Roti (Buttery Indian Flatbread)

One morning last week I was rushing around trying to get Charlotte and myself out the door. We were late for playgroup, and directly after that we had several errands to run. I was trying to simultaneously dry my hair, feed Charlotte oatmeal, and measure 2/3 cup cocoa into a padded envelope (for the cookie ingredients that I was sending in the mail to my sister Laura for her birthday of course. Happy birthday Laura! I texted her when she received it to see if the sticks of butter I sent were salvageable. She didn’t respond. Oops.)

I finally had everything ready to go and in my arms: purse, diaper bag, Charlotte, perishable butter package, checks/stamps/envelopes for the utility bills I was planning to finish writing at playgroup (so classy), Laura’s birthday card (a very very crafty piece of folded cardstock complete with a decorative sticker that was going to be the height of tangible birthday congratulations until I ran out of creativity. I ended up writing “Happy birthday Laura” in fading permanent marker while sitting on the church gym floor at playgroup, after Charlotte had stolen and crumpled it several times. She’ll be framing that one.), and my keys. Wait, keys? Where are my keys? Nooooo!!!

After searching the entire house with a flashlight, I called Eric at work, exasperated. Check your pockets, you must have accidentally taken my keys. (I’m sure he could hear what I was really saying: This is all your fault. Sometimes I wonder why Eric puts up with me.) After he convinced me that he really didn’t have them, I dejectedly hung up and stared around my torn-apart house. Finally I decided to check my car. (Only after I fought the urge to grab my keys. How am I supposed to get in my car without the keys?)

So I took Charlotte with me down to the car, and there they were: sitting on the back seat in the unlocked car, fully visible from the window.

Sigh. At least we still have a car. And at least Eric got “I’m sorry” brownies later that day at work. I’m not entirely heartless.

This Roti flatbread is so delicious! I can’t get enough of it. It is really good by itself, but it is amazing when served with a saucy Indian dish, like this Chicken Tikka Masala I just posted, or this Indian Ginger Chicken. It’s perfect for sopping up extra sauce. This recipe is super easy. It can be made ahead of time and re-heated in the microwave with good results. Use lots of butter! You only live once!

Roti (Buttery Indian Flatbread)

Source: adapted from

Makes 6 Roti.

2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (I have used both and can’t tell the difference)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup water
lots more butter, for frying

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together flour and salt. Add melted butter and mix in with a fork until flour is crumbly. Mix in water until the dough pulls together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (I do all this in my stand mixer.) Cover and set aside for 45 minutes. (I have tried this with and without resting the dough and cannot tell a difference.)

Divide dough into six equal parts. Form each part into a round. Roll out each round as thinly as possible; dust with flour if necessary to keep from sticking. (You seriously want to roll these out super-duper thin. Another tip: do not roll these out all at once and stack them with wax paper in between. It will stick to the wax paper and then you will want to tear your hair out. If you want to roll them all at once, spray wax paper with nonstick-spray, then stack.)

Mmm look at them bubbles.

Set a griddle to high heat, or if you are using a frying pan, set the stove a couple notches above medium heat. When the pan is hot, use a spatula to spread about a half teaspoon or so (eyeball it) of butter on the pan. The butter should melt immediately. Transfer very thin roti dough to the pan. Wait about 6 or 7 seconds, then flip the roti over. You may need to add more butter; if there is not enough, the roti will not be soft. Roti will cook in 30 to 50 seconds. You will know it is done when light brown spots appear on the side that is cooking. Flip the roti back to the original side (using more butter) just until the brown spots appear.


7 thoughts on “Roti (Buttery Indian Flatbread)

  1. Ok, I have to ask – why were you sending Laura cocoa and butter through the mail for her birthday? I don’t get it. It’s not like she lives in a third-world country without butter and cocoa.

    And the Roti look a lot like Naan. What’s the difference? They look delicious and they look like naan only round instead of long and oval.

    I hear you on the keys, only I usually leave mine in the door so burglars and theives can just walk right in. Kind of me.

  2. I was sending her ingredients to make a specific cookie recipe. Those particular cookies are very delicate and if I had made them they would have been demolished by the time they arrived. I always send my siblings cookies on their birthday, and since I couldn’t send her the ones I wanted, I sent her the ingredients instead! Genius. Maybe.

    And Roti is a lot simpler than Naan. Naan is basically bread (with yeast and eggs) that is fried. Roti has no rising agent, so it is truly flat. They serve the same function when eating Indian food, but they definitely taste different.

  3. Sorry, I must have answered that text in my head instead of via a text back to you. I do things like that sometimes. I’ve also had key mishaps – both in the unlocked car, in my front door, and locked in my car that caused me to be parked in a stupid apt. complex’s lot past too late, thus getting a boot on my car. Oh yeah!

    PS, I made the cookies (and the butter was the perfect creaming temperature) and they are, of course, fabulous. THANK YOU!!!!!

  4. once in college i bought groceries for a luncheon at church. i unlocked the passenger side and started loading bags into the car, but my keys were getting in my way so i reached over and stuck them in the ignition. this was a new car, and i had trained myself well to always lock the door, so when i finished, i pushed down the button…and as i slammed the door shut i suddenly started yelling and doing a funny little ‘i-just-locked-my-keys-in-the-car’ dance. at least i knew right where they were!

  5. Pingback: Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani) | The Food Charlatan

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