Sunday, December 27, 2009

Radish Makai Roti

Day 3 of the recipe marathon is a mixed bag but quite heavy on Indian fare.

Let's start with a choice of two tasty appetizers- zucchini fritters and quinoa hash browns, and then a sweet potato-saffron protein shake to fortify us, and we're ready for a journey through India.

Once we arrive in the subcontinent, there are a couple more appetizers waiting for us- raw banana patties and baked masala vadai. Then, in Southern India, try some vegetable sukke from the Konkan coast, eggplants in a spicy peanut gravy from Andhra Pradesh, curry leaves kuzhambu from Tamil Nadu, majjige huli from Karnataka, Bittergourd in spicy Kolhapuri gravy from Maharashtra and lemon rice, popular all over Southern India.

Then we travel North to Punjab for a taste of dal makhani. Indian cuisines use rice in innovative ways, and here we have four recipes to showcase rice: methi corn pulav, methi pulao, egg biryani and nargisi biryani. Finally, a bread recipe gets an Indian touch with spices.

Back from India, the festive spirit is still in the air and we have a dessert table loaded with mexican cookies, pear and blue cheese crostata, lemony raspberry muffins and a gingerbread house.

I took a trip to Punjab too, by attempting to make Recipe #6: Makai ki roti (corn flatbread), inspired by this recipe.

Only, my roti had a bit of an identity crisis- it was made with masa harina instead of makai atta (regular corn flour) and using a tortilla press (exactly like this one) instead of being rolled out. So the only reason it is a mooli roti and not a tortilla is because of the radish and the spices, I guess.

Several months ago, I found a new heavy-duty tortilla press on Craigslist and uncharacteristically for me, bought it on a whim and stuck it in a kitchen cabinet. For the sake of the tortilla press, so it would have something to press, I bought a bag of masa harina and stuck that in the freezer. You see where this is going. Today, both were put to good use for the first time.

The dough was simple: masa harina, grated diakon radish, red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and salt, mixed into a soft pliable dough with hot water and pressed into shape with the tortilla press, then cooked in a cast iron pan.

For my first attempt, the rotis turned out fairly good! They are perfect winter fare. We enjoyed them with boondi raita.

I know people use roti presses that are very similar (or the same?) to tortilla presses. Does anyone use those and are they any good for making regular rotis with wheat atta? Thanks for your input.

The marathon continues tomorrow- stay tuned! All the participants are coming up with fantastic recipes and making this so much fun for me.


  1. Nupur, I bought a tortilla press to make our chapatis and did not fare well. I have had it collecting dust for 10 years now.

    Don't take my word for it, give it a shot because those makai ki rotis you have there do look so good.

  2. Nupur have company..I too bought a tortila/ roti maker on a friend's suggestion. The regular atta roti turns out rubberyon the inbuilt heater. Only fresh parathas stand a chance with that equipment. But I guess the Makai roti must have turned out well for you.

  3. Looks yummy Nupur, boondi raitha is an all time favorite. The round up and your writing are both classy.

    Mom had one of those roti makers (thanks to tele shopping network of the 90's) that worked well, just like the ad,rotis used to slide out..hope this is the roti press that you are looking for..It is available in many indian grocery shops..

  4. we used o have one of the roti presses some years ago, but they never turn out the rotis as thin as i like mine, so no good (in my opinion) for regular rotis.

  5. I love how innovative this is! Masa Harina is new to me ... but I can see how mooli would work well here!

  6. Your recipe came on time. I have some radishes in the fridge awaiting. Going to give it a shot tonight. Thanks Nupur.

  7. indosungod- These tortilla presses are designed for corn tortillas and do work very well for them. But one of these days, I'll give it a shot for regular rotis/parathas!

    Anjali- Oh, this one is a simple mechanical press, no cooking element in it, you just press the tortillas and cook them separately on the stove. So yours is a different kind that cooks the roti as well.

    sowjanya- Thanks! No, this press does not cook the rotis, only presses them.

    Kamana- I can see how an expert hand would be much faster at making rotis the traditional way! I might try it for stuffed parathas just to see.

    Sheetal Kiran- Masa harina is very fine corn flour, don't know how exactly it compares to makai atta.

  8. I have a tortilla maker, the electric one. After couple of attempts I mastered to make chapathis with that. I was so happy using it cause it is so fast, I guess I made 25 to 30 chapathis with in 15 to 20 minutes. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law did not like them, so I had to pack it and set aside.

  9. Hey nupur, I tried using makkai ata that we get here in india, to make corn tortillas. Failed to bring it to a shape, since there is no gluten in it to bring it together you see. I had to mix some maida to bring it to a shape. Is this flour different from masa harina that you get there?

  10. I make my roti by hand, but I just bought Andrea Nguyen's great new book, "Asian Dumplings" and am considering getting one just for making some of the skins.

  11. So many new recipes to try! The corn rotis look tasty, Nupur -- does the radish keep it somewhat moist?

  12. Any time Makki di roti and sarson da saag are mentioned my mouTh waters.I can't wait to try this out chatpati!

  13. Hi Nupur,

    I have an electric tortilla maker which I bought for rotis. It had a non-stick surface. I don't remember the brand and it is stashed away somewhere. It is not worth it for chapatis came out like rubber. I have some Masa harina and am tempted to make this, but how do you prevent it from not breaking or holding the shape?

  14. The makai roti looks so good.
    I am tempted to buy a tortilla maker that they have in our supermarket. The lady who gives a demo makes good rotis, but I am slightly vary of the equipment. And with the kids grown up and gone, for making those 6 rotis, I think I should put in the extra effort myself.

  15. I have never tried making makai ki roti. This sounds good!
    Oh- and I missed # 3 (no internet etc)...but today I'll try to post 2 to make up for it..:)

    I haven't gotten much of a chance to read all the wonderful recipes that have been posted by the participating bloggers- but can't wait to do so, once I have a wee bit more time.

  16. Ok, I just posted my day-late recipe..:)

  17. Makke Ki Roti - I love corn so think would love the rotis as well. Nice winter-winter fare Nupur.

  18. Hima- The post above has a link which explains what masa harina is, yes, it is a little different from corn atta.

    Diane- A lightbulb went off in my head! I never thought of using the press for dumpling skins. Must give it a try!

    Linda- Actually, the radish lost its moisture/water into the dough very quickly :) was still tasty though.

    susvaad- :)

    Suganthi- The trick is to use an appropriate amount of water to make the dough, too little and the roti will crack and too much and it will stick to the press. It is a trial and error sort of thing.

    radha- Yes, I am also always trying not to buy every kitchen appliance on the planet just because it exists :)

    Lavanya- Take your time, the posts will be here :)

    Ashwini- Thanks!


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