Ari Pathiri – A Gluten Free Flatbread Made With Rice

Ari Pathiri

This is  Ari Pathiri – the  soft  as  feather rice flatbread.  This  gluten free  bread  goes by a  few other names  as well  – nice pathiri ,  neriya  pathiri and  malabar pathiri , to name a  few.  As the last  name on the  list  suggests  it is  very popular in the Malabar  region of India.  This delicate  soft  bread  can easily be  paired with spicy curries or sweet  syrups.

The best  pathiri that  I remember  was the one  that  my dorm mate’s  mom made.  Long long  ago .. , on  one Monday morning  Sherri  came  back to the hostel late, but  with an  extra  special treat- Pathiri  and  Mutton  Roast.  News  like  these  travel  fast   when a  bunch of  teenagers are  subjected  to  barely palatable  mess  food  for  any length of  time.  Suffice to say that she  was  very popular  that  day –  I don’t  think our gang  of  girls  were  ever  as  silent  as  during  that  meal ever.   Sheri,  this one is inspired by you !

When you or  someone  you love have gluten  allergies  or  intolerance   you go to a  lot of   lengths  to  adapt  standard  gluten  rich recipes.  Often  times  we  forget  that   there are  many delightful  recipes  around  the  world  that are  naturally gluten  free .  Jowar roti,  ragi roti , Bajri roti , injera,  corn tortillas  and  the  south Indian  dosa  are  all good   examples.  Some of  these   grains  used are more  environmentally viable  as  well –  for  example Bajra or  pearl millet   takes  much less water to cultivate than wheat.

But  all that  seem unimportant  once you taste one  of  these  gluten  free flat breads.  The  taste and  texture  of  these breads wins your  over.  The  rice pathiri  is  soft  and  very  pliable.  Serve  with  with a  spicy side dish or  thick coconut milk and  a  sprinkling of sugar/honey.

This  gluten  free  aspect of rice is  not a  good  news  when it  comes  to bread making.  Gluten is  creates  the essential  structure of  the  breads, without which  it  will easily collapse  and  break apart.   In gluten  free   flours  part of  all of  the starches  are  cooked  to  increase absorption  of water. The flour  particles   swell up  and create a gelatinous   mix  which  provides  the  needed  structure  and  moisture.   This is  the  secret  to making and  melt  in the  mouth  pathiri.


Making Rice Pathiri

Heat  water  with a  pinch of  salt   until it  comes  to a  rolling   boil.  Add  the  flour, stir and turn off the  heat. The  hot  water  gets  instantly  absorbed into  the  flour.  If you have  led hands you can  dig in   and  and  knead  this into a smooth  dough.  Other  wise  cover  and  wait  for a  little  bit  for  the  dough to cool down  and  be  warm  enough to handle.  Knead it  well into a  soft  dough, if  needed  add more  flour  or   warm  water  as  needed.  The   dough  should  be  soft so that  you can  break off a  piece  roll and  flatten   without  any cracks.

Cover  the  dough to prevent  it  from  drying  out.  Heat a  griddle or  tawa or  any thick bottomed  pan   over  medium  hot  fire.  Pinch of  a  lemon sized  piece of  dough and  roll it  into a  ball.  Dust a  rolling surface  with rice  flour, place  the  dough ball and  turn to coat  all sides. Sprinkle more  flour  and  roll out into  a  thin   circle – 6 to 8 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle   more  rice flour  if  the  dough  gets  sticky.  Unlike  flour  tortillas ( or chapathy)  the  edges of  pathiri   will be   jagged.  Trim using a  circle  cutter  if  preferred. Don’t  worry about   waste –  the  excess  can  be   rolled into the   the  next  dough ball.

Place  the  pathiri on the hot  pan. You can  coat  the pan  with a  thin layer of  oil  before  cooking the pathiri. I don’t as  the oil  residue  leaves  brown  traces on the pathiri  and  I am partial to pristine white pathiris.   Let it  cook  for  about  30 seconds,  and  you will notice  the pathiri turning  just a  tad  bit  translucent or  small  bubbles  beginning  to form. This is  your  cue to   flip. Cook   the  other  side  for  another  30 seconds  or  so and  flip one  more  time.  At  this  time  usually  an   undisturbed  pathiri   will  puff up as a balloon, but if  does not  use a  clean   kitchen  cloth  to  press  on  the   top  gently to help it  puff up.   Remove  from the  pan and keep  covered.


You could  brush a  little  coconut   milk  on top as  you  remove  each.  But that is  optional.  Some  prefer to  roll out  all the  pathiris before beginning  to  cook  them.  In  that  case coat  each   with a  little  bit  of  rice  flour   and  keep  covered  to prevent   them  from drying out.  After  each  pathiri is  made   wipe  the  pan  with a  kitchen  towel to   remove  any excess  rice  flour.


Ari Pathiri

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Ari Pathiri


Roasted Fine Rice Flour - 1 1/2 C + extra (Notes)
Hot Water - 1 C
Salt - A Pinch
Coconut Milk - 2 Tbsp (Optional)


Heat water with a pinch of salt till it comes to a rolling boils. Add the rice flour and reduce the heat to low. Mix well using a wooden spoon and turn off the heat. The rice flour will clump, make sure that there are no large pockets of dry flour and all the water is absorbed. Cover with a lid and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes until warm enough to touch.

Knead well using your hands. If needed add a few teaspoons of warm water or extra flour as necessary . Form into a soft and smooth dough. Place the dough in a closed container or

cover with kitchen towel.

Heat a griddle or a thick bottomed flat pan (tawa) over medium heat .

Pinch off a lime sized piece from the dough. Roll it into a smooth ball. Dust a work surface with rice flour and place the ball of dough. Dust the top with more rice flour. Using a rolling pin roll the dough into a thin flat disc.

Transfer to the hot skillet and cook over medium high heat for 20 to 30 seconds or till the pathiri turns slightly opaque (dry). Flip land let it cook for another 30 seconds before flipping again. If the pathiri does not puff up on its own press down with a spatula or clean kitchen towel to help it bubble up.

Transfer the cooked pathiri into the container. Cover with a kitchen towel and close the lid.

Wipe any excess rice flour from the skillet before making the next pathiri. Repeat the process till all the dough is used up.

Serve with any spicy meat dish.


  • Use pathiri flour is when available.
  • If your rice flour is not roasted, heat a thick bottomed pan over medium heat and add the flour. Toast it for a few minutes stirring continuously until heated through. Turn off before the flour begins to brown.
  • It is important to keep the dough from drying out. If there are dry bits the pathiri will not be smooth and will not puff up .


  • Do not  let  the  dough   or  the  flattened  pathiri dry out.
  • Wipe  the  pan  after  making  each pathiri to remove  excess  rice  flour.
  • Lightly coat you palm  with oil  to prevent  the  dough  from sticking  when  kneading  it .


Rice Pathiri

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