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Jowar Roti – Shorgum Flat Breads

Jowar or  Sorghum  rotis , flat breads, are  popular in many parts of  South India. In fact  we had our  first taste of taste of  Jowar Roti  at Hampi in Karnataka.  These  Jolada Roties, as  they were  called  locally, are  soft and  extremely delicious.  They have  more of  a  melt in the  mouth  quality compared to  the more  common  wheat  rotis.

Jowar Roti - Soft Flat bread made with Shorgum flour

Rotis  are  flat breads  typically unleavened  and  made  fresh on demand.   It is   fascinating  to watch ladies in the  villages  making  these   by hand. Usually a  wood burning  stove is  set  on the  floor  and  the  cook  sits  close by,  and  flattening  the   dough by hand  and at  the  same  time  cooking  another one  on the  fire.  No  rolling  pin or  board  needed.  Their  deft  hand  movements  has  the  feel of a  well coordinated  orchestra.

The  other  facinating aspect of  sorghum is that  it is gluten free.  This  poses  some  challenge  when  it  comes  to bread  making. The  flat  bread  is  extremely  fragile  as  there is  no  protein  network  holding  it  together.   To  get  around  this   gluten  free  flours  like  rice  and  sorghum  are  kneaded  using  hot  water  to turn  some  starch to  gelatin, which  helps  hold  the   shaped  breads  together. Check out Ari Pathiri   to see    how  the  same  technique  is  used  to make gluten free rice  flat breads.

Making Jowar Roti

As I mentioned  above, I am in  awe  of  the  skill of  the  cooks.   I have  tried and  failed  to do these  by hand .. So here  I go to my  trusted  rolling  pin ..

Dust the  board  the  the  dough  ball  generously before  rolling  out  the   dough.

Place the  discs  on a  hot  tawa or griddle  and  brush  water on top .   Traditionally a  piece of  wet cloth  was  used  to press on top, but  brushing  a  little  water   works   perfectly well.   Once  the   water  looks  evaporated flip  the  disc.  If  you see  excess  dust give  a  quick brush  with   water  on this  side  as  well.   The  water prevents   cracks  from  forming  on the   surface  of  the   roti   as  it  puffs  up .

At  this  point one  can finish  cooking  by  flipping  it  a  couple  more  times   to cook  evenly on both  sides.  When  the  stars  align  properly  you may get  a big  puffed  up  roti :-).  It  takes a  little  practice ,  but  puffed up or  not    this   is a  soft  and  delicious  roti .

You might see  some cracks on the  bread  as  it is  cooking.     Without  the   water  these  cracks  develop sooner   leading  to a  dry  and  brittle  flat bread
Jowar Roti cooking on open flame
Here is  another  way to finish  cooking.  Place it  over  open  flame.  A  few  seconds on  each side  is  all it  takes.

Happy Cooking !!!

Jowar Roti - Soft Flat bread made with Shorgum flour

Jowar Roti

By Syama
Shorgum is a   grain that is  gluten  free  and considered   nutritious.  Flat breads  made  with  these are soft and  retains  its  softness  longer compared  to whole wheat  tortillas.   It is  light and  healthy  flatbread. 
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Bread
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 2 C + extra Jowaar Flour (Shorgum)
  • 1 1/2 C Water
  • Salt - A pinch


  • Bring the water to a rolling boil with salt. Slowly add the jowar flour to the boiling water while stirring the mix and turn off the heat. Give it one more mix with the ladle and cover with a lid. Remove from the stove and let is cool till warm enough to handle. Knead the dough till smooth, adding a little extra flour or water as necessary. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Heat a thick bottomed pan (Indian Tawa or cast iron griddle) over medium heat.
  • Divide the dough into 6 to 8 portions. Take one portion and shape into a ball. Sprinkle the rolling surface and the ball with a little flour and roll the the dough ball into a circle about 6 to 8 inch diameter.
  • Carefully transfer the disc into the hot pan so that the bottom side of the roti (or the side with more dusting flour ) is on top. Brush the top with water. Cook over medium heat till the water evaporates. Flip the roti to cook on the other side. After about 30 seconds flip it again. At this point you can place the roti over open flame to finish cooking or finish on the pan by flipping and cooking both sides evenly for another minute or so. Transfer to a container and keep covered until serving .
  • Repeat the process with the remaining portions of dough.
  • Serve warm with a side of curries .

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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Jowar Roti - Soft Flat bread made with Shorgum flour



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