Cast Iron

Chewy Layered Roti and Kickass Dip

May 21, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes three 8-inch roti
Author Notes

How to make soft, chewy and layered roti (or unleavened flat bread) at home. Hint: It's ALL about the dough. And what's a roti without its dip? This dip is made from curried cannellli purée with cayenne-spiced olive oil. —Mandy @ Lady and pups

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Mandy lives in Beijing and refused to follow measurements for most of her life—until she realized how necessary they are.
WHAT: An Indian flatbread that takes things to the next level when served warm, alongside a spicy, yogurt-based hummus.
HOW: After finding balance in the water-heavy roti dough, fold and roll it out several times before forming it into a disk. Bake until golden-browned and puffed, then dip in vast amounts of puréed, spiced cannelli beans.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It's a good thing this recipe yields so much of the yogurt-based, chile-spiced Kickass Dip, or else we would have finished it before getting to use it on the roti, which would have been a shame because it's a match made in snack-time heaven. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the chewy layered roti:
  • 300 grams (appoximately 2 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon) unbleached bread flour, plus more if needed
  • 4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) of salt, plus more for sprinkling later
  • 240 grams (1 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon) warm or hot water, about 130° F or 55° C
  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) cold water, plus more if needed
  • 113 grams (8 tablespoons) clarified butter, warmed
  • For the curried cannellini purée and cayenne-spiced oil:
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • one 400-gram can cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons potato starch or cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. For the chewy layered roti:
  2. NOTE: The ratio between flour and water in this dough, is 1 part flour to 0.9 part water by weight, so that’s a “90% hydration," sometimes up to 95%, which means 100 grams of flour will need 90 grams to about 95 grams of water. It's very, very wet. The roti dough absorbs all this water in 2 stages, which somehow increases the amount of water the flour can absorb, and the smoothness and shine of the overall texture. I’ve tried my best to provide the measurement in volume, but it’s highly recommended that you measure by weight. Because of it's super-wetness, I’m not sure if this can be done by hand. Perhaps mixing the dough vigorously with the back of a wooden spoon would work.
  3. Combine the bread flour and salt in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Check the temperature of the warm water—it should be too warm to leave your fingers in comfortably for more than a few seconds. Add it into the stand mixer and mix on low first for a couple of minutes. The dough should look “dry” in the very beginning, then extremely wet and sticky once the flour and water are completely blended. Increase to high-speed and beat the dough for another 6 to 7 minutes, scraping down the sides once in between. At the end of which, the dough should be able to pull away from the bowl when machine’s running, but sticks right back once the machine stops.
  4. Now add the cold water one tablespoon at a time. After adding the first, knead on high for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough pulls away cleanly from the bowl, then add the next tablespoon and repeat. Check the texture of the dough, which should be extremely shiny, smooth, and elastic, like lava-silk with small pockets of air within. The dough should run to the side when the bowl’s tilted. Suspend it high in the air, and it should droop down and stretch slowly without breaking. If it breaks or tears easily or seems grainy in texture, it’s too dry. Add another tablespoon of water. If it doesn’t pull away cleanly from the mixer bowl, it’s too wet. Add a couple tablespoons of flour. Once the dough reaches the correct consistency, cover the bowl with plastic-wrap. Let it sit for 1 to 2 hours (meanwhile make the dip).
  5. Preheat the oven on 450° F (230° C), with a pizza stone or a flat cast-iron skillet on the middle-upper rack.
  6. Lightly flour the working surface, then with well-oiled hands, divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Lightly flour 1 portion, form it into a ball, then gently and slowly roll it out into 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick circle (keep the bottom floured or it’ll stick). Brush the top evenly with clarified butter and sprinkle with a bit of salt, then roll it into a log and curl it up like a snail. With the seam/curl-side facing sideway (smooth side-up), shape it back into a ball by gently tucking the dough underneath itself with your hands. Lightly flour the dough again, then gently and slowly roll it out into 1/4-inch thick disk (thicker roti will be stringy and chewy, whereas thinner roti will be crispy and flaky). Brush a sheet of parchment with clarified butter and transfer the dough on top. Brush the dough again with clarified butter.
  7. Turn your oven broiler on and, and move the parchment with the roti on top of the pizza-stone or cast-iron skillet. Bake until golden browned and puffed, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  1. For the curried cannellini purée and cayenne-spiced oil:
  2. In a pot over medium heat, cook the red onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, curry powder, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper. Once the onion is very soft, drain the canned cannellini very well and add to the mixture. Cook for a couple more minutes, then transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon of potato starch, then blend until smoothly puréed. Add 1 more teaspoon of potato starch if the mixture needs to be thickened further. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil with cayenne pepper, cumin and black pepper, and let it sizzle for 15 seconds. Swirl the spiced oil into the cannellini purée, and serve with layered roti.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • howcool
  • Jim Price
    Jim Price
  • AntoniaJames
  • tia

9 Reviews

howcool August 22, 2016
All the measurements are Imperial EXCEPT the 400g can of cannellini. Why was it written that way, and how did that get past the editors???
Jim P. February 1, 2016
What the heck is potato starch?
tia January 2, 2016
I just made this on a whim since it called for stuff I already had. I was going to take it to a get together tonight but screw them. I'm eating it all myself!
AntoniaJames September 16, 2015
Seriously, yes. We eat a lot of roti, but I buy and freeze pre-made, uncooked roti from the local Indian grocers. I simply must try this. Congratulations. ;o)

P.S. I'll probably roll some and freeze some of the dough, uncooked, to test them, given how roti have become such an important convenience food in my kitchen. Stay tuned . . . . .
Lisa August 8, 2017
How did frozen dough come out?
Pam September 16, 2015
Sounds great, making this weekend. By the way, Lady and Pups = best blog EVER.
mykal001 May 22, 2014
Thank you so much!! I'm making this on Saturday!!!
mykal001 May 22, 2014
How much tomato paste is needed for the recipe? It's mentioned in the directions but not the ingredient list. This sounds terrific!
Mandy @. May 22, 2014
MYKA: oops!! So sorry! It's 3 tbsp! Sometime ingredients get left out during the upload for some weird-tech reasons...