Rajastani Khoba Roti – Gems From The Desert

Flat breads  or  rotis  are  found  everywhere in  the  Indian  subcontinent.   Usually  made  to  order   and  eaten  warm  with accompaniments .  These are  made   with a  variety of  flours ,  but  wheat  remains  predominant .   A  tour of  the  region  will  definitely introduce  one  to the  lean rotis, layered rotis ,  stuffed  rotis  and  many  more.  So what makes Khoba  Roti  stand  apart ? Variously  known as Khoba roti  or  Moti Roti  or Jadi Roti  this is  essentially  is   a  thick unleavened flat bread  with indentations .  These indentations  are  perfect for  holding  copious  amounts  of   ghee , providing  the  much needed boost  of  energy  for  the  hardworking  folk .  These patterned indentations are  what that elevates the humble  flat bread  from  the deserts of Rajasthan  into a work of art  .

This  roti  starts  as a  standard   roti/chapathi  dough .  Take  the  atta /whole  wheat flour  in a  bowl ,  add a  pinch of  salt ,  ghee or oil ,  any optional   herbs/spices  to taste  and  mix  well . Add enough  water   and  knead into a  firm dough .  Keep covered  for  15  minutes to a few  hours .

Heat a  tawa/skillet  and  have  it  waiting  .  Divide  the   dough into 3 or 4   portions .   Take one portion  and using  the  rolling  pin flatten  it  into a  thick   circle,  about 1/8 th of an inch thick .  Of  course  you can  make   these  thicker  ,  and  traditionally many do ,  but  I find  that a  bit  thinner  versions   cook evenly  and  taste  better .  At  this  point  one  could  transfer  the  discs  to the   waiting skillet  and  make  traditional  rotis .

Take a  sharp knife   and  make  a  few slashes  all over  the  top .  Take  care not to  cut  through to the  other  side .   This  step is  important  ,  as it keeps the  rotis   from fluffing  up   and  ruining  the  designs . Flip  the   disc ,  and  using  a  pair of   tongs  pinch the   tops  to  create a beautiful pattern

Pre-heat the broiler . Brush the  hot  skillet   with a little  oil and transfer   the  roti  to it . Cook  for  about  30  seconds  to  1  minute  till the  color  changes   lightly  and  the  roti is  partially cooked  through .  Brush the  top with a  little  oil  and  transfer  to a  cookie  sheet   .  Place the  cookie  sheet  in  the  oven ,  with  the   oven  rack  set  about  4″  from the  flames .    Broil  for a  minute  or  so , keep  an  eye on  the  rotis ,  till the   rotis are evenly  browned .  Remove  from the  oven and transfer  to the  serving   dish .   Alternately  flip  the  roti on the  skillet  cook for  30 seconds, transfer  to the   cookie  sheet   and  keep covered .  These  half cooked  rotis  can be  finished  in the oven  at  the  last  minute.

Here is  another  very traditional way of  making  the  indentations . Using   your  fingers  pinch the  top of the  roti  in a   decorative  pattern .  If   the  dough circles  are  made  thicker  these indentations  can  be  made  after  transferring  to  the  skillet  as  well .  This is  not  my preferred  way as one  has  to  work  fast  and  these  tend  to cook  unevenly .  You  can  spread  a little oil  on top of  the  roti ,  flip it   and   finish cooking on the  stove top  as  well .

Serve   with  your  choice of  sides .

KhobaRoti19

Notes 

  • Though  non traditional , using  the  broiler  is   my preferred  method . This  way  the  rotis  cook  evenly  and  turn out   a bit  crunchy  without  any burnt  edges .
  • Using  the  kitchen  tongs  to  make  the  designs  is  quite  fast ,  but  you are  only limited  by your  imagination .
  • Keep the  rotis  about  7 to 8 inches in diameter or  smaller .  Bigger  sizes  will  be  tougher  to transfer .

Khoba Roti

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2 - 3 servings

Khoba Roti

Ingredients

Atta/Whole Wheat Flour - 2 C
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Ajawain (Carom)- 1 Tsp (optional)
Ghee / Oil - 2 Tsp
Water - 1 C (as required)
OIl to cook

Instructions

Take the wheat flour, salt, ghee and spices in a large bowl and mix well . Add the water little by little and knead to form a firm dough . Set aside , covered for at least 15 minutes upto a couple of hours .

Heat a skillet and pre heat the broiler and have it waiting .

Divide the dough into 3 to 4 equal portions . Take one portion and roll out into a disc about 1/8" thickness . Using a sharp knife make a few shallow gashes all over . Flip the disc. Create a pattern all over the circle using a pair of tongs or fingers .

Oil the hot skillet lightly and place the disc on top . The design side should face up . Cook partially till the color of the dough changes slightly. By now light brown spots should be forming in the bottom. Smear a little oil on top of the roti and transfer to a cookie sheet with the design side up .

Place the cookie sheet about 4" away from the broiler and cook for a minute or so till the tops begin to brown. Transfer to the serving dish . Repeat with the remaining pieces .

Serve warm.

Notes

The half cooked roti can be flipped and cooked fully on the stove top as well .

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