A roti maker, also known as a chappati maker, is a culinary tool useful for forming and cooking the flatbreads typical of traditional Indian cookery. Whereas a traditional cook might use a rolling pin to achieve an evenly flattened dough and a frying pan to cook the bread, a roti maker makes it relatively easy for anyone to turn out perfectly shaped and cooked flatbreads of even thickness and doneness.
Select the Right Model
When shopping for a roti maker, check that your model includes several functions. Look for a roti maker with a griddle surface of forged aluminium, which will allow heat to distribute most evenly, cooking the roti most effectively. Ideally, the griddle should have a non-stick treatment covering its entire exposed surface. For practical purposes, a griddle with an 8-inch diameter is sufficient for roti, though some cooks prefer a 10-inch griddle, which permits you to make the Punjabi style Paratha flatbreads. The griddle should reach a temperature of at least 218 degrees Celsius; for a 10-inch griddle, this translates to about 750 watts for the griddle surface and 250 watts for the upper surface. Finally, a roti maker should have an indicator light somewhere to clearly show whether it is on. To really simplify roti making, you can even opt for a deluxe roti maker design, which kneads, shapes and cooks the dough for you.
Try New Flatbreads
In addition to roti, you can use your roti maker for a range of other flatbreads, both from Indian cookery and other culinary traditions. A larger roti maker lends itself well to larger Indian flatbreads. You can also use the roti maker to form puri, another Indian flatbread. If you enjoy Mexican cuisine, the roti maker serves well for forming and even cooking flour or corn tortillas.
Prepare Dough Ahead
To use a normal roti maker, you have to knead and prepare the dough yourself, using the roti maker just for the shaping and baking processes. For best results, knead together the roti dough ingredients at least an hour before you wish to begin baking. Lightly spray or brush the top of the roti dough with oil or butter as soon as you finish kneading. During the hour you let the dough sit, keep it in an airtight container, such as a bowl with a lid and something heavy sitting on top.
To produce roti that has a pleasingly soft texture, only cook each roti once on each side. Otherwise, it can either become hardened or elastic over time. If leftover roti does become hard, you can "revive" it somewhat by sprinkling some water over it and microwaving for 15 to 30 seconds.
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