or shallow fried breads (such as parathas) and lastly, dry breads (such as rotis, chapatis and naans). These breads are found typically in northern Indian cuisine. They are made mainly of wheat and can be served either plain or stuffed. The possibilities are endless! With a little creative imagination, Indian flatbreads can add a whole new dimension to an already wonderful meal.
South Indian cuisine also has its version of flatbreads known as dosas, uttapams and idlis. These breads are often made from combinations of rice flour and lentils and are equally just as delicious as they are nutritious.
For many people, the task of making breads can be a little daunting. But I can assure you that Indian flatbreads are definitely worth it. In fact, they are quite easy to prepare and require minimal work.
The simplest and most basic of all Indian flatbreads is the roti (or phulka). The recipe below is very easy and effortless. I encourage you to try making them; you will surely enjoy the outcome. Hot rotis are a wonderful and delicious part of any Indian meal.
ROTI RECIPE (Basic Indian Flatbread)
2 cups of whole wheat flour (atta)
1¼ cups of water, as needed
Keep aside a little all-purpose flour for dusting. In a large mixing bowl, gradually add the water to the whole wheat flour and mix well until you have a fairly stiff dough. The easiest way to do this is by using clean hands. Knead the dough until it yields a smooth texture and consistency. Cover with a slightly damp cloth and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
Knead the dough again and divide into 8-10 equal portions. Roll the individual portions into round balls (golf ball size). Take 1 round ball at a time and flatten it into a round disk using your palms. Dust your work area and rolling pin with a little bit of flour to prevent sticking. Gently roll the flattened ball into a circle, making sure the roti is even in thickness. Keep rolling until you have created a thin round roti approximately 6 inches in diameter.
Heat a large frying pan on medium heat, add a little butter (or even cooking spray may be used) and carefully place the roti in the pan. After a minute or so, turn the roti. Both sides should be golden brown. Brush with butter and serve hot with traditional Indian vegetables or curries. Enjoy!
For super soft rotis, add a little warm milk to the dough, just use 1 cup water and ¼ cup warmed milk.
Also, feel free to use multi-grain flour instead for a super healthy roti. To make "Besan ki Roti" (or chickpea flour rotis), simply use 1 cup besan (Bengal gram flour/dried chickpea flour) & 1 cup whole wheat flour (atta). Then follow the recipe as directed above.