Being bought up in a Gujarati family, phulka’s are part of our staple diet and like most Indian ladies; I make them almost every day. They are made for lunch and dinner every day, particularly in India and are served with any curry or lentil/dahl cuisine.
Phulka rotli is also known as “rotli” in Gujarati. Gujarati phulka’s are smaller in diameter and thinner than paratha’s, thepla’s and other Indian breads.
My mum and mother-in-law both make much thinner phulka’s compared to me. Over the years they have both gained the experience and the knowledge of making perfect soft phulka’s. No matter what texture the dough is, they manage to make perfect rotli’s.
I have learned how to make phulka rotli from my mum during half term week off from school. Every day she would supervise me making the rotli’s carefully, ensuring they were round and the correct thickness. I enhanced my own experience when my relatives came to stay with us for a year from India. Everyone would go to work, including my mum and I was responsible for preparing the evening meal for 10 family members.
I guess making perfect rotli’s is just a matter of experience, practice and knowledge. Once you practice enough, your rotli’s will start coming out perfect round and soft. From my experience, I can say that the earlier you are trained the better you become at the skill. I’m still developing my knowledge and experience because even now the rotli’s I make do not always turn out a perfect round.
Do not worry if you are making rotli for the first time. There are many factors that may go wrong and spoil your first batch, however, do not allow this to disappoint and discourage you. Regular practice will ensure your rotli’s will change shape from the map of India to the shape of the world.
I have written few tips for beginners on preparing and making soft phulka rotlis. Do check those tips.
How to choose and buy wheat flour to make phulka rotli.
The wheat flour used in making phulka rotli plays the most important part in determining the texture and softness of rotli. Choosing the right one is essential.
The wheat flour is ground from the whole wheat grain and there are several types of flour available. Coarsely grounded wheat flour is used to make crispy bhakhri. This type of flour is not suitable for making phulka rotli recipe.
In India, many women purchase whole wheat grains from market and makes the wheat flour at home using the small mill we have at home. This flour is perfect for making phulka rotli as it is ground especially for that purpose.
However, for those of us ladies living in the West, we are restricted to purchasing ready ground wheat flour many of which are imported from India. It is a good idea to purchase a known Indian brand of wheat flour like Asli atta, Elephant chapatti atta, Champion atta, Pilsbury atta etc. The rotli’s made from these ready ground flours also come out lovely and soft.
There are several different types of wheat or atta available. These include
Medium: provides a balance between white and wholemeal flour, it delivers the great taste of soft chapatti’s, whilst providing a good source of fibre. The is probably the most popular type of chapatti flour that is used.
Fine White: the whitest of chapatti flour. Although the fine white can be used to make soft fluffy chapatti’s, it is usually used for savoury cuisine such as chakri’s, ghughra, farsi poori etc.
Brown: contains more of the wholemeal goodness, whilst still delivering a soft and tasty chapatti. This can be used for making Indian sweetmeats such as chorma na ladva, lapsii, shiro etc.
Wholemeal: wholemeal is made from top quality wheat grains. The wholemeal flour contains the whole of the wheat grain making it the healthiest flour and full of fibre. This is a heavier flour but still makes soft rotli’s and lovely bhakhri’s.
Chakki Gold: is milled in traditional Indian stone ‘chakki’ mills and finely ground from 100% whole wheat into the tiniest, softest grains of flour. They make soft, fluffy and light rotli’s. Another popular choice for making rotli’s.
Self Raising Flour: produced with a special blend of good quality wheat flours, with addition of raising agents. It is traditionally used for making Naan’s.
Tips for beginners.
- Below are a few tips for beginners making rotli for the first time. I have put these together based on my own experience, knowledge and things I have learnt from my mum. I really hope these help.
- Always use hot or boiling water to add to the dough. This will assist in making the dough soft and smooth. Be very careful when putting this together. I always use a wooden spoon or the end of my rolling pin to mix the dough with the hot water.
- While kneading the dough, add little water at time and mix the water with the flour. Adding too much water too soon will make the dough too soft, runny and sticky making it difficult to handle later. Take your time to make the right texture for the dough.
- Adding oil helps in making soft rotlis so add 1 tablespoon of oil in the dough and mix well.
- Once the water has been absorbed by the flour, knead the dough hard as this will assist in making the dough softer, smoother and consistent in texture.
- Once the dough is ready it should not contain any cracks. It should look smooth, firm and soft. The dough should consistent, not too soft nor too hard. One way to check you have the perfect dough consistency is to poke your finger into the dough. It should be fairly easy to poke your finger into the dough. If it’s too easy, the dough is too soft if it’s hard the dough is too firm. When you pull it out, the dough should not stick to your finger and your finger should be dry with only a slight residue of oil.
- If you are making rotli for the first time then do not roll them too thinly. Allow them to be thicker for a denser texture as this will aid them to puff up during baking.
- Ensure the heat level if kept at a consistent medium level. Too high and they rotli’s will burn easily and become hard. Too low and they will be under cooked and heavy from the uncooked dough.
- While baking the rotli’s on a non-stick tawa/skillet gentle press on areas that appear undercooked. Do not overcook the rotli by repeated flipping.
- While rolling the rotli make sure you roll it evenly i.e. the thickness across the rotli should roughly be the same. Initially, do not worry about the shape of the rotli.
Ok here is the recipe.
Phulka Rotli (Whole Wheat Chapattis)
1 ½ to 2 cups or 300g of wheat ‘chapatti’ flour
250ml hot or boiling water or as required
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- Pour flour into a large mixing bowl and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Also at this point, put the tawa/skillet on the stove to slowly heat up at medium heat.
- Now add hot or boiling water. WARNING: DO NOT USE YOUR HAND TO KNEAD THE DOUGH AFTER ADDING THE HOT WATER. USE A WOODEN SPOON OR THE END OF YOUR ROLLING PIN TO KNEAD THE DOUGH SLOWLY.
- Keep kneading until the flour and water begin to combine into a soft firm dough.
- Once the dough has come together, add the remain 1/2 tablespoon of oil and knead the dough hard. This will make in smooth, soft and firm. Test the temperature of the dough before you use your hands to knead the dough.
- Divide the dough into a small lime size round balls, flatten slightly and roll in some flour. An optional step at this stage is one which my mum taught me while I was learning to make rotli. Roll the dough ball slightly; add a few drops of ghee and a pinch of wheat flour. Take the sides of the rolled out dough ball and pinch together to close and roll dough in wheat flour.
- Take a rolling board (patlo) and place the dough ball on it to begin rolling the rotli.
- Begin gently rolling the dough ball slowly, if the rotli sticks to the rolling board, dust some more wheat flour. Roll the rotli into 5-6 inches in diameter circular disc. The tawa/skillet will be hot enough to bake the rotli at this stage.
- Place the rolled rotli gently on to the hot tawa/skillet and bake for approximately 15 seconds or until small bubbles starts appearing on the uncooked side of the dough.
- Flip the rotli using spatula (tavitho) and bake on other side again for 15 seconds or until the bottom starts becoming light brown in colour.
- The rotli may at this stage begin to puff up to make the phulka. Not all rotli’s will puff up so do not be disappointed.
- Repeat the rolling and baking steps and make remaining dough balls.
- Take the phulka off the tawa/skillet and place it on a plate. Spread some ghee (clarified butter) on to the phulka rotli.
Delicious homemade phulka rotli is ready. Serve the phulka rotli hot with any vegetable curry, dahl, lentil & steamed rice.
Do let me know how your attempt was at making phulka rotli.