Makes 12 (5-in.) rounds; about 6 servings.
Note: Roti is commonly made with whole wheat atta, which is a high-gluten flour and consists of 11.5 to 13 percent protein. The gluten makes the dough pliable and easier to roll very thin. Atta can be found at Indian grocery stores. As a substitute, use whole wheat bread flour when atta is not available. For more flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, garlic or coriander to the flour before making the dough. From Rekha Bhatt and Ila Patel.
• 2 c. whole wheat atta or whole wheat bread flour (see Note)
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. vegetable oil
• 3/4 to 1 c. lukewarm water
• Clarified butter (also called ghee), melted (see below)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add the oil and slowly add water, using your hands to knead the mixture. Add only as much water as needed to form a craggy mixture that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and silky. Cover with a kitchen cloth and let rest 10 minutes.
(To use a food processor: Fit with a metal blade and add flour and salt to the food processor bowl. Add oil and pulse while gradually adding enough of the water so that mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and forms a smooth dough. Remove from bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth; let rest 10 minutes.)
Divide dough into 12 equal parts, about the size of a walnut. Form each piece into a smooth ball and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. On a well-floured surface, roll each flattened ball into a 5-inch round.
To cook over gas flame: With flame on medium to medium low, place roti directly on flame. Use tong or chopsticks to turn for even cooking. After about 30 seconds, the bread will begin to char; flip and cook the other side in the same manner.
To cook on grill: Place roti over direct high heat. Use tong to turn for even cooking. After 1 to 2 minutes, bread will begin to char; flip and cook the other side in the same manner.
To cook on skillet or griddle: Preheat skillet to medium high. Place roti on ungreased surface about 1 to 2 minutes; flip and cook the other side in the same manner.
Cooked roti should have some dark brown spots when finished. As you remove each roti from the heat, stack darkest-side-down on plate and generously spoon a teaspoon or two of melted ghee over top of each roti. Serve warm.
To make clarified butter: Melt unsalted butter over medium-low heat. When completely melted, the butter will have three layers: foam at the top, milk solids at the bottom and the clarified butter inbetween. Bring the mixture to a simmer while the clarified butter becomes more fragrant and golden. Remove the pan from the heat and skim off the layer of foam at the top. Let the butter sit for a bit to settle. Then pour the golden clarified butter through a strainer into a clean jar, discarding the milk solids at the bottom of the pan.
Nutrition information per 2 roti:
Calories 225 Fat 11 g Sodium 200 mg
Carbohydrates 29 g Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 15 mg
Protein 6 g Cholesterol 22 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2 fat.
Faux Tamarind Chutney
Makes about 1 cup.
Note: This recipe evolved from an era in the U.S. when tamarind chutney — and tamarinds — were unavailable. From Rekha Bhatt.
• 1 c. apple butter
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. cumin
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
In small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving; store chilled up to a week.
Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:
Calories 35 Fat 0 g Sodium 38 mg
Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 5 mg
Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ fruit.