Makki di roti
Roti, in general, refers to the Indian flatbread cooked on an iron griddle (tava). Makki di roti refers to a special roti where, instead of the usual wheat flour, cornmeal is used. The name "makki di roti" literally means "roti made from cornmeal".
Makki roti is yellow in color when cooked, and has less adhesive strength, which makes it difficult to handle. Cooking makki roti is more difficult than ordinary (wheat) roti.
Makki roti is a famous delicacy from the north-Indian state of Punjab, and is cooked in the winters and served with saron da saag 1or sarson ka saag (cooked mustard leaves) and lassi.
- a cupped handful of cornmeal for each serving
- a spoonful of soft butter (best to have unsalted homemade butter)
- a cupful of lukewarm water
- flat iron griddle (tahva), preheated
- rolling pin (bailna) and flat board (chakla)
- wide flat mixing tray (praant)
- cooking fire on which the tahva will be heated
- Place the measured quantity of cornmeal in a praant (a wide flat mixing tray). Heap up the cornmeal to form a hill. Make a well, and pour in a small quantity of the lukewarm water.
- Start to mix the cornmeal and water into a dough. The dough should remain moist but not become sticky. Add water in small quantities to retain a moist feel. The final dough should not be sticky (sprinkle some extra cornmeal to help soak up excess moisture).
- Add the soft butter (makhan) at the end and give it a final kneading. Leave the dough covered with a dry cloth for about 30 minutes before continuing.
- Take a small hand-sized portion of the dough from the mixing tray and roll it into a small ball (ladu) between the two hands. Gradually start to flatten the ball between the palms of the two hands (wet the hands and fingers to help the dough to stretch). At the same time rotate the flattening dough so that the thinning of the roti is even. It may start to crack at the edges. Repair any cracks by pressing them at the rims. Wetting the fingers and the palm of the hand will help to spread and give the roti a circular shape. Aim for an evenly thinned roti.
- When the roti is about the size of a small plate (or a little larger then a spread-out hand) place it on the preheated tahva. Leave the roti to take in the heat (it takes a while for roti to get cooked). Some areas of the roti will change in colour as the water evaporates. Soon after, the roti will be able to be moved on the tahva. With a dry cloth, press the areas of the roti that look moist.
- It is a matter of judgement when the roti can be turned over and heated on the other side. When the roti have been well cooked they should not have any moist looking areas. Some areas will have burned slightly but this is normal.
- The roti can be heated on open flames of the cooker. This process of placing roti on open flames is called rodhni. It takes time to get the thick roti to be well cooked.
- The cooked roti is smeared with some butter. This is called "chopadni". The roti is then put into a serving dish. Traditionally, the roti is served as it gets prepared and is eaten fresh. On occasions when it has to be stored before serving it is placed in a dry tray called "chaba".