The secret to making the softest, low calorie, nutritious chapathis or phulkas at home, lies in the quality of the wheat flour used in making them. Even phulkas which do not need a drizzle of oil to keep them soft, remain soft even if stored for a day if they are made with good quality wheat flour. Wheat flour is best if it stone ground(Ground in a ‘Chakki’) from complete wheat, and contains bran too. There should be no loss of any nutrients in the processing of the flour. The color of the dough can be a simple indicator of this. If the dough is slightly brown, it indicates the presence of bran. If the dough is white, it indicates that the flour has been refined, and contains more maida, which also means it has lost most of its nutrients.
Not all wheat flour available in the market are the same. Some brands can make the Chapathi’s or Rotis very rubbery. The best brands I have used are ‘Annapurna’ and ‘Nature’s fresh’, both of which are imported from India, which grows some of the best wheat in the World.
So for all those who think they can never make soft roti’s, here is my method, hope it works for you too……….
1. Whole wheat flour- 1 1/2 Cups( makes 10 to 12 Phulkas)
2. Canola oil( or any cooking oil)- 4 Tsp
3. Very Warm water- 2 Cups Approximately( use more or less as required)
4. Salt- 1 Tsp
To make the dough-
Mix together the wheat flour, salt and oil well with your hands, so that the oil and salt are well integrated in the flour. Add 3/4 cup of the water and mix well to start making the dough. Keep adding water in small amounts and kneading the dough, till it all comes together as a single, smooth ball. Adding water in small amounts prevents the dough from becoming too watery, which can be a nightmare to roll out. This dough can be used to make most types of unleavened breads like chapathi, Poori, Phulka, Roti and also as the covering for different types of parathas.
Keep the dough covered, or sealed with saran wrap in the mixing bowl for about an hour. This allows for the gluten to form. The development of gluten affects the elasticity and softness of the the final product. Dough that is left in the fridge for a day, makes the best phulkas. Kneading the dough well also promotes the formation of gluten, yielding a soft product.
Divide the dough into approximately 10 equal parts. Take one part of the dough and roll it into a small ball with your palms, and squish it into a platelet. Dip it on both sides in some whole wheat flour, and roll it out into an 8 inch diameter circle, and put it on a hot tava, and turn till it gets brown spots on both sides.
Remove from the tava with a good pair of tongs and put it directly on the gas flame and increase the intensity of the flame to the highest.
The phulka starts poofing up immediately, due to moisture getting trapped between the 2 layers.
Remove from the heat, and serve. If storing for later use, stack the phulkas and keep them covered at all times with a cloth or tight lid to keep them soft. Heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds before serving.
To make Chapathis( rotis with more layers)-
Divide the Dough into approximately 8 portions. As before, roll out the dough into a 4 inch circle. Brush the surface with a few drops of oil and fold into half. Again brush the surface with a few drops of oil, and fold into a quarter. Roll out the chapathi into an approximate equilateral triangle, with 8 inch sides, and cook both sides on a hot Tava, till it seperates into layers.