Rotlas—flatbreads made with various flours, including wheat, rice, and millet—hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Gujarat. Millet rotlas, in particular, have gained popularity in recent years due to their health benefits and low glycemic index. However, rotlas made from millet flours have been a part of Gujarati cuisine for centuries.
In my family, we have grown up eating these rotlas. My grandmother made them with various millet flours, including sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet. She served them hot with a dollop of homemade ghee and a side of vegetables or lentils. The Kakdi Tameta Shaak, a side dish made from cooking cucumber and tomato with jowar flour, also featured below, is one such recipe.
The taste and texture of these rotlas were unique, and they always left us feeling satisfied and nourished. To my family and me, millet rotlas are a reminder of our cultural heritage and childhood experiences.
|Bajra or pearl millet flour||100 grams or ½ cup|
|Jowar or sorghum flour||100 grams or ½ cup|
|Ragi or finger millet flour||100 grams or ½ cup|
|Winter greens (check tip below), finely chopped||3 cups|
|Green chillies, crushed||1 teaspoon|
|Sesame seeds||1 tablespoon|
|Kachhi ghani Mustard oil||2 teaspoons|
|Ghee (For roasting on pan/tawa)||2 tablespoons|
|Fresh Surati chilies, medium fine chopped||100 grams|
|Kachhi ghani mustard oil||½ tablespoon|
|Mustard seeds||¼ teaspoon|
|Aamchur powder||½ teaspoon|
|Dhanya jeera powder||½ teaspoon|
Kakdi Tameta Shaak (cucumber and tomato sabji, with sorghum)
|Cucumber, peeled and grated||2 pieces|
|Tomato, grated||2 pieces|
|Green chillies, finely chopped||2 pieces|
|Vegetable Oil||2 tablespoons|
|Mustard seeds||½ teaspoon|
|Dhanya jeera powder||½ teaspoon|
|Red chilli powder||¼ teaspoon|
|Coriander, chopped||1 tablespoon|
|Sorghum Flour||1 tablespoon|
What You Will Need
A big vessel for binding the dough, knives, grater, rolling pin and board, and a tawa.
Keep all the ingredients ready before you start cooking.
To make the rotlas, first mix the creamy yogurt with jaggery.
Knead the millet flours with the jaggery-yogurt mixture and the remaining ingredients for the dough, except the ghee and sesame seeds. Rest the dough for 15 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
Divide the dough into small balls (you should be able to make between 15 and 20 rotlas with the dough). Using the rolling board and pin, roll out the dough balls into small round rotlas, like you would for chapati or rotis.
Heat up the tawa, grease it with ghee, and cook the rotla on the tawa. Let the rotla cook on one side and then flip it to cook the other side; ensure you adjust the flame so that it doesn’t burn.
To make the mirchi pickle, heat the kachhi ghani oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds and, as they splutter, add the hing powder. Stir quickly and add in the chillies.
Sauté the chillies until it no longer smells raw, then mix in the other ingredients.
For the kakdi tameta shaak, heat some oil in a non-stick pan. Add mustard seeds and, as they splutter, add the hing powder. Add the grated cucumber and tomatoes, then the chopped chillies and curry leaves. Let it simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
Now, add salt, turmeric powder, dhanya-jeera powder and red chilli powder.
Make a slurry with sorghum flour by mixing the flour and water well. The consistency of the slurry should be enough to pour smoothly into the cooked vegetables.
Just before serving the hot dish, add the slurry into the sabji and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure the vegetables are piping hot when pouring the slurry in it.
Garnish with finely chopped coriander. Serve all three dishes with sweetened creamy yogurt.
Bajra is supposed to increase body heat while jowar is believed to cool the body down. Depending on what time of year it is, and where you’re cooking this, you could change the ratio of the millet dough mix accordingly.
The rotlas by themselves make for a nice snack with hot chai.
Please make sure you wash and dry the greens thoroughly before adding them to the dough. If the greens are wet, the dough might not firm up.
Winter greens: I use a mix of methi, spinach, coriander, spring onion, and winter Surati garlic.
Neeta Shah is a proud homemaker who started cooking inspired by her mother. Her later culinary endeavours have been influenced by various other women in her life, be it her aunts from the US, or her mother-in-law who grew up in Madagascar. She currently enjoys exploring various ingredients and flavour palettes of regional Indian cuisines.
This recipe is part of the Millet Revival Project 2023, The Locavore’s modest attempt to demystify cooking with millets, and learn the impact that it has on our ecology. This initiative, in association with Rainmatter Foundation, aims to facilitate the gradual incorporation of millets into our diets, as well as create a space for meaningful conversation and engagement so that we can tap into the resilience of millets while also rediscovering its taste.
Rainmatter Foundation is a non-profit organisation that supports organisations and projects for climate action, a healthier environment, and livelihoods associated with them. The foundation and The Locavore have co-created this Millet Revival Project for a millet-climate outreach campaign for urban consumers. To learn more about the foundation and the other organisations they support, click here.
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