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Once you taste these unleavened, unsalted simple breads - a person is hooked. This is simple, unpretentious home cooking but very satisfying, healthy and easy on the pocket book. There are also excellent for those with a yeast allergy. Rotis are made from small balls of dough that are rolled out and then partially cooked on a hot griddle and then finished directly over high heat. The high heat makes the rotis puff up into a ball. They are then lightly coated with ghee to keep them pliable until serving time. Line a tortilla basket with a napkin and keep the rotis in it. Allow 2-3 chapattis or rotis per person. This is everyday Indian bread made in most Indian homes daily.

Ingredients to make about 6: 2.5 cups chapatti flour

1 cup water at room temperature 1 cup chapatti flour

ghee,

Method to roll out the dough:

Prepare the desired amount of dough from the Basic Dough recipe. After resting for 2-2 1/2 hours, knead well. Divide the dough into peach-size balls. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one ball of dough with your hand. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a thin, round patty, about 5 inches in diameter. Roll from the centre, turning patty several times to prevent sticking. Try to make the edges slightly thinner than the centre. As you cook the chapatti/roti, one could be rolling out the next, rather than shaping all of the chapattis at one time.

Method of cooking the chapatti or roti:

Preheat a cast-iron tawa over medium heat. Place the rolled dough on the palm of one hand and flip it over on to the tawa. When the colour changes on the top and bubbles appear, turn it over. When both sides are done, use kitchen tongs (chimta) to remove the chapatti from the skillet.

Gas Stove: If you have a gas stove, hold the cooked chapatti over a medium flame and it will puff up immediately. Turn quickly to flame-bake the other side. Do this several times, taking care that the edges are well cooked.

Electric Stove: If you have an electric stove, chapattis can be encouraged to puff by pressing them with a clean kitchen towel after the first turn on each side. Repeat the shaping and cooking process until all chapattis are cooked.

To keep the chapattis warm as they are cooked, place them in a towel-lined bowl and fold over the sides of the towel. Serve hot, either completely dry or topped with a small amount of ghee or butter.

Paratha

These breads, called parathas, are flaky and somewhat more elaborate than chapattis or rotis. The dough is rolled out and brushed with ghee or oil folded and brushed with ghee or oil again and folded again to form a layered slice. This is then rolled out again. This is then put on a hot griddle and brushed with oil. The heat makes the layers of dough swell and puff, resulting flaky, pastry like flat breads. They may also be used as snacks, lunch-box favourites, light brunch items or travelling munching companions. Allow 1 or 2 per person. Ingredients:

2.5 cups chapatti flour

1 cup water at room temperature 1 cup chapatti flour

ghee for brushing the bread Method to roll out the dough

Prepare Basic dough and allow to rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. To make triangular- shaped parathas, divide the dough into peach-size balls. With a rolling pin, roll out 1 ball to a circle 5 inches in diameter. Brush the circle of dough with ghee, and fold in half to from a crescent then brush again with ghee and fold into a triangle. Seal the edges well. Dust the paratha with finely sieved whole wheat flour and roll into a large, flat triangle or round paratha. Try to make the edges slightly thinner to ensure uniform cooking. Rather than shaping all the parathas at one time, cook each one as the next one is rolled out.

Method of cooking the paratha

Preheat a cast-iron tawa over medium heat. Place the rolled dough on the palm of one hand and flip it over on to the tawa. When the colour changes on the top and bubbles appear, brush ghee over the surface of the paratha and turn it over. Repeat the process of brushing the paratha on the other side. Keep flipping it over till both sides are browned and spots appear on the paratha. With experience the paratha will puff on the tawa.

To keep the parathas warm as they are cooked, place them in a towel-lined bowl and fold over the sides of the towel. Serve hot.

Poori

These are small round pancakes size rounds of dough that are slipped into hot oil or ghee, where they fill with steam and balloon in seconds. Pooris are soft silk like breads with which curries and vegetables are scooped up. Allow 2-3 per person, depending on the size of the breads and the accompanying dishes.

Ingredients:

2.5 cups chapatti flour

2/3 cup water at room temperature ghee

Oil for deep frying

Method to roll out the dough Make stiff but pliable dough. Cover the dough with damp cloth And set aside for 30 minutes.

Knead dough a little again. Dough should be stiff enough to roll without extra flour.

Make small balls of the dough and cover them with damp cloth.

Take one ball of dough and dip a corner of ball in melted ghee or oil and roll it out into 4 to 5 inches round.

Repeat the same process to roll out all pooris.

Frying the Pooris

Heat plenty of oil in a kadhai until very hot.

Put in a poori and immediately start flickering hot oil over the top of it with a spatula so that it will swell up like a ball.

This should take only a few seconds. Flip the poori over and cook the other side until golden brown.

Serve hot with curries or vegetables.