Pakistani Roti Part 3: Shaping and Cooking the Roti

Hello Friends! I’ve been traveling the past several days so I apologize for the sporadic posting and funny text that was in the middle of this post (thanks, Mom, for catching it!). It’s all cleaned up now. In case you missed the first two posts in the Pakistani Roti series, check ‘em out:

roti dough

1. Remove your roti dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes so that it is easier to roll out. If you leave the dough in the fridge for more than 2 days, it may take on a gray cast. Don't worry--it's still edible. Just think of it like apples browning when they are exposed to air.

 

pan

 

2. Meanwhile, prepare a heavy pan. Drizzle the pan with olive oil, swirl it around and turn the pan on medium.

blog 28

3. Prepare a clean surface on which to roll out the roti. You'll also need a rolling pin and some flour.

roti balls with golf ball

4. Pull off chunks of the dough and roll into a ball slightly larger than a golf ball. 2 cups of flour will yield about 6-8 rotis.

dough balls in flour

5. Drop the dough balls into your bag or bin of flour and roll them around until they are well-coated in flour and look like Christmas snowball cookies.

dough disks

6. Flatten the dough balls into disks.

rolling dough 1

7. Now roll the dough disk into a circle. If you're just starting out, try rolling the disk forward and back three or four times.

rolling dough 2

8. Then turn the dough 90* as shown in the photo above and continue rolling forward and back 3 or flour strokes. While this method of moving the dough 90* every few strokes isn't the quickest, it may help build your confidence in rolling out a decent circle. Flour your work surface and rolling pin as needed.

roti circles

You can either roll out all your dough circles at once and then cook them or if you are a fast roller, you can roll them as you cook the previous roti.

roti on pan 1

9. Now it's time to cook the roti. If the roti has excess flour on it, either brush it off or remove the excess flour by slapping the roti between your hands. When the pan is hot but not smoking, carefully place the roti on the pan. Once you put the roti on the pan, DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE IT! Just let it be.

roti in pan 2

10. Don't touch or turn the roti for at least 1 minute. Once you see little air pockets rising in the dough you can flip the roti over.

roti in pan 3

This roti has just been flipped. Notice how it is lightly browned like a tortilla.

roti in pan 4

11. With a clean kitchen towel, begin pressing down on the surface of the roti, rotating the roti in the pan as you press down. Pressing down not only ensure that the roti cooks thoroughly, but it also promotes the formation of air pockets between the top and bottom layers of the roti.

roti in pan 5

In this photo you can see how the roti is puffing up like a pita--this is good! Keep pressing down on the surface of the roti to promote as much ballooning as possible.

roti in pan 5

12. Resist the temptation to flip the roti more than three times. The more you flip the roti, the less it will rise and the less pliable it will be. When the roti no longer looks raw but looks cooked, it is done! Don't keep it on the pan too long or it will become crisp. Timing is everything!

ghee

13. When you take the roti off of the pan, give it a good schmear of ghee. Ghee is clarified butter--butter which has been heated and had the milk solids removed. This particular ghee is incredibly aromatic and tempting with its nutty, sweet smell.

roti

14. Wrap the roti in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm while you finish cooking the other rotis. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Roti dough

Olive oil

Flour for dusting

 

Tools:

A rolling pin

A heavy pan or griddle (or better yet, a Tava)

Two clean dish towels

 

Shape and Cook the Roti

1. Remove the roti dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter for at least 10 minutes for maximum ease in rolling out the dough. You can use the dough straight from the fridge, but you’ll be fighting the dough with your rolling pin.

 

2. Heat a large frying pan on medium-low heat. Drizzle a little olive oil on the pan and use a paper towel to wipe it over the entire surface. We use a heavy cast iron pan.

 

3. Place a bag or bin or bowl of flour near your rolling surface.

 

4. Pull off a golf-ball sized piece of dough. If you want to be really precise, 50 grams of dough yields a medium-sized (a.k.a. breakfast-sized) roti while 65 grams yields a larger (dinner-sized) roti.

 

5. Drop the ball of dough into the flour and turn to coat. It should look like you are making Snowball Christmas cookies and they are covered in powdered sugar. Continue until all the balls of dough are floured. Slightly flatten the balls of dough with your palm to make a disc.

 

6. Roll the discs into thin, tortilla-like circles. Rolling a circle takes practice, so don’t get discouraged. I roll it 3 or 4 strokes in one direction and then 3 or 4 strokes in the perpendicular direction. I also pick up the roti and move it around so it’s easier to roll in whatever direction I’m rolling and to make sure it isn’t sticking to the surface. An expert roti roller, however, would be able to roll out an impressive circle in a few strokes and not even move the roti around the counter.

 

7. The pan should be fairly hot right now, but not smoking. If there is any flour clinging to the roti, pick it up and slap it between your two hands to remove excess flour. Again, don’t be shy to slap that roti. If you go to a Pakistani restaurant, you’ll hear the familiar slap of the chef removing the flour from the roti.

 

8. Carefully place the roti on the pan. DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE IT! Let it sit on the pan for about a minute. You’ll see bubbles start to form from the underside of the roti. This is good.

 

9. Once the bubbles start forming and the roti begins looking less translucent, flip the roti onto the other side using your fingertips or a kitchen towel.

 

10. Grab a clean dishtowel, fold it several times to make it thicker and then begin pressing down on the surface of the roti, rotating the roti around the pan. As you do this, you’ll notice that the roti begins to puff up like a pita—this is good. Try to encourage the roti to puff up by manipulating where you hold the dishtowel. Be careful, though, because sometimes steam will rise from a small hole in the roti and that can burn you.

 

11. After about 30 seconds, flip the roti back to the other side and press down with the towel to finish cooking the second side. The roti should be golden brown, cooked through (no raw-looking areas) and pliable (that’s the trickiest part!).

 

12. When it is done, wrap the roti in another clean towel and continue cooking the other rotis.

 

After about a minute, flip the roti over. Grab a clean dishtowel, fold it several times and then begin pressing down on the surface of the roti, rotating the roti around the pan. As you do this, you’ll notice that the roti begins to puff up like a pita—this is good. Try to encourage the roti to puff up by manipulating where you hold the dishtowel. Be careful, though, because sometimes steam will rise from a small hole in the roti and that can burn you. After about 30 seconds, flip the roti back to the other side and press down with the towel to finish cooking the second side. The roti should be golden brown, cooked through (no raw-looking areas) and pliable (that’s the trickiest part!). When it is done, wrap the roti in another clean towel and continue cooking the other rotis.

 

3 Thoughts on “Pakistani Roti Part 3: Shaping and Cooking the Roti

  1. Oyumoyumoyumoyum!! Thanks for sharing this and the other Indo-Pak series posts, I’m extremely stoked to try this out for myself in short order! Perfect descriptions, it looks like a flawless account of each step :)

  2. Very nice and prouded to see my Pakistani Roti……… Thanks for a beautiful post….

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