The Indian State of Rajasthan has a good variety of Roti, or flatbreads. This particular recipe is a bit of an improvisation, but it is named after the north-western state because it includes Ajwain Seed, which is widely cultivated in that region. This roti is actually a type of Paratha but it differs from the basic form used in my Simple Paratha Recipe in that a different technique is used to produce the characteristic flaky texture, and the dough is made with a blend of both wheat and chickpea flours.
A Note on the Ingredients
The dough for this particular Roti is made with a blend of Besan (also known as ‘Gram Flour’ or ‘Chickpea Flour’) and regular All-Purpose Wheat Flour. You can also use Indian Atta style Wholemeal Wheat Flour in place of the All-Purpose Flour, or, if you like, regular Whole Wheat Flour.
Both Turmeric (ground) and Methi (dried leaf) are fairly easy to source but if you have difficulty locating the Ajwain Seed you can simply omit it. Alternatively, you can use celery seed as a non-Indian, but still delicious substitute.
The Basic Method
To begin, you need to blend together all the ingredients except for the water. This can be done by hand but is much easier in a food processor. Just add everything into the bowl and pulse until a ‘mealy’ textured blend is formed.
Next, start adding water just a little bit at a time until a nice workable dough is formed. In a food processor, this will happen all of a sudden, with the mass forming a ball that spins around with the blades. As soon as this happens, stop adding water and remove the dough from the bowl. Knead the dough for several minutes, adding flour if necessary, and then let it rest, covered, for at least a half hour.
This recipe will produce eight good sized Parathas and you can begin by dividing the dough into eight portions and rolling these into small balls. Keep these covered so they don’t dry out as you work.
For each of these dough balls, first roll it out into a circle as thin, and as wide as you can, dusting the surface of your working area with flour as needed.
Now, brush the surface of the rolled-out circle with a thin film of oil and then, starting at one side, roll the circle up to form a cigar-shaped cylinder.
Next, curl the ‘cigar’ so it forms a spiral, or ‘snail-shell’ shape.
When you have formed all the Parathas, heat a griddle or Indian Tava over a medium flame and brush the surface lightly with oil. Throw on a dough circle and allow the topside to begin to form blisters across the surface. If these begin to balloon too much, press the top down with a spatula.
Cook until brown spots begin to form on the underside (peek if necessary) and then flip to cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining circles and keep warm, wrapped in foil, until ready to serve. If you wish, you can also save them for later and either eat them at room-temperature, or else simply re-heat in the oven, wrapped in foil, just before service.
Serving Rajasthani Roti
Parathas of any sort are terrific warm, straight from the griddle, with nothing else other than just a little butter, or perhaps some chutney. They also can be served as part of a more substantial meal.
In the above picture, Rajasthani Roti are served with a squid curry, and a spicy cabbage salad. The plate may not look that full but meal was actually very filling indeed.
Your Recipe Card:
- 1 cup plain White Flour plus extra for rolling;
- ½ cup Besan;
- 1 ½ tsp. Salt;
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil plus extra for rolling;
- 1 tsp. Turmeric;
- ¼ cup onion very finely chopped;
- 1 tsp. Ajwain Seed;
- 1 ½ tbsp. dried Fenugreek Leaf Methi;
- ½ cup of Water more or less.
- Mix together all the ingredients except the water and blend well.
- Begin to add water, a little at a time, to produce a workable dough.
- Knead the dough vigorously for several minutes and then let it rest, covered, for at least half an hour.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and form these into balls.
- For each Paratha, roll one dough ball out to a circle as thin, and as wide as possible, using extra flour as necessary.
- Brush the surface with a very thin film of oil and roll the circle up, cigar fashion, to form a long cylinder.
- Coil the cylinder into a spiral, or ‘snail-shell’ shape and roll this out to circle about 8 inches across.
- Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
- Heat a griddle, or Tava, over a medium flame and lightly brush with oil.
- Add a dough circle and cook well, turning once, and pressing down with a spatula as needed, until both sides are speckled brown. Remove and keep covered while the remainder are cooked.