Makki di Roti – Winter Special

In celebration of Autumn, Mother nature is painting Sydney with beautiful shades of orange, red, yellow, brown and green. Leaves have fallen off the trees revealing the bare, vulnerable branches underneath. Wherever you turn your eyes, there is a picture perfect scenery to be taken in. I and my daughter enjoy jumping up and down in the dry leaves just like Peppa Pig. Crunching through the carpet of leaves, I sometimes wonder if Autumn is more beautiful than Spring.

Winter is just around the corner and its time to change the diet to include winter foods. ‘Makki di roti’ is a must-have during winters.  It is a traditional handmade bread using maize flour. While the combo, Makki di roti and Sarson da saag, is the most popular delicacy of Punjab, you can also enjoy this roti without going through the long process of making the saag. This recipe uses the winter vegetables, radish and fenugreek to make these scrumptious rotis. I like to enjoy them with dollops of desi ghee, spiced yoghurt and homemade achar. After all, Winter is the time for a little indulgence, isn’t it?

I remember when I was a kid, winter afternoons were spent basking in the sun either on the terrace or in the verandah, peeling oranges and munching carrots and radishes. Mum and other ladies in the neighbourhood would spend hours plucking leaves from the greens: spinach, fenugreek, mustard or taking out peas and green chickpea from pods. My Dad would come home for lunch and we would have these Makki ki rotis everyday sitting on folding beds out in the sun. Of course, getting rotis from the kitchen to verandah was a job for me. Mum would occasionally ask me to try my hand at one or two rotis and they would often break but helped me to start my practice early :).

Getting to the recipe, the dough for makki ki roti is made fresh everytime and is not refrigerated like the wheat dough. Refrigeration will make the dough release water and it  will not be easy to make rotis with such dough. Also, it is best to have this roti for lunch or breakfast but avoid it for dinner as it may be difficult to digest. I have shown here two varieties, one with radish and other with fenugreek leaves.

Makki ki Mooli wali (Radish and Maize bread)

Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Serves: 2 rotis

Ingredients

  • 1 small cup maize flour(makki ka atta)
  • 1/2 white radish or 2-3 red radish
  • 1/4 tsp carom seeds(ajwain)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water to knead
  • Cling wrap (optional)
  • ghee

Method

  1. Peel and grate the radish using the coarse side of the grater. You can use the white Daikon variety. I used red radish without peeling it as that is what I had in the fridge.IMG_8762
  2. Add salt, chilli powder and carom seeds. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Salt will help to ooze out the moisture from radish.IMG_8764
  3. Next, add maize flour and use the water released by radish to knead a smooth dough. The amount of flour added should be just enough to bind the radish together using the moisture released by radish.img_8766.jpgIMG_8767
  4. Use warm water if required to knead the dough adding little by little. The dough should be soft and smooth, some extra kneading may be required. Let it rest for 5 minutes.img_8773.jpg
  5. Meanwhile, heat the tawa. When hit, pour some desi ghee/oil on it.IMG_8791
  6. Cut a small piece of cling wrap enough to cover the rolling board(chakla). Tuck in the cling wrap from all sides.
  7. Place a small ball of dough on the board and flatten it using hands. img_8797-e1530175500504.jpg
  8. Pinch the edges as they split using fingers and continue to tap the roti with hands to make it thinner and bigger.img_8800.jpg
  9. Makki ki roti is usually thicker than wheat rotis, somewhere around the thickness of paranthas. If you make it too thin, it will not result in soft rotis after cooking.img_8802.jpg
  10. When the desired size and thickness is reached, use one hand to flip the rolling board (chakla) upside down while using other hand to hold the roti.
  11. Next carefully peel the cling wrap out and put the roti on hot tawa. img_8803.jpgimg_8795.jpg
  12. Cook on both sides applying ghee/oil.IMG_8804
  13. When the roti is cooked on both sides, remove from tawa.IMG_8805

The use of cling wrap is completely optional. Alternatively, you can grease the tawa lightly and sprinkle some dry flour on it to ensure the roti does not stick to it and come out easily. If you do not have cling wrap, cut a clean plastic bag and use instead.

Makki ki Methi wali (Fenugreek leaves and Maize bread)

Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Serves: 1-2 rotis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small cup maize flour(makki ka atta)
  • 1/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water to knead
  • Cling wrap (optional)
  • ghee

Method

  1. Wash and chop the fenugreek leaves. I have used frozen leaves as fresh methi is not easily available in Sydney.img_8786.jpg
  2. Add salt and chilli powder.
  3. Add the flour.img_8787.jpg
  4. Add warm water gradually to knead a soft and smooth dough.
  5. Use steps 5-12 listed above to make nutritious fenugreek rotis.img_8789-e1530176686340.jpgIMG_8793

To make plain makki ki rotis to go with saag or butter alone, just skip the radish/fenugreek and use flour, salt and chilli powder to make dough using warm water.

Enjoy these rotis hot with dollops of butter, spiced yoghurt and home-made nimbu ka achar!

Troubleshooting Makki ki roti

If you are making this roti for the first time, it is quite easy to go wrong but remember it is not the end of the world! Following tips and tricks can come in handy to save the day:

  1. If you find it to difficult to flatten the rotis using hands, put another layer of cling wrap on top of the dough ball and use a rolling pin gently to flatten it.
  2. Maize flour is gluten free, hence, it does not bind together. If you are unable to handle the dough and it constantly breaks, you can always mix some wheat flour to make it pliable. Then roll the rotis using the pin.
  3. If the roti breaks while flipping or while putting on tawa, just start again.
  4. If you add extra water in the dough by mistake, simply add some more flour to fix it.
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