Roti bread and Chapatis bread are apparently the most popular kinds of Indian bread. They are like flat pancakes that resemble thick Mexican tortillas. Like tortillas, they are cooked on a hot griddle and are best eaten right after they are made. Traditionally roti is made with butter. This recipe replaces butter with vegetable oil, the result is a vegan roti recipe that accompanies any curry perfectly.
A note on nomenclature:
There are three types of Indian flat bread that are commonly mixed up: Puris, Chapatis and Roti. All three of these breads are similar in that they are unleavened and cooked on a grill. They all begin with a flat pancake of dough on a grill. If you simply dry fry the flat bread its called Roti. If you are using whole wheat flour and you dry fry it's called a Chapati. Finally, adding some oil to the pan when cooking the dough will cause it to bubble up and take on more of a fried texture; this is called a Puris. The recipe on this page is for Puris, Chapatis and Roti, depending on what ingredients you use.
- 2.5 c. flour (whole wheat if desired)
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil (Use 2 tbsp if you plan to dry fry, ie make roti instead of puris)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. lukewarm water
1. Put 2 c. flour into a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix salt and 2 tbsp of oil into water. Add enough water, a little at a time, to flour mixture to make a firm (but not stiff) dough.
4. Knead dough in bowl for about 5 or 10 minutes. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
5. Divide dough into pieces about the size of walnuts. Roll each piece into a smooth ball with your hands.
6. Sprinkle remaining 0.5 c. flour onto a flat surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out each ball until it resembles a thin pancake, about 1/8 -inch thick.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place each puri in oil, one at a time. Using a spatula, carefully splash oil onto puris while frying. This will make puris puff up and will cook the top side of each one. Fry puris about 2 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Remove puris from skillet and drain on paper towels. Continue cooking puris, one at a time. Wrap the cooked ones in a towel to keep them warm. Lightly brush cooked puris with oil and serve warm.
To make roti or chapatis, cook each circle of dough in a skillet without oil. When small brown spots appear on the bottom of the dough and the edges begin to curl up (about 1 minute), turn the chapati over with a spatula. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.
Vegan Roti is excellent with any curry. The hearty flavor of the flat bread complements the strong and spicy flavors often associated with curries. Contrary to popular belief vegan roti can will keep in the fridge, covered, for a few days.