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:
Flour for dusting
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.