How to make Chapati/Chapathi: Indian Whole wheat flat bread

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Do you think there is a difference between roti and chapati/Chapathi? Some would say both are same, and some would argue no they are different.  I was in the first group until I seriously read about both of them. As you know India is famous for its diverse cuisine, northern part of India prefers whole wheat while south prefers rice.
 In south India we call whole wheat flat bread ‘chapathi’. Until my father diagnosis with high blood pressure, chapathi was an infrequent visitor in our house, and mom made it only during the weekends for breakfast. After his diagnosis, she would make it every day with less salt for dad’s dinner menu. She would ask me and my sister do you want chapathi or rice, we always say we are fine with rice. Then as she starts making them we will start eating chapathi and neglecting the rice. Later on Mom skipped asking us and would make chapathi for us too. Our way of eating chapathi was to dip in bowl of milk with some sugar. Now my princess likes to eat chapathi that way.   She and her little brother start mimicking my childhood everyday in one or other forms.
 My hubby likes to eat chapathi too; you can serve him three times a day with no problem. I start making chapathi only after marriage; still I haven’t mastered making exactly round flat bread. Earlier days it will resemble the various continents, mostly Australia or New Zealand. Now it is getting better still not more to go. In Mumbai in my in-laws house, a maid named Sulekha who used to come every day evening and within 30 minutes, she would make 25 chapathi, starting from dough, spreading, and cooking that too in perfect round shape. She would increase and decrease the flame of gas burner to get perfect cooking. I always would stand near the kitchen window and watching her cooking. We will chat about each other’s life. Unfortunately next time when I am visiting I won’t see her, she passed away due to gastric cancer two months ago. My mother-in-law has other helpers but she was  one who gave  advance notice of absence and did the job without any complaint.
Okay I come back to our discussion of Roti V Chapati:
 Chapati is typically made with whole wheat flour, water, oil and salt to make soft dough. . Sometimes dough is allowed rest for some time, and then it is rolled into disc.  Gluten formation makes it pliable and soft. The dough is spread using roller to round disc and it is cooked in heated griddle, some will cook half way in the griddle and then cook rest into the direct heat with the help of thongs. I don’t do two steps only cook them in heated griddle. Also I skip adding oil in the dough, just use a little to coat the dough and once it is cooked I brush one side with oil and keep the next one no greased side on the top of oiled surface of chapathi.
When whole wheat flour, water and salt is mixed and formed into flat bread it is called Phulka, my sister is really fan of this. She thinks this healthier version. Phulka also cooked in heated griddle and then into direct heat.
 Roti is a thicker version of chapati.   Roti can be made with whole wheat flour or with addition of  makki/ corn flour or bajra/ pearl millet flour to wheat flour will give makkii or bajraeki roti. You can make roti gluten free, using chana dal/ chick pea flour( missi roti) amaranth (Rajgira roti), Sorghum flour( Jowar roti)  etc. Usually roti are thicker than chapathi.
 However when whole wheat flour( atta) and all purpose flour ( Maida) is also combined to form thin bread called rumali roti. Here is you tube video where a guy is making biggest roti.. If you want to know 15 types of roti then take a look at this you tube video.
 So chapati is sister to phulka and cousin to roti. Hope you agree with me. 
 After seeing all these you tube video, you will be thinking I am going to make something that artistic, sorry, I can’t touch their expertise. 

I will make simple chapathi, easily made with trusted Kitchen Aid mixer. Dump whole wheat flour, salt and hot water first with paddle attachment combine everything. Change to dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes. Lightly grease your bowl rest the dough for about 15-20 minutes.

Divide the dough into small portion about size of lemon. Spread it into a round disc using roller; when you are ready to make chapathi/chapati, heat a griddle/tawa.  cook it in hot griddle, when small bubbles appears  in top part, turn the other side cook until both sides gets brown spots.  Slightly press the sides with spatula then it will help the chapathi to puff up. It takes about roughly 2 minutes.   Transfer to container, I store it in tortilla container.
Serve warm with curries, yogurt, pickles,
Chapati itself tastes bland so you need sides.  Or just put it in a bowl of milk and sugar and eat.
                                                        Print Recipe

How  To Make Chapati/Chapathi: Indian Flat Bread

Prep Time    26 minutes
Cook Time    15 minutes
Serves    12

2 cup whole wheat flour + ¼ cup extra for rolling
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup to 1 cup Hot water
2 tablespoon olive oil


In a bowl of kitchenaid stand mixer attached with paddle attachment, add whole wheat flour, salt and water and combine well to form a dough.
Change paddle attachment and with dough hook  knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until they become smooth.
Set aside in lightly greased bowl rolling the dough so that dough get  coat with oil , this will prevent dough from drying. Keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll them into round ball. Dump it into a bowl with ¼ cup flour you kept aside for rolling.
Using a roller, spread the dough into 6 inch thin round. Make sure to spread really thin, with a thickness of  credit card or around  ½ inch.  Also dust the  extra flour , so that  you won’t see any burnt flour in the griddle.
Once you spread   half of the dough  heat a griddle or tawa. When you sprinkle water it will sizzle and jumps that is sign that your girdle ready.
Carefully place  the spread disc and cook for a minute or until you will blisters or bubbles on the top, flip and cook the other side too for another 1 minute or until you see brown spots on both side.
While cooking the second side make sure to press the dough with a spatula that will help to retain steam inside the dough and chapati will puffs up.
Remove from the fire and transfer to a tortilla container with brushing both sides of first chapati with olive oil.  Close the lid immediately this will  make steam to trap inside and make soft chapati.
From next  one onwards you needs to brush only one side which spacing upward. Continue to cook chapati until you finish the entire dough.

You can store chapati at room temperature for  2 days  and reheat  in microwave for 15 seconds before serving .
Enjoy chapati with side dishes.


    • You can use butter or ghee to  make it more tasty.

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  1. says

    Hello Swathi,

    You know in my first Indian cooking class that is what I learn. How to make Chapati, as the lady was showing me how to make it the more I marvel about how similar the method of making chapati bread was compare to making the Mexican Flour Tortillas. Our cultures even though they are so far away from each other have so many similar things. At the end the lady place the chapati over the stove flame and turned once. They will puff again.

    Nice post.


  2. says

    Having never tasted chapathi nor roti, I will go with your definitions! They both sound yummy, but I really love what you’ve made here, so I’m hoping to sample (maybe even make!) these some day. Have a lovely weekend!

  3. says

    Mmmmm….I’d love to taste your chapathi! Fun to learn the differences between these flatbreads. Have a great weekend, my friend!

  4. says

    I did not know there is any difference. We use both words at home. When talk in punjabi it is ‘roti’ otherwise it chapatti. thanks for sharing their definition. Have a great weekend!

  5. says

    Even I used to..nope even now i love to eat Chapathi with sweet milk:-)Even now my Chpathis r like Australis maps:-( Urs looks soo perfect:-)

  6. says

    hi swathi, you got very pretty looking chapatis here, they look soft and delicious too. one of my favorite breakfast meal. reading from your info above, i sure agree that that chapati and roti are two different kind on foodies-
    have a nice day

  7. says

    I used to know a guy in New Orleans who was from Punjab and he gave me roti often, they are good and look just like your photos. Having seen your post I want to make some again.
    I had a kitchen aid for over 30 years, made hundreds of pizzas until it broke (not the motor, the machine base). Now I make breads and pizza in a food processor. Instead of 10 minutes in a kitchen aid it takes 1 minute in the cuisinart. I think I could make chapathi in cuisinart.
    Thank You Swathi for this post.

  8. says

    Even though I make rotis almost everyday, they still need improvement. And I like to pick up tips from posts like this. Thanks

  9. says

    thank u so much Swati for telling the difference between roti and chapathi U r step by step presentation is awesome and very useful treat to the eyes and a valuable demo for the Newbies.

  10. says

    thank you so much for such extensive recipe, i can never get it right but now i will try your method, i loved reading your write up too.
    Please can you also show how to make gluten free chapati, using chana dal/ chick pea flour( missi roti) amaranth (Rajgira roti), Sorghum flour( Jowar roti)as you mentioned, please please!

  11. says

    Swathi, I loved reading your great post about your family, and you always have such a thorough and easy to follow tutorials on everything you make.
    I love chapati, and I have never made it at home, but now I will for sure…thanks for sharing:)

  12. says


    You are always nice leaving a comment for my posts and I always miss your posts. I decided to read them from now on and reply. Thanks for stopping by and cheering me on with your comments. I am trying to get into the space to blog again.

  13. says

    Hey you shud have taken some gud time finding and sorting the differences…Nice post…and hey my hus also loves chapathi any time…Nice post dear..