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the secrets of rotis and indian breads?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I need to know how to make big soft durable and wrap able and delicious west indian or east indian style rotis, and dal puris and prathas.

I am experimenting with butter, gee and oil and crisco

white flour, chapati flour and white and whole spelt flour

i assume i need to satay away from bread flour right?

what are the scientific processes behind roti making?

what ensures a thin even roti or a thin filling of ground split peas

and a roti that is soft, pliable, delicious and not tough or crunchy?

I would also like to know about the dough, can it be kept overnight if it is a baking powder or yeast dough

what if it has both

how do the additions of milk and eggs into the dough affect longevity?

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 20
This is about the extent of my roti knowledge, but everythign I've tried from Rasa Malaysia has worked out well.

Roti Jala and Malaysian Curry Chicken Recipe | Asian Recipes and Cooking
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 20
I have made rotis before....wayyyy too fact my left eye is starting to twitch just thinking about it.

Rotis actually require a special's almost like a white cornmeal in texture....very strange. I can't remember the name of it right now but I'll see if I can find my formula to send to you.

My boss at the time had just come from a month in India so I tested a batch for him first to make sure what I was doing was authentic.

You don't need yeast for rotis..or baking powder. The rotis will puff up when you do your first dry fry...and again on your second fry. Then you hit them with ghee and they are good to go.

Anyway....I'll have to do some research for you....I'll try to get the info to you tomorrow if I am able. There is a video on Youtube that gives you a roti formula and a's really good. I'll try to track that down too.

I hope you have strong arms and a strong're going to need it if you're going to make lots of these. I made 1000 a night for four the end of the week there wasn't a part on my body that didn't hurt.

You don't need eggs or milk....rotis are actually a very, very simple mixture. Neither will affect its longevity. And both will interfere with its delicateness. You want them light and fluffy not cakey.

By the way--I FINALLY found my formula for truffeltorte and brought it home--do you still need it?
post #4 of 20
Here is my formula and method for rotis:

2 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup of lukewarm water

Combine all ingredients and knead until they form a soft wet dough. Cover and allow to rest for up to two hours. Break off pieces approximately the size of a golf ball and roll out to the thickness of a tissue. Fry in dry hot cast iron pan until puffed and lightly golden. Brush with ghee (or ask your ghee guy to do it!) and serve.

We fried them twice. Once an hour before service and then just before sending out.

Another tip....flour them well before stacking them in a pile to be fried....I did up about 250 and then went and fried them off. They will stick together like crazy and you'll never get them apart if you don't flour them well.

We got the flour from a specialty store. It's a very unique flour....if you can't get it I'd use regular old AP.

Let me know if I can be of more help to you.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
thank you, please tell me what kind of flour you use!
post #6 of 20
I don't have a brand name....all I know is it is called white whole wheat flour. Best thing you can do is call a specialty market...they'll know what you are looking for.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Amazing info friend. Thank you very much. yes i would love the truffletorte recipe. And I am looking forward to learning more about the roti! I have many questions I want to ask you but I think first I should get a hand at making them a few times, so please give me flour recommendations. and A good basic method for making. Do I knead the "indian way?" using knuckles and or palms to gradually incorporate drops of water into the dough?
post #8 of 20
I found the name...I found the name!!!! YAY--I am so happy!

It is called Atta flour.

You want a low gluten flour for rotis so stay away from bread flour at all costs. Use all purpose if you can't find atta...but do NOT use pastry or cake flour.

The method for the roti dough is in the formula I posted. I'd just mix it together like I would a biscuit dough and then leave it to rest for the two hours. I often only waited for thirty minutes before rolling and shaping but longer is better if you want to save on your back and arms. You'll find the dough is easy to work with and very forgiving....if it's too wet add a bit more flour...if it's too dry add a bit more water. But no need to add your water in droplets. Mix your dry ingredients then add your water and mix gently. That's it.

Then portion out into golf ball sizes and roll out to tissue paper thinness. I liked to have a little plate beside me as a guideline...for my first few go arounds I would cut the roti the size of the plate...but after about three or four you'll get the hang of it and won't need the plate any more.

Then you're good to fry them. If you are using these for sandwiches I would fry them once...and then again just before filling them IF you want them served hot. If you make them ahead of time--keep them in a paper bag and they'll be fine for a day or so.

Anyway...glad to help if I am able.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
yes this is a huge help.

So fry on a tawa with no ghee and brush with ghee when a side is done?

I will start experimenting and get back to you after I have flower and a tawa.

Are these rotis very pliable and fit for folding up and eating with curries or wrapping up with a filling? they sound thin, which is good.

Did u use an indian rolling pin?

What kind of surface did u roll the dough on and how did u transfer the rolled roti to the tawa?

Yes i need to make them ahead of time i think, unless it is feasible to make them to order.. do you think this is feasible?
post #10 of 20
I just used a flat cast iron skillet for mine. Worked like a charm.

I used a regular old fashioned rolling pin.

Rotis are pretty easy to make...and fairly really don't need a bunch of fancy tools, etc. Just use what you have.

No ghee until just before service. So you heat your pan up very hot with just a tiny bit of oil wiped on with a paper towel prior to heating then plop your roti in--at this point it is much like an uncooked tortilla. You'll need a spatula and tongs. As your roti puffs you need to gently push down the puffy areas to allow the rest of the roti to puff. When you start to see light brown spots on the bottom and the roti is puffy it is time to flip it. It won't take long to cook on either side. Once cooked if you are going to serve it immediately THEN hit it with ghee...otherwise let them cool and slip in a paper bag. You will then need to quickly reheat it in the pan using the same technique prior to service. So no ghee until you are ready to serve it...and no ghee between flips. It's unnecessary.

Yes, the rotis are very pliable. Soft and slightly fluffy but thin. We brushed them with ghee and then folded them in half and then in half again and then sent them out as an app prior to the first course.

I rolled the dough out on a stainless steel assistant used my butcher block for his. You'll find the uncooked rotis are pretty durable...I just put them on a plate..made sure they were well floured and stacked them on top of eachother. When I got about 250 done I either sent them off for my assistant to fry and kept on rolling or went and fried them myself. You get into a real rhythm with them.

If there are two of you then yes, these can be done to order. My recommendation is make them then do one fry to cook them. Then reheat them to order. They are best that way.

Hope this helps.
post #11 of 20
Too bad you didn't live close could come to my shop and I'd give you a lesson.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I wish I lived close by! Thanks a lot. Im going to try and find someone in town to help with some lessons. We have indian stores around so I think I can find the flour. IT always seemed to much like whole wheat flour however, not soft enough, but I probably was not doing it right....
post #13 of 20
This flour is hard to's not really's like a finer grained white cornmeal. Killer on the will dry the ratsnot out of them. By the end of the four days mine were cracking and bleeding.

Be careful with recipes on the internet...that's what my boss did...he googled one and gave it to me and it turned out to be total crap. I had to do alot of research to come up with a proper recipe. Sometimes simpler is better...three simple, cheap ingredients=big time profit for you. Well....except for the man hours......
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you.
post #15 of 20

I see you so interested in making roti, look you really dealing with the unknown, and you cannot trust advise on the Internet. this person advising you this so called attar is nonsense, these indians and what not can say anything they like just to add further confusion. Its clear they don't like the idea westerners to know their secrets on roti making. they be the last I would ask. Hey we live in the world of knowledge, there's a scientific explanation its not magic or mystic. I went through experience like you 20 years ago after coming back from Penang ,Malaysia. Busting my head trying to get answers.

Indians and pakis were just telling me crap and leading on the wrong path. First of all not all indians are the same. They have their own name version of flour for roti making. Example here  indians from india are different from indians in Malaysia and Singapore, trying to get some information out of them is like listening to poetry which is far from truth. So I embarked on my own research. Here in Australia the flour that worked for me in roti making is so called 'sharp' flour as known to Fiji indians. its very elastic, because of the high gluten. So its high gluten flour is what you need, if you go  to an indian shop and ask for sharp flour, if they don't have it, don't seek their advise they will lead astray as usual, just  go to western bakery, at least they will be truthful and helpful. So its the gluten, they dont tell you that because their tradition was handed down from the dark ages, and many of them are still live like that today with crab mentality. So use the scientific approach like I did and you be ahead of them. Me I make money selling my penang roti and curry I learnt myself, and I am a proud westerner, ha ha ha.

post #16 of 20

Hey chalkdust,


I'm Indian, and I stand by everything chefelle said, he/she actually explained it pretty well!


Though I have to agree with one point Vittoriobravo made, that there are a LOT of variations on this, every part of the country makes it slightly different.

post #17 of 20

Asvanika, stated the variations are many.

In the Caribbean we have a roti which is with yellow split peas in the pocket and bake which is what you are makeing as a fried dough.  We also do this with very little oil on a steel plate or in a large flat skillet.  Below is the link and a copy from that link on how to make the roti.  The four is not as important as mixing the flour to the right texture - soft without a lot of air. 

hope you enjoy this different flavor. 

Search Results | 'how to make roti'that night that reminded us of Caribbean Pot on Facebook

Posted in VegetarianComments (140)

Buss Up Shut Roti Made Easy!

Buss Up Shut Roti Made Easy!

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 30There’s been emails, Facebook wall messages and tons of comments from avid readers who are all interested in learning how to make one of the most popular roti on the islands. As I’ve mentioned in the past, our cuisine is heavily influenced by the many cultures that make up the cosmopolitan islands of the Caribbean, especially Trinidad and Tobago. When most people outside the Caribbean think about roti, they immediately associate it with being Indian, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating any “Indian” influenced food from the Caribbean… you’ll know that we took their idea and perfected it :) Not just Indian food, but the same can be said for Chinese as well. Over the years we’ve taken these wonderful ways of preparing foods and added a unique tropical twist to it and it’s become part of our culinary heritage. Don’t take my word for it… go into any Caribbean restaurant if you live outside the Caribbean and order any of their curry dishes and you’ll ‘taste” what I mean.

Personally this is my all-time favourite roti so when I make it, it’s usually done in batches so I can freeze some for days I don’t feel like cooking.. The recipe below will make 6 fairly large buss up shut roti. You have the option of placing (portion size) in freezer lock bags and freezing any leftovers. They can last up to 2 months and all you have to do is pop them (in the bag) into your microwave and heat on high for 50 seconds, then flip and nuke for another 40 seconds and they’ll be pretty close to the day they were originally made.

You’ll Need…

5 cups of flour (all purpose)
3 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups of water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (to work into dough)
mixture of 1 tablespoon margarine and 5 table spoon vegetable oil

You’ll also need (for cooking)
- tawa or non stick skillet (frying pan)
- 2 wooden spatula
- pastry brush (grab a cheap 1 inch paint brush from the dollar store)
- rolling pin

* I’ll try to explain each step as best as I can with pictures, so you may find that this page will take a bit longer than usual to load. It’s due to the number of pics I have to include. Additionally, I’ll update the FaceBook fan page as well as the Youtube Channel  with a video showing how to work the dough properly, so you can log on there to check it out as an added resource.

Start by getting the base dough ready. In a large bowl add the flour, salt and baking powder. Then add the water (add 2 cups first and add as needed) and knead. If you have a good food processor you can use that as well. After you’ve got a solid dough ball (large) add the 1 table spoon of oil and knead again. This entire kneading process should not take more than 5 minutes. Now cover the bowl with the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 1


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 2


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 3


Now that the dough is rested, we’ve got to separate the dough into the size we’ll need for each roti. Break the big dough ball into 6 even-sized balls (keep some flour handy to dust your work surface and hands to prevent sticking). All you’re doing is breaking into 6 pieces, then go back and work into a well rounded ball as in the pictures below.


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 4


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 5

In a small bowl, place the margarine and 5 table spoons of oil and mix together (the margarine must be soft). Now take one of the small balls we just created and get ready to work a bit more. Dust your surface with flour and roll out into a full circle (the size of your tawa … about 10-12 inches in diameter), flip and roll as needed to form a complete circle. The next step is to use a knife and cut from the middle out … a straight cut (see pic below). Then using your fingers or brush, dip into the oil/ margarine mixture and rub onto the rolled out dough (lightly). Then we’ll take up one of the cut ends and start rolling in a clock-wise direction to form a roll (sort of log). As you come to the end of the roll, pinch the edge so it sticks together. Then using your fingers (refer to pic below and video mentioned above) press to tuck in both ends and place back onto the counter surface. Gently tap down onto the ball of dough to flatten a bit and set aside. Do the same for the remaining 5 dough balls.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 9


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 6


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 7


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 8


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 10


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 11


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 12


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 13


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 14


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 15


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 16


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 17


Again cover with plastic wrap so it’s somewhat air tight and allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Typically, for best results I’d allow it to rest for about 4 hours. The step above will give you layers that buss up shut is so famous for and by adding the oil/margarine layer before we rolled it, it will have that sort of silky pastry-like texture. I’ve tested using butter, but I find that using margarine gives better results. Traditionally, I believe some people use ghee (clarified butter), but I’m quite happy with the results I get from the oil/margarine combo I use.


Let’s get to finally cooking now. (after the dough is full rested)

- place the tawa on medium/high heat and brush a layer of the same oil/margarine mixture we made earlier onto it

- dust your work surface with flour and roll out one of the dough balls we had resting

- make a complete circle to fit the size of the tawa or pan that you’re using., then place onto the now hot tawa

- brush the top (uncooked surface) with some of the oil mixture

- cook for about 25 seconds, then flip and brush this side with the oil now .. cook for another 25 seconds or so.

- flip one more time and cook until you get a sort of light golden colour happening on both sides (about 1 minute or so)

- take the 2 wooden spatulas and crush the now cooked roti (see the action in the pics below)

- repeat the process for the remaining 5. Brush tawa with oil, place rolled out dough, brush with oil, flip, brush with oil..flip a couple times more .. then beat with spatula.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 18


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 19


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 20


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 21


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 22


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 23


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 24


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 25


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 26


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 27


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 28


Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 29


That’s it! You’re done. Place onto a paper towel and wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. If you leave it open for too long, it may go a bit stiff and loose it wonderful “silky” texture.

Some of you may be asking what’s with the name “Buss Up Shut”. It’s due to the  finished texture of the roti. Basically we’re comparing it to a torn or ripped shirt. So buss up shut is our island dialect or accent at work.

So what is a tawa? It’s basically a flat steel  round pan that’s used to cook roti on the stove top. You can also search online for chapati tawa if you’re looking to purchase one. A stove top skillet or large non-stick frying pan works just as well.

TIP! If you find that “beating” the roti on the stove is difficult, simply place a kitchen towel into a large bowl and drop the cooked roti into it and with tongs (it will be hot) repeat. By dropping it, it will get to the right finished texture as if you “beat” it on the stove with the 2 spatulas. You don;t have to be gentle.. beat that roti!


I really hope you give this a try as not only is it very simple to make, it’s one of the best roti you’ll ever eat. Growing up I was intimidated by the prospect of making this, but Ive learn that it’s very simple to make, as long as you follow the stops I outlined above.


Please leave me you comments below.happy cooking 

post #18 of 20
Hey! To make best rotis like in India. You have to buy flour at the Indian store. Brand name is Asharbyadh or golder temple brand. I am from India and when I 1st tried making chapatis from Walmart or publix flour, believe me it was hard as a rocks. It took me several months to figured out. But if you make parathas with oil or ghee you can use pastry flour. Good luck.
post #19 of 20

Couple notes: "roti" is a generic term in India for skillet-made flatbreads and includes a wide variety of different breads, so it's hard to generalize too much.  Puris and parathas are fried...


Chapatis, which is what some folks above are discussing, are made with atta, which is a nice soft tasty low-gluten whole-wheat flour.  Indian stores sell it, and as with any whole wheat flour try to buy it from a place with high sales volume, because it has a little fat content that can turn rancid.  Atta is used for a number of other kinds of rotis, and you can actually use it in a lot of things.


But chapatis are not "durable," which is why you make them fresh -- they are "pliable, delicious" for about five minutes after they come off the tava.  If you want "big soft durable and wrap able" as the OP asks for, you are probably going to need more fat content.


In any case, this is a huge area.  Let me suggest a couple of books: Purobi Babbar's _Rotis and Naans of Inidia_ is a great collection of recipes, including rotis using different flours like corn or sorghum.  The regional variety is staggering.  And Alford and Duguid's _Flatbreads and Flavors_ is a fun global collection.

post #20 of 20

the key is to cook them at very high heat....medium heat causes them to become too dry from inside


the sign of a perfectly cooked roti is when it starts bloating up like a hot air balloon



i specialise mainly in indian me if u have any further questions

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