About this recipe:In India, you would be able to walk into a regular grocery store and buy makki ka atta. Staying in London, I found it impossible to get hold of the main ingredient for this dish. So, after a lot of hit and trial, based on recipes that I found online, this is the concoction that has finally worked for me. I used a combination of coarse and fine cornmeal, and tried a variation with potatoes instead of radish.
7 to 9 teaspoons vegetable oil, ghee or butter (optional)
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Method Prep:40min › Cook:20min › Ready in:1hr
Mix together the two types of cornmeal, and add salt and carom seeds.
Skip this step for gluten-free version: Add the wheat flour - this is an optional step; it makes it easier to knead. I would suggest adding only if you are making this dish for the first time.
Add the mashed potatoes to the mixture.
Knead for about 15 minutes, adding warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. The main trick here is to spend time kneading. In the beginning, kneading the dough will feel like you are working with loose sand on the beach, desperately trying to make a castle. As you continue kneading with patience, the consistency will change into something more sticky so that the dough can hold together as a ball. The dough will never be as sticky as when making other types of bread - this is because cornmeal does not contain gluten, which is the sticky protein in wheat. The idea is to knead it to a point where you can mould it into some shape without it falling apart instantly.
Leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
Put a tawa or a flat-base non-stick frying pan on high heat.
Boil some water separately and pour into a cup.
Roll out cling film, at least 12 to 16cm square, on the counter, and dab with some drops of warm water. Dab the palms of your hands with some warm water.
Take enough dough into your palms to form a ball of about 4 to 5cm diameter. Pat the dough into the shape of a ball.
Place the ball in the centre of the cling film. Press down gently with your fingers in short strokes to flatten the dough into a circle a little less than the length of your palm and 3-4mm thick. Basically, what you want to achieve is the same result as if you were rolling the dough. Make sure that the roti is evenly spread, and still holding together. Dab with warm water if it's breaking apart. It will be easier to transfer the roti to the tawa if it more or less fits within your palm.
Lift a corner of the clingfilm and place one hand underneath the clingfilm with the roti facing up towards you. Place the other hand on top of the roti, and flip over the clingfilm so that you are holding the roti on top of your other hand, and the clingfilm is facing up towards to you. Peel off the clingfilm.
Flip the roti on to the tawa. It will instantly stick to the hot surface. If it cracked during the transfer, use your fingers or a spatula to quickly join the cracks within the first 2-3 seconds. If it breaks into many pieces, don't try anything; let it cook before you try to bring the pieces together.
Allow a couple of minutes, and then check to see if the bottom of the roti is coming lose off the surface of the tawa. When it does, flip it over to cook on the other side.
Allow a couple of minutes to cook on this side. Flip from side to side 1 or 2 times, so that the roti appears cooked.
Remove the roti from the tawa. Dab some oil, ghee or butter, and either serve immediately, or place in a foil to keep warm.
Do not cook on medium or low heat as this will make the rotis too crisp. If you are using non-stick cookware, then oil is not necessary during cooking. Otherwise, dab the surface of the tawa and / or roti with vegetable oil during cooking.
The first couple of rotis are the hardest to make, but you will get the hang of it very quickly. Patience and some practice is all you need.
Usually 2-3 rotis per person will make for a good wholesome healthy meal.
You can replace mashed potatoes with grated radish, which is the more traditional way to cook this dish.
You can replace wheat flour with fine polenta (cornmeal) or gluten free plain flour.