The Difference Between a Roti and a Chapati

chapati

Roti and chapati are often used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between the two. Here we describe two recipes for rotis and chapati.

  1. Ingredients: Both roti and chapati are unleavened flatbreads made from whole wheat flour (atta) and water. However, the proportions of flour and water may vary slightly depending on regional preferences and personal recipes.
  2. Thickness: Traditionally, roti tends to be thinner than chapati. Roti is rolled out into a thinner circle compared to chapati, which is usually slightly thicker.
  3. Cooking method: Roti is typically cooked on a tawa (flat griddle), while chapati may be cooked on a tawa or directly over an open flame. Cooking chapati over an open flame can result in it puffing up, creating layers, while roti usually remains flatter.
  4. Regional variations: The terms “roti” and “chapati” can vary in meaning depending on the region. In some places, they may be used interchangeably, while in others, they may refer to slightly different types of flatbreads.

Generally though, the differences between roti and chapati are minimal, and the terms are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation. Both are staple foods in many South Asian cuisines and are served alongside curries, vegetables, or other dishes.

Here we’ve give a recipe for making a roti using either wheat flour which is traditionally atta or with rice flour which is the alternative. We’ve also given a recipe for a chapati just to show how different they are.

Roti Recipe using Atta (Whole Wheat Flour):

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
  • Water (as needed)
  • Salt (optional)

Preparation

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the whole wheat flour (atta). If desired, you can add a pinch of salt for flavor.
  2. Gradually add water to the flour while kneading the dough. Knead until you get a smooth, pliable dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  3. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized balls.
  5. Take one dough ball and roll it into a smooth ball between your palms.
  6. Flatten the dough ball slightly and dust it with some flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough ball into a thin, round circle (roti) of about 6-7 inches in diameter.
  8. Heat a tawa (flat griddle) over medium-high heat.
  9. Place the rolled-out roti onto the hot tawa. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side.
  10. Flip the roti and cook the other side for another 30 seconds or until light brown spots appear.
  11. Remove the roti from the tawa and place it in a clean kitchen towel or a roti basket to keep it warm.
  12. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls until all rotis are cooked.
  13. Serve hot with your favorite curry, dal, or vegetables.

Roti Recipe using Rice Flour:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • Water (as needed)
  • Salt (optional)

Preparation

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the rice flour. If desired, you can add a pinch of salt for flavor.
  2. Gradually add water to the rice flour while stirring to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and pliable.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized balls.
  4. Take one dough ball and roll it into a smooth ball between your palms.
  5. Flatten the dough ball slightly and dust it with some rice flour to prevent sticking.
  6. Place the dough ball between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough ball into a thin, round circle (roti) of about 6-7 inches in diameter.
  8. Heat a tawa (flat griddle) over medium-high heat.
  9. Carefully transfer the rolled-out roti onto the hot tawa. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side.
  10. Flip the roti and cook the other side for another 30 seconds or until light brown spots appear.
  11. Remove the roti from the tawa and place it in a clean kitchen towel or a roti basket to keep it warm.
  12. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls until all rotis are cooked.
  13. Serve hot with your favorite curry, dal, or vegetables.

Chapati Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
  • Water (as needed)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Ghee or oil (for cooking)

Preparation

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the whole wheat flour (atta). If desired, you can add a pinch of salt for flavor.
  2. Gradually add water to the flour while kneading the dough. Knead until you get a smooth, pliable dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  3. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. After resting, divide the dough into 8 equal-sized balls.
  5. Take one dough ball and roll it into a smooth ball between your palms.
  6. Flatten the dough ball slightly and dust it with some flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough ball into a thin, round circle (chapati) of about 6-7 inches in diameter.
  8. Heat a tawa (flat griddle) over medium-high heat.
  9. Place the rolled-out chapati onto the hot tawa. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side.
  10. Flip the chapati and cook the other side for another 30 seconds or until light brown spots appear.
  11. Brush the cooked side of the chapati with ghee or oil, if desired.
  12. Flip the chapati again and cook for another 30 seconds, pressing lightly with a spatula, until both sides are evenly cooked and golden brown spots appear.
  13. Remove the chapati from the tawa and place it in a clean kitchen towel or a chapati basket to keep it warm.
  14. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls until all chapatis are cooked.
  15. Serve hot with your favorite curry, dal, or vegetables.
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