How Neha got her Roti back

Sri and I – we love our Rotis. We’ve been trying to make them for a long time. Our first efforts were disastrous. What looks amazingly simple when made by somebody else – becomes a complicated, herculean task involving all sorts of mathematical calculations and physical dexterity. At some point in time – while rolling the dough with the pin, I figured that it might be easier for me to move around the dough, instead of moving the dough itself. As a result, a complicated dance evolved. Additionally, there was also a very unfine layer of wheat stuck to my face and hair.

We tried. Again and again. No success. Too dry. Too unround. Too thick. Too uneven. When it seemed like we might almost get it right, we moved to London. We no longer had a flame-stove, and things seemed insurmountable. Falstaff’s post reminded me of those early days when we had a success ratio of about 1:4. 25% of the dough could be converted to something edible. The rest would stick to edges of other pots, pans, elbows and necks.

However in the first week of May 2006, a minor miracle happened. Kamla was in London for a conference I requested her to bring me one of those amazing machines that they have been developing in India for a long time. A roti maker. She was kind enough to buy me one from Bangalore. (You have to understand – I pinged her and made little circles on the sand with my toes – she couldn’t refuse.) Sri and I were a little apprehensive. How good could this be? We picked it up from Kamla’s hotel and got home at about 10 PM. I mixed the standard amount of dough. (Remember the 1:4 rule).

We had tears of joy in our eyes as we watched a little army of 25 rotis puff up one after another. I ate them, even as they were hot and burnt my tongue. Thanking God, Thanking Kamla and Thanking Those who made this lovely little thing. And the best part? The dough can be a little softer than usual! So no muscle-killing battle with water and flour.

Life is Beautiful. So is a Phulka.

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0 Responses to How Neha got her Roti back

  1. km says:

    Life is Beautiful. So is a Phulka.

    La Phulka e Bella: An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and a roti-maker conquer all.

    I’ve just given up on my dream of eating a good, hot phulka 😦


  2. megha says:

    Ive never been able to use a roti maker properly!

    Or am I too impatient to deal with the roti maker’s intricacies?



  3. Patrix says:

    Sigh! I can cook almost anything except rotis and the fact that I detest rice (there, I said it) and love rotis doesn’t bode well for my constantly rumbling belly. Trust me, I have tried…and it turned out to be at least an inch thick and of course, unpalatable.

    Now only if I could pester my better half to make them for me…I would do anything in return. Can you put in a word for me? 🙂


  4. chills says:

    they better be good when i get there madam.. 😀


  5. charu says:

    …. while others of us live in India and have cooks coming in to make the dough AND the rotis for us…


  6. ammani says:

    Some of my rotis were taken away by a neighbour who was building an extension. He said they came in handy when he ran out of bricks. Some others were used by the neighbourhood kids as frisbees. The rest were confiscated because they were a health and safety hazard. 😦

    Evidently you haven’t heard about Shana. They make lovely frozen rotis.


  7. km: Don’t give up so soon! There is phulka at the end of the tunnel! Really.

    megha: It’s relatively simple. It looked confusing to me too. But it looks like it’s designed for people with short attention spans. It’s Flatten-10seconds-flip-30seconds-flipnpuff. Simbil!

    patrix: So long as you promise to make everything else – including tea and the bed – I can nudge Ash into agreeing to make a lifetime supply of rotis for you I think! Even though I love rice – I need my thrice a week phulka fix!

    chills: Remember I made them for you in Hyderabad too? They weren’t all that bad were they?

    Charu: Ggrr!!!

    ammani: I relate to the frisbee bit. I used some of mine as paperweights and for hammering nails into the walls. I did try Shana recently – just about 1.5 months back. Lovely. But a bit too much oil in them. I like my phulkas without a trace of oil in them. Puffed up. (My mind is going into that flashback Jilebi mode now.)


  8. MumbaiGirl says:

    Hi Neha
    Am planning to get one too-ever since you told me yours worked well. have been toying with the idea for a year now! Just wanted to double check that it was the Jaipan brand you got?


  9. MumbaiGirl: Jaipan it is. Those guys should be paying me for this huge product placement. 🙂


  10. kamla says:


    In hindsight, I think I should have gotten some more pounds from you for lugging that Jaipan roti-maker from Bangalore to London. I could bought me another two packets of Harrods chai! 🙂 And tell everybody I am drinking angrezi chai in desh.

    Enjoy the roti-maker…I guess no sambhar-rasam and thayir saadham with sutta appalam for you folks.

    Enjoy the phulkas….hope you chupoodo lots of desi ghee and sprinkle some chinni, surutoofy it and then eat the garam phulka 🙂

    Methinks the Jaipan folks need to pay me for product placement too!



  11. kamla says:

    1,2,3, mike testing…


  12. kamla says:


    Methinks there is a bug in this comment section. I tried from two different PCs and the comment went into a self-abort mode but yeverything vaaas gaaan.

    Khair…mujhe tho lagtha hai ki I should have gotten more pounds for lugging the roti maker. Maine apna job-shob chhod kar, went shopping for this wonderful phulka maker 😉

    Hope you are choopoding lots of desi ghee before consuming the phulkas.

    Enjoy the phulkas!



  13. Publia says:

    OK Neha–a global voice such as you should tell those of us who don’t know–what is a roti? Is it a type of donut? A pancake? A flat bread? And what is a phulka?

    Love the new website, by the way.

    And the sink might just have been clogged by a huge hunk of flour and water paste. You didn’t mention that you had been doing dough experiments.


  14. krishna says:

    i guess one should thank childhood practice in this regard.
    being in the family not having been blessed with a daughther makes (some ) boys learn the trick.
    i guess i should apply for immigration to UK listing roti making as a skill 🙂
    but i guess that the magic rotimaker seems to be saviour for masses starving out there …
    and that pic on wikipedia for phulka is disgrace 🙂


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