August 29, 2008

Jowar Roti (A Indian Sorghum Flatbread)

Printable version here.

The past week has been quite eventful for me. It all started on last Friday night. We were having guests for dinner on Saturday and it was my husband’s birthday on Sunday. I had planned to make a Black Forest cake (a favourite of his) but that story will keep for another post.

I was getting our dinner together on Friday night when a bee flew in through the kitchen window (yes, at night) and stung me on my upper eyelid. It took two visits to the doctor, an injection and some medication to get rid of the pain and swelling in my eye! The dinner guests were taken care of as my husband pitched in with the cooking and washing up.

That’s when our home computer succumbed to a viral infection and is now getting checked out by its doctor. Hope fully it shall recover by this weekend or else I’m in trouble. I might end up losing a lot of my pictures (don’t ask what I was doing by not backing them up) and am just hoping those guys looking into the computer will be able to recover everything for me. So I might not be making it to all your blogs very regularly till our machine comes home.

Today’s post is a Bread Baking Day post. This is one event I try not to miss and this month is no exception. This month’s BBD #13 is being hosted by Jude of Apple Pie, Patis and Pate and the theme is “100% Wholegrains”, so no refined flours but only whole grain flour to be used in baking bread. Other than whole wheat flour and oats, I’ve never tried using any other such flour in bread. A popular whole grain flour suggested in many bread books is rye, but this is not available here. I couldn’t really decide on what to bake when it struck me that a lot of our Indian flatbreads (such as rotis and bhakris) are made with whole grain flours like bajra (pearl millet), ragi (finger millet) and jowar (a type of sorghum) to mention a few.

Jowar Roti is an unleavened Indian flatbread which is made from Jowar, a grain similar to Sorghum. The flour is gluten-free and so making these rotis (chapattis) is not as easy as making whole wheat rotis/ chapattis. Despite not containing gluten, Jowar rotis are quite soft and have a somewhat nutty flavor. Traditionally, eaten for lunch or dinner with a dollop of unsalted home-made butter and garlic chutney, these rotis can be served with any vegetable “curry” or subzi.


2 cups Jowar flour (atta)

3 cups of water

½ tsp salt


Pour the 3 cups of water into a pan, add the salt and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Add the flour to the water and mix well with a spoon till the flour absorbs all the water and comes together as a ball of dough. Allow this to cool enough to be handled comfortably. Tip the dough onto your worksurface or a large plate and knead the dough by hand till soft and smooth (about 3 to 5 minutes).

Divide the dough into 15 balls. If the dough is sticky, lightly wet your hands with water before forming the dough into balls. Traditionally, these balls are flattened using wet fingers into very thin rounds, but this is a practiced art.

Instead, cut a piece of aluminium foil about 9” by 9”. Lightly grease the surface of the foil with a few drops of oil. Place this on your work surface and roll a ball of dough on the greased foil, using a rolling pin, into a round approximately 6” in diameter. Dust very lightly with some Jowar flour, if needed, while rolling out the dough. Keep the other balls of dough covered during this time.

Heat an iron griddle or non-stick pan. When hot enough, turn the heat down to medium. Place the foil with the rolled out dough on your left palm with the dough side facing down. Using your right hand, slowly peel off the foil so that the roti is resting on your left palm. Now flip the roti onto the griddle or pan. Sprinkle or spray the top of the cooking roti (this is done only on one side of each roti) to just moisten it.

When the roti looks cooked and starts developing brownish spots, turn it over so the other side can cook. Fold a clean kitchen towel into a pad and using this press down on the roti in short intervals, along the circumference and the middle. This ensures that the roti puffs up and also cooks well. This can be uncomfortably hot work if you are not used to it. You may do this using a spatula with a long handle.

Once the other side is also cooked, remove and keep aside. Repeat with the balls of dough. You may brush the top of each roti with unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter). If served very hot, the butter or ghee can be avoided.
I have served these rotis with Tomato Chutney and also Oil-free Kabuli Channa.

This recipe makes about 15 Jowar rotis.

Do check out what's been baking at The World In Our Oven.


Bharti said...

I luurve jowar roti. I really don't know why I don't make it at home. Most memories are associated with it being cooked at home when I was growing up. My hubby's mom serves it with garlic yogurt.

Bharti said...

How insensitive of me..I read your post and then got caught up in the roti. Just want to say 'I hope ur eye feels better soon" and ur computer too!

Divya Vikram said...

Healthy roti..and hope you are fine now Aparna.

Mona said...

Hope you are doing good by now!
I never loved Jowar roti, but didnt dislike them too. Your pictures are making me feel like having them. They look delicious!

DK said...

OMG! as they say - When it rains it pours! Getting bitten by a bee in my upper lip was total torture and now imagining on your eye lid is unthinkable. Hopefully the swelling has gone down and my wishes that ur comp will recover as well as you :)

Aaah! Jowar roti is a total indian treat and love it and a good idea to send it to BBD! Here i was thinking so hard and you made it with such classic ease :)

FoodyGuru (Srimathi) said...

Hi Aprana,

I did not think of Indian Roti when I read about the ingredients for the event. I was thinking bread. Its such a simple recipe. Will look to see if I can find rye and try the same recipe. Thanks for sharing.

jayasree said...

Getting bitten by a bee itself is a torture. Can't imagine how u managed with the bite on the eye lid. Wishing u a speedy recovery. Hope you get back all those pics too.

Roti looks so soft. I think making the dough with hot water helped.

Ivy said...

Yummy, this sounds great.

sra said...

So that's why you didn't post for a while - we have a huge beehive at home (an apt complex) and the past two years, we had it taken down as it was a hazard but this year, we've just let it bee - there are bees all over the place! Can't imagine how dangerous and painful that must have felt.

farida said...

This is one good looking bread. I love Indian flatbreads a lot, and I really want to try my hands at them one day:)

Jude said...

Another new grain I haven't tried yet. Looks so nice, chewy, and fluffy even without the gluten. Thanks for the tips on working with this flour!

Aparna said...

That's ok, Bharti. I'm fine now.

Jowar rotis are tastier,softer and fluffier than most gluten-free rotis, probably has something to do with the grain.
I'd say definitely give it a try.

zorra said...

I'm not familiar with Indian breads. Thank you for bringing me closer. I will try this recipe soon.