Skip to main content

Learning To Prepare Rotis - A Memorable Incident

Vanita Thakkar is an Entrepreneur - an Engineer-Researcher-Consultant and an Artist - Singer-Composer-Poetess-Writer from Vadodara, Gujarat.

Making Roti is an art as well as science. Roti is a regular feature of Indian cuisine. Here are some interesting incidents and memories of how one of my friends Seema and I learnt making rotis ....

Fulka Rotis - part of regular menu in most Indian households ....

Fulka Rotis - part of regular menu in most Indian households ....

Do You Know How To Make Roti ?

My friend Seema was learning to make Roti - one of the most common preparations in traditional Indian cuisine. We were classmates in our secondary school and Seema's mother thought it was time for her daughter to learn how to make Roti.

Seema and I used to board our school-bus from the same bus stand, as we were staying nearby.

"Do you know how to make Roti ?", Seema asked me one morning, as we were waiting for the school-bus to arrive.

"Yes." I replied in brief.

Roti dough, wheat flour with salt and oil (optional) added to it, is kneaded with soft consistency and then, made into little balls for rolling it uniformly round with the help of a roller ....

Roti dough, wheat flour with salt and oil (optional) added to it, is kneaded with soft consistency and then, made into little balls for rolling it uniformly round with the help of a roller ....

My Ideal For Making Roti ....

I was curious and restless as a little girl. Seeing my mother and my elder cousins make Rotis with great expertise, I could not stop myself from learning the art. I would insist that I want to make Roti. My mother tried to see me off, as I was hardly eight years old then. But when she saw I wouldn't give up, she started letting me make the last 2-3 Rotis whenever I was around .... What started as curiosity and an urge to learn, soon became a regular household activity of love and responsibility.

Those were my early days of enjoying fairy tales and folk tales. In a Hindi book on Indian Folk Tales, I had read about a princess called Rajkumari Panchphoolaa, who would prepare delicious, thin and soft, fully puffed Rotis that would not weigh more than the weight of five flowers. Panch means five in Sanskrit and many Sanskrit-based Indian languages and Phoola means flower. With the ideal of Rajkumari Panchphoolaa so inscribed in my imagination, which still remains unparalleled as a yardstick, I had started learning to make Roti .... I have found the Roti prepared by Naagar families of Gujarat coming closest to that ideal - round, thin, soft, fully puffed and unstained Rotis, bringing out the art and science of Roti-making at its best ....

  • the right blend of ingredients and consistency of dough,
  • perfect round, paper thin rolling,
  • right heating of the pan and maintaining the right heating levels to ensure stainless or studded with light brownish golden dots, fully puffed round yummy Rotis that are smeared with Ghee and have the most inviting aroma ....
The rolled roti is cooked on Tawaa - a flat pan for making roti / chapati / paratha / pan cakes and other such varieties of Indian cuisine ....

The rolled roti is cooked on Tawaa - a flat pan for making roti / chapati / paratha / pan cakes and other such varieties of Indian cuisine ....

The Difficulties in Making Roti ....

"That's great !!" Seema was impressed.

"My mother wants me to learn making Roti. These days, every evening, she guides me with preparing the dough and then, I sit down to roll and cook the Rotis. I roll them into all known and unknown shapes, other than the required round ones ...." Both of us laughed and laughed as she tried to describe the shapes she could make out, with additions of our instantaneous imaginations to it ....

"Mummy is quite patient. She knows rolling round Rotis would require more time .... But she encourages me to her very best ....- my girl, you are doing so well !! .... I am proud of you !! .... Yes, yes, very good - stretch the Roti from edges .... hold the roller light, stretch from the edges .... "

" .... Vanita, I pop and swell, in and out, to my fullest, as my mother guides me with these encouraging words, but my Roti just doesn't puff up (ha, ha) .... my Roti simply refuses to puff (ha, ha) ...."

Adventures of Seema's Roti making were a great entertainment to us during those days. Making Rotis or seeing them being made sometimes still reminds me of those jokes, especially Seema telling me that even though she herself would puff and swell to her fullest, her Rotis would not puff at all (ha, ha ....)

Fulka Roti is puffed up by directly placing it on the flame or on a grill placed on the flame .... Other types of Rotis are puffed up on the Tawaa / pan itself ....

Fulka Roti is puffed up by directly placing it on the flame or on a grill placed on the flame .... Other types of Rotis are puffed up on the Tawaa / pan itself ....

Tarala Dalal's Recipe for Roti Making ....

  • Roti Recipe – Culinary Shades
    Roti, also known as chapati or phulka is an unleavened Indian flatbread made with stoneground whole wheat flour or atta. This is an easy roti recipe to make soft, sound and fluffy roti.

© 2022 Vanita Thakkar

Related Articles