Indian Flat Bread - Phulka/Roti/Chapati (Puffed) and Layered




Indian bread or Roti is an unleavened flat bread which is made in almost every part of India. I will be showing 2 ways of how to prepare Indian flat bread.

Phulkas also known as Roti or Chapati in some regions are a whole wheat soft and thin puffed flat bread. The phulka is a daily bread for many regional Indian cuisines. It is not only rich in the nutrients and fibres that whole wheat brings along with it, but also low in fat and very light on the stomach.

Chapati can also be prepared in layers.Chapati can be one-layered of one-layered, two-layered, three-layered / triangular shaped and four-layered / squared. I will be showing how to make triangle ones too.


  • Till the step 4 of Rolling it is the same for both the varieties.
  • These are best served hot, but if you are going to be serving them a little later, invest in a hot case.
  • if you cannot serve them hot, then you can keep them in a container that keeps food warm like a casserole or in a roti basket. You can also wrap them up in a kitchen towel or napkin.

Step 1: Ingredients

Traditionally Roti’s are cooked on an iron skillet and later put on direct flame for it to rise and puff. Phulka is a hindi word, which means to puff. The roti gets puffed up when exposed to dry heat like that of the a direct flame and puffs up.


3 cups whole wheat flour/atta

1 to 1.25 cups water or more if needed

1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (optional)

1 to 2 tsp oil or ghee (optional)

Step 2: Begin Kneading

Take whole wheat flour/atta in a bowl. Seive the whole wheat flour with salt. Add a bit of water and ghee and start mixing.

Adding some water to the dough in parts, begin to knead the dough. Continue to knead the dough. Keep on adding water as required. If you add all the water at once then the flour will become too sticky to handle.

Keep on kneading till the dough becomes pliable and soft. The final dough consistency should not be very soft or hard.

Step 3: Dough

Now make small to medium balls of the dough. Roll the balls in the palms of your hands.

Step 4: Roll

Flatten the ball. sprinkle some whole wheat flour to the dough ball. Alternatively, you can also dust the rolling board with flour.

Start rolling the dough ball into a flat round circle. Sprinkle some wheat flour if the dough begins to stretch or become sticky while rolling. Make sure that the rotis are not thick as they take much time to cook.

Step 5: Phulka/Roti/Chapthi (Puffed) - Heat Pan

Turn on the gas stove and put the tawa/Iron skillet to make it hot. The tawa has to be sufficiently hot to make soft rotis. I generally make rotis on a high flame.

Regulate the temperature while making the rotis.

Now put the roti on a hot tawa/griddle. First cook one side. It should be less than half cooked or about one-fourth cooked. Bubbles should start to appear on one side.

Turn and cook the other side. This should be a little bit more cooked than the first side. Brown spots should be visible.

Step 6: Puff (Direct Flame)

Now hold the roti with a tong and keep the first side which was cooked, directly on fire. the roti will start to puff.

Turn and keep the other side on fire. The roti will puff more. Avoid burning the rotis.

Remove and apply ghee on the rotis. Applying ghee or oil keep them soft for a long time. Rotis made with this method is ideally served hot.

Serve the soft rotis with dal or a veggie dish.

Step 7: Puff on Iron Skillet

You can puff even on the skillet. Give a small press at the sides of chapati with your spoon. The middle portion will puff up. The flame should be medium and the pan sufficiently hot for puffing up. Similarly do pressing around.

Turn over and cook the other side.

Take it out from stove and brush some oil over to keep it soft.

Step 8: Layered Indian Flat Bread (Chapathi)

Dust a single dough ball with wheat flour.

Roll the dough ball into a circular shaped disc.

Sprinkle small quantity of oil and wheat flour on one side of the disc.

Fold the disc from the center into half for semi-circle shape.

Step 9: Semi Cicle

Brush some oil and wheat flour on the semi-circle.

Fold from the center of the semi-circle for a triangular shape. Dust with wheat flour.

Now roll the triangle into triangular shape with the rolling pin.

Step 10: Cook

Then put the triangle on medium flame on a hot tawa/Pan.

When bubbles appear then flip the side of the chapati.

Cook both sides of the chapati. Press down with a spatula and let it puff up.

Step 11: Serve

The layered chapatis can be topped with ghee / oil and kept in cloth / paper towels.

After finishing making all the parathas, give a gentle tap to define the layers.



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    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I have been looking for a way to make this for a long time after I ate it a lot, in Oman. We had an Indian cook who would make it and we ate it with hummus. This is wonderful to be able to find a way that I can reproduce the chapati that we ate thank you so much good job. if I remember right he called this poppit and sometimes we would eat it with something called subgee. thanks again.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Looks delicious. I love Indian style flatbread, but the stores charge too much for it so I don't buy it very often. I will have to try making it, now that I know how. I need a new cast iron pan first though.

    I know it is best to eat it fresh, but can it be stored for later? Could I make some and freeze it?

    2 replies

    Yes of course its best to have it hot. But you can store it.

    we can just partially cooking the roti/flat no brown spots are there. Allow it to come to room temperature and then wrap in a clean napkin. And store in a container .....and refrigerate. When you feel like having hot soft rotis....just heat the tawa and again cook them on both sides.

    I am the only one who will be eating it so I will have to store it and reheat it. Unless I eat it all when I cook it, which I could do, but probably shouldn't. Thank you for the instructions. :)


    3 years ago



    3 years ago on Introduction

    Cool! I always thought a tandoori oven was needed to make this flat bread.

    Would the typical naan flat bread served in restaurants be the single layered type?

    I'd like to do a version that uses amaranth flour and plenty of black cumin seeds.. and perhaps something in the shape of a pita!

    2 replies
    mile stonesnoop911

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Naan is made with yeast and comes in a different category. You can make them layered too I guess. Step 7 have showed how you can make phulka on an Iron skillet even if you don't have access to direct flame. Hope it helps you :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Naan is an oven baked bread made with yeast. Not quite the same thing.