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How To Make Phulka (Roti/Chapati) At Home | step by step | Tips

by Sonia on March 1, 2013

Post image for How To Make Phulka (Roti/Chapati) At Home | step by step | Tips

Hi there,

In last post I discussed my little knowledge about homemade fresh flour. Here, I’ve tried my best to cover everything about ‘How to make roti/chapati’ at home with tips.

We Gujarati called our Roti as ‘Rotli‘ (aka chapati in Hindi), usually make from whole wheat flour. Every state has its own unique style. In Gujarat, it’s usually thin as handkerchief  that’s easy to digest. It’s simple flatbread eaten by daily in India. They’re usually accompanied by any simple vegetable (curry) or any bean/legume dishes along with Gujarati Dal -Bhat (fresh steamed rice).

Rotli is something I’ve achieved it throughly. It’s very simple yet need a good amount of practise to get round and soft roti. The secret is nothing but practice, practice, practice. If your roll your rotis like a panty shape, don’t freak out. You would definitely get perfect round shape it if you try at least 2-3 rotis per day.

Just have patient and try with a baby step. Start with 2 or 3 rotis per day. This is how I started and learnt from my Grandma and Mom. My Grandma can make a soft and fluffy phulka, no matter how wet the dough is. Throw a challenge to her and she would make you a perfect batch of rotis from bad dough.

My Grandma taught me with her some very valuable tips she learned from her years of experience . She has a perfect technique about how to shape, how to roll, where to press and where not. She always says that you should able to make roti in one round. That means you should stop to roll {without touch your roti in between} only when you have fully rolled out your roti. It’s hard, really hard, but after good practice I succeeded.

Before you proceed to recipe, I suggest you to read the following tips from my experience. And make your rotis with least mistake. Good luck! :-)

Print Recipe & Tips

Tips for soft phulka/rotis/rotli:

# There are several reasons your rotis don’t turn out soft. The structure of binding the dough is key! Your dough could be very stiff to roll. If you know some basic techniques and formula you’ll also have soft phulka to serve.

# Warm water help to bind soft and springy dough. Adding water little by little is another key to bind good and pliable dough. If you’re beginner, start with a very little water in dough.

# I suggest to add a tsp of oil in 2 cups of flour {see below measurement}. This is an old time tips from Grandma and Mom. The oil help to keep rotis soft for long time or even till next day.

# Applying some ghee or butter {we always use Ghee} on phulka also helps to keep them soft and beautiful. Did I say it taste heavenly with a dollop of ghee on warm roti.

# While rolling out rotis, make sure there is no puncture or hole and minimum flour is being used in dusting. Else, your roti won’t swell up.

# If you still don’t see the result you’re after, change the brand of your flour. Your atta should be pure whole wheat flour (free from maida/plain flour), all Indian grocery stores carry in different sizes.

# The whole wheat flour have a brownish hue. After number of experiments I always go with Aashirwad brand and stick with it since past years.

# If you’re completely novice, be careful while putting the rotis on direct flame. The hot steam may sneak out from roti and you might burn yourself if you’re not attentive. I don’t try to scare you but preliminary cautions are always helpful.

# Remember this formula while making roti on skillet: slow, medium, high.

Phulka Rotli  (Chapati/Roti) | Indian Whole Wheat Flatbread Recipe

This is daily bread in India and other neighbour countries. Also, staple food in Gujarat and Punjab. It’s perfect for scooping up stews and curries and lentils. It’s really easy once you grasped the method. The way the flatbread/roti balloons on the direct flame (or in the skillet/pan) will delight and amaze you.

*If you’re using fresh stone-grind flour, sieve it to remove coarse particles for better rotis.
**If you’re using store-bought atta (available in Indian grocery stores), no need to sieve it.

Ingredients: [makes about 12-13 rotis, depends on size]

  • 2 cups whole wheat atta/flour (homemade if you’re lucky or store-bought)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp oil + more for coating the dough
  • water – as needed
  • rice flour or whole wheat flour – for dusting {I recommend rice flour}

roti dough | seven spice
How to:

1. By hands: In wide shallow bowl, put the flour and salt. Make a well in center and add oil. Mix with fingertips. Start to add one or two Tbsp water to bind the dough. Gather everything and mix well. At first, dough will stick all over your palms and fingers. From time to time, stop and rub off all sticky flour from your palms and fingers. You can little more flour if needed. In the end, the whole thing will become one smooth and silky dough. Knead it with your knuckles adding a little water – knead it for 2-3 minutes and now your dough should be no longer sticky. Coat with 1 tsp oil and cover it with lid or kitchen napkin. Leave it aside for at least 10-15 minutes; this relaxes the gluten and makes the dough easier to roll out.

Rotli collage | seven spice

2. Using food processor or stand mixer with dough hook: Personally, I prefer by hands only. If you want to use processor or mixer then read it. Mix the flour, salt and oil. Pulse few times. Add water little by little. Mix on low-speed until combined into rough dough. Take out and knead it by hands. Coat it with oil and leave it to rest.

3. Wow, your dough is ready now. You’ll see your dough has become smooth as butter. Have a ready some extra flour in wide plate for dusting. You can refrigerate any leftover dough up to 4-5 days. Use the refrigerated leftover dough in 24 hours maximum. Make sure you wrap the dough in plastic wrap tightly, put in airtight container and store in fridge. Bring it back to room temperature before an hour you make roti.

4. Preheat cast iron (or non-stick) flat skillet. Keep on lowest flame. Have melted ghee ready in a small bowl.

rolling the rotis | seven spice

5. Tear off pieces the size of small limes (smaller or larger, as you like). Shape into a round then coat the ball into flour. On clean and flat surface {we Indian women use this, available in Indian grocery stores}, sprinkle little flour, roll out to a 2-3 mm thickness and 5-6 inch diameter, shape into a round (just like a tortilla). Try to use little flour while rolling or else your roti may turn hard. And, roll on one side only.

roti on flame | seven spice

6. In meantime, your skillet is hot enough. Lay the roti in it. Increase the flame on medium-high. After few seconds, you are seeing your roti has changed the colour and tiny bubbles are appeared, flip it other side. Cook it on high heat for few seconds more and then turn the roti on direct flames (be careful here) using tongs. The roti should be puffed up fully, just like a balloon.

roti | seven spice

7. Remove roti with a pair of tongs and place it on the clean kitchen napkin or container with layering a kitchen paper towel and immediately apply some ghee on one side if you wish. I always do. Or you can apply ghee later after prepared all rotis.

Rotlis (rotis/chapatis) | seven spice

Serve hot with your choice of curry, dal or gravy.

Rotli (roti/chapati) | seven.spice


  • This is a great post, and your rotis look perfect! I tried to make these with my mom several times. Hers are always perfectly round like yours, and mine look like amoebas and never puff up!

  • Thanks for sharing this!!

  • Great post! And u do have some perfectly manicured hands :)

    • Sonia

      Thanks Kulsum! But, I swear I’m not a person of manicure :-)

  • lovely post Sonia roti looks fabulous your right with practice it becomes second nature to us

  • Amazing pictures, lovely props.. I simply got stuck with the picture where the Phulka is cooking over the flame.. I am actually impressed with the clean blue flame too :P

    Glad to be your new follower, looking forward to see more of these interesting posts from you .. :)

    • Sonia

      Welcome Nupur! And, thanks for your lovely words :-)

  • Nithya Naveen

    Well explained and awesome clicks.

  • kankana |sunshine and smile

    I have been thinking for a long time now to share a similar post but I keep pushing it! beautiful clicks, love the first photo.

  • Sheetal

    Where did you get that wooden think in which you are making dough?

    • 7Spice

      from a dollar shop :)

  • Manju Nair

    I was considering doing a chapathi post soon and was looking around to see how people usually post it or take pics…I’m here for the first time and I’m hooked totally…if u can make chapathi making look so good can’t wait to see what else u have in stock here :-)

    • 7Spice

      Thank you Manju and welcome! :-)

  • WaitForIt

    LOL it’s a pair of ‘TONGS’ not ‘THONGS’

    but well done otherwise!

    • Sonia

      LOL! :D Thanks for pointing out. It’s corrected now.

    • 7Spice

      Updated! Thanks for pointing out :D

  • TR

    “If your roll your rotis like a panty shape, don’t freak out.” I don’t even want to try to understand what you mean by that. Thanks for the troubleshooting tips. I am learning about making roti. I am particularly interested in learning to make roti with jawan flour.

    • 7Spice

      Hi, no problem if you don’t want to understand but other readers would catch my message what I’m saying! btw, good luck for roti making. I’m glad my post helped you some way. Did you mean ‘Juwar’ flour?

  • Marie Meier

    my roti bread is too hard ….how to soften and stil use it ? (roll it)

    • Hi Marie, did you make after reading my post here?

      Well, there could be number of factors your rotis come out hard – quality of flour, structure of your dough (too hard), or any puncture while rolling the rotis. I can’t assume what’s cause exactly. Also, I recommend to apply some ghee or butter immediately after you take off your roti from flame.

      If you’re beginner then it will take some time to get perfect phulka. Good luck!

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