Soft Chapati

How to make Soft Chapati?

Chapatis are Indian, unleavened round flatbreads traditionally made with stone-ground or stone-milled whole wheat flour. In Hindi Chapta or Chapti means something that is “flat”.

Chapatis have been a part of Asian/Indian cuisine for centuries. In India, whole-wheat flour known as “aata” is used as the most basic flour to prepare all sorts of flatbreads. 

"Aata or atta" flour is unrefined whole wheat flour where the entire grain of the wheat is ground in a stone known as Chakki retaining much of the bran needed for fibre and the gut health.

The wheat grain has three layers- outer protective bran, inner fatty embryo and the outer starchy endosperm.

Many Indian families still process the whole wheat flour traditionally. They buy their annual grain harvest that is handpicked, and then they sun treat the entire grain with some castor oil. They start by rubbing the outer protective bran layer with oil against their palms, and then they leave the wheat grains to sundry (conditioning, if the dictionary excuses) on their terrace for a good few hours.

They then fill their granaries for a year's supply and every month they take out few kgs of wheat to a nearby stone mill flour grinder to get their wheat ground into aata.

This chakki flour has at least four gms of more fibre compared to the regular wheat flour which is found in the market standing at merely 0.5gms and talk about just the plain flour, no mention of it.

A majority of Indian homes are still new to the gluten-free diet or the gluten-related coeliac symptoms. The reason could be how they mix the flour going by the method what the baking world today know as "Autolyse".

Autolyse is a resting period between mixing and kneading. In this method, the flour is mixed with water and is left to rest, allowing the flour to absorb the water. The dough is not allowed to integrate before the resting period, which restricts the gluten's activation that can interfere with the absorption of water. It would help if you had more time and patience as making the best chapati is a two-step process.

To me, it is a no wonder that gluten-free was an unheard term until at least a decade ago before I relocated to the UK. 

Now, with this background, let's get back to our chapati recipe. Chapatis don’t need any rising agents. Hence they are known as unleavened bread too.

They are traditionally made every single day in Indian homes as a part of the main menu to sweep away any dish with a vegetable, meat, gravy or curry. 

I don't know a single household in India who has never made a chapati during their lifetime. This flatbread accompanies any soup, broth, stew and a great lunch box winner!

Also known as 'Rotis' regionally, are easy to make, and are delicious and wholesome to enjoy in various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes with the same ease.

So here is how I make mine and it's worth trying. Don't worry about the shape. Here is the recipe.

How to make chapati?

Prep time: 10 min(excludes the resting time)
Cooking time: 20 mins
Total time: 60 mins
Yields: Approximate 6-8

1 cup- whole wheat flour plus extra for dusting and rolling
1/2 cup- tepid water
1/4 tsp salt
Ghee/melted butter/cooking oil for greasing and cooking(optional)

A mixing bowl, preferably non-plastic
A Rolling Pin
A Rolling board/pizza stone/any clean flat surface
A Tawa/skillet/frying pan
A pair of tongs
A damp kitchen cloth

1. Put the flour into a mixing bowl, gradually add water little- by- little and mix until all the flour combines with water and leave it to rest for half an hour or so. Don't knead the dough yet.

2. Add salt and gather the mix into a pliable lump. Knead for 2-3 mins to make a soft dough ball.

Divide the dough into 6 -8 equal-sized balls. This step helps to maintain the similar size of all the chapatis at the end.
Smear a little oil or dust some dry flour onto each ball to avoid them from sticking to each other.

Cover the bowl in a cling film or a damp cloth and allow the dough balls to rest for further 5-10  min before making chapatis.-This step helps the gluten to relax, resulting in soft flatbreads.

3. On a floured pizza stone or a rolling board,  take a dough ball and start rolling the dough to form a 5" circle by dusting dry flour as and when needed to avoid the dough from sticking to the rolling surface.
**Beginners, try and roll it slowly to avoid the creases and the folds, and take care not to use too much of dusting flour, as the chapatis go hard with too much of dry flour.

4. Heat a greased cast-iron griddle/ skillet or a tawa and wait till it becomes hot, then bring down the flame to medium-high.

5. Place the rolled chapati on the preheated tawa and cook for about a minute or until you see some raised spots appearing on the underside of the chapati, these are air pockets.

Then carefully flip it over and cook on the other side for about another minute.
**Be careful while handling chapatis while still on the tawa as the air pockets will release steam that swells up or puffs up the chapati, and this steam can burn your fingers while flipping the chapati.
Alternatively, it's safe to use kitchen tongs while flipping the chapati.

6. Now transfer this chapati onto a kitchen towel/dishcloth/napkin to help absorb the steam from the hot chapatis and continue making chapati with the other dough balls.

SERVING Suggestions:-  Brush one side of the chapati with melted butter or ghee and help them with any meal of your choice.


The resting period is very crucial in making the best chapatis or Rotis.

To retain the softness, flip the chapati once and cook on the other side.

Usually, chapatis cook very quickly, around a minute or two if using tawa, a cast-iron skillet. They can even burn at the same speed if not adequately monitored. The burnt chapati will leave a char on the tawa leading to igniting the next one too. Hence it is safer to scrape off the char with a damp towel, before making the next one.

If you are not immediately serving chapatis, it is best to stack all the cooked chapatis in a  hot case or on a cake tin lined with a cotton towel. The towel then helps to absorb the steam coming from the air pockets, preventing the chapatis from becoming soggy and going cold.

It is optional to use any fat while making chapatis. I usually refrain from using any ghee or butter or even oil if I'm serving chapatis immediately.


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  1. Thanks for sharing this Indian flatbread recipe, it looks so yummy! I love crispy flatbreads.

    1. Yes, I like the crispy ones to dip in chaai for a lazy breakfast day.

  2. The rotis have puffed up so well . It is a wonderful feeling to make and have home made rotis! The steps and pictures have been nicely described .Well done!

    1. Thanks Nisha, I resonate with that puff feeling.

  3. It's been quite awhile since I've made chapatis. Why is that? They're SO good and really easy to make. Terrific post -- thanks so much.

  4. India has so many different kinds of wonderful flatbread..these chapthis look so perfect.

  5. Just loving watching these cook when they puff up, that is so fun and delicious. Need to make a batch of yours soon as these would be perfect with a delicious warming curry and chutney. Stay well and take care

  6. I've always wanted to grind my own flour - is that strange?? I mean it's probably one of those projects I would do once, and then just go back to the store-bought version, but I still want to try it. I do enjoy chapathi, but I've never made them at home. They remind me quite a bit of tortillas, although the ingredients are slightly different. I'll have to try making my own now!!

  7. I love flatbreads of all kinds, but especially chapathi -- though I've never made them at home! I can't wait to try now! Loved learning about how they make the flour!

  8. Great recipe :) I would like to try it :)

  9. So in love with your ways ! Had from scratch chapati in ashram for weeks and it was amazing yet so simple !

  10. Wow, you are an expert in making these chappatis . It has puffed up so perfectly, Hasin! Thank you for the tips , really helpful. You are so right on the homemade flour , the freshness and softness of the roti cannot be compared. Great information on the atta flour .

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. These must be very delicious.

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  12. I can only imagine how amazing these homemade chapathis taste!! They are absolutely perfect!!

  13. This is one of my favorite types of bread.

  14. I love to eat chapati. I just had one the day before.

  15. These are beautiful, Hasin, and I can't wait to try them. Your instructions are perfect. You mentioned on my blog about a different kind of basil you have - are you referring to Holy Basil? We have a beautiful holy basil plant given to me by one of my students whose mother grows it.

    1. That's the basil I'm referring to David, holy basil called Tulsi. You are lucky to have both type of basils growing in your garden. Thanks for visiting my post today and hope you make some chapatis too. 😊

  16. Hasin your chapati looks so soft and fluffy. I usually use a non stick pan, but will definitely try with a cast iron skillet next time

  17. I love chapati, and yours look super good here! Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  18. I love your homemade flatbread recipe. This totally beats anything I can get at the store, both in freshness and flavor!

  19. Thank you for the recipe! I can't wait to try this!

  20. Well I have never heard or tried Chapatis, but I am a huge fan of all possible flatbreads, and this one looks delightful. Just a couple of weeks ago I tried (first time ever) making a Turkish flatbread, right onto a regular pan, and it turned great. I've decided I will never buy flatbread again. Now, I will need to try this recipe.

  21. Chapati and ghee keep me going doing an extended bus sines trip in Odisha a few years back. Having stomach issues, I just couldn't handle the spiciness of the local cuisine. I've made it, but it never tasted the same. Now, I know I was using the wrong flour. Thanks for the lesson...

  22. Hasin, these chapathis look wonderful! It's so cool how they puff up. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

  23. I need to try this recipe, it looks great!

  24. Look very delicious. Thank you for sharing recipe.

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  25. The last and only time I made chapati was with AP flour and I wasn't crazy about it. Thank you for the discussion on atta flour and the detailed process on make them. It's time to try making them again following your recipe. I love a good chapati and with the extra fiber I don't feel so guilty eating it. Thanks again!

  26. These chapati look amazing!!! I've never tried making my own, but now you've inspired me. I know my flatbread loving family is going to adore them! Thanks Hasin!

  27. These chapati look amazing! I always thought they would be much more complicated to make, but you've definitely inspired me to try them (although I think I will use kitchen tongs!)
    Julia x

  28. fantastic! great read. I love roti ! with so few ingredients so much magic can happen !


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