Indian Essentials: An Introduction to Roti Flatbread


Roti is eaten by about 40 million Indians a day! How can that many people be wrong? Roti forms the staple diet in the northern and central parts of India, where the most common grain is wheat. Hence the word roti is commonly used to refer to a bread made from ground wheat flour, although it can be made from a variety of grains.

The word Roti is a generic term for a bread made with a grain, salt and water, and includes parathas, chapattis, pooris, khakhra, and makkai-ki-roti. There are over 100 varieties in India, with each region laying claims to its own version of roti.

The most popular roti in India is the chapatti, which is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Parathas are also made from atta, a wheat flour, but are enriched with the addition of butter or ghee, which makes it quite flaky. In the West of India, the most common grain is Bajra, and so that region’s roti is called Bhakri. In the east it is called Dhakai paratha, In the Punjab, the common grain is corn, so it is called Makkai-di-roti.

Intro to Roti Flatbread

Although roti can be purchased at your Indian grocery, the best roti are home made. They are made with the smallest amount of water possible, and then kneaded by hand until the dough is soft, smooth, and pliable. The dough is then rolled out evenly and thin, using the smallest amount of flour for dusting the counter. It is cooked on cast iron and then finished over an open flame to get a little charred flavour. 100% chakki atta (stone ground whole meal flour) is the best flour to use.

Roti are perfectly suited to dry curries like potato, green beans and cauliflower etc., which compliment the flavour of the roti.


Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series.  You might like to browse our Indian Essentials series here. Check out our easy Bread recipes here and here.

browse some of the other Ingredient information




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