Part of being Desi is appreciating Asian staple foods like roti (chapatis) and how good they taste especially when freshly made.
But as good as they may be to indulge in, roti can be unhealthy especially when consumed in large amounts.
DESIblitz explores five healthy alternatives that you can try, replacing your craving of roti with some equally delicious options.
1. Multigrain Rotis
The best thing about multi-grain rotis is that they can also be eaten as a tea time snack.
Multi-grain rotis are not only perfect for getting that roti fix, but they also incorporate healthy whole-grains into your diet.
- 75g organic whole wheat flour
- 75g organic jowar flour (white millet flour)
- 75g organic bajra flour (black millet flour)
- 75g organic ragi flour (finger millet flour)
- 75g organic soybean flour
- 75g organic makki flour (maize flour)
- 1 tbsp ajwain seed (ova)
- 1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1.5 tbsp white sesame seed (til)
- 1 t/s salt
- 1.5 tbsp hot oil
- 150 ml hot boiling water
- Sift all the flour, seeds and salt into a bowl. Mix together with a spoon. Pour hot to boiling water and warm oil onto the mixture.
- Cover and keep aside for 5-10 mins.
- Once cooled, knead into a soft dough and cover with cling film, or a damp cloth. Keep aside for 5-10 mins. Make small balls about an 1.5 inch.
- Roll the balls with the roller into a round or oval shape about 3 to 4 inches.
- Dust some flour onto the roller or the dough will stick to it. Repeat the same process with the rest of balls.
- Place a iron tawa (griddle) or pan on high heat. Once the pan is nicely heated, reduce the flame to a medium heat. Keep the rotis over the pan.
- Cook the rotis on both sides until you see golden brown specks, or dots on rotis. Once they are a nice golden brown colour, take them off the heat.
2. Wholemeal Pitta Bread
Wholemeal pitta bread is a great way to replace roti, and it also saves the time of having to make it yourself.
Wholemeal pitta bread will fill you up as quickly as roti will, and is perfect as a healthier option.
Not only will you be consuming less calories, there will be more of a variety to choose from.
- Tesco 6 Wholemeal Pitta Bread ~ £0.50
- Asda 6 Wholemeal Pitta Bread ~ £0.49
- Aldi 6 Wholemeal Pitta Bread ~ £0.50
- Sainsbury 6 Wholemeal Pitta Bread ~ £0.50
With that perfect chicken curry, this healthy alternative will taste divine.
3. Mini Plain Naan
Just because naan isn’t good for you, doesn’t mean there isn’t a healthier version to opt for.
Sainsbury’s ‘Be Good to Yourself’ naan only contains 3 percent fat.
With no artificial preservatives, this appetising replacement comes in a pack of 4 which is more than enough to replace 2 rotis – which is what an average Desi eats with one meal.
- Tesco 2 plane Naan Breads ~ £0.95
- Asda 2 plain Naan Breads~ £0.93
- Sainsbury 4 plain mini Naan ~ £0.90
If you opt for healthier naan bread, be sure to eat it with a low fat curry.
4. Cornmeal Roti
Cornmeal roti is a great way to consume less fat and is also good as a vegetarian choice.
Cornmeal dough can also be used as a great pizza base as well.
- 240g medium ground corn flour/cornmeal (makki atta)
- 300ml boiling water, (can be adjusted as needed)
- A little oil or ghee (clarified butter) to line the plastic bag
- 1 plastic food bag, cut open on 3 sides, leaving one side intact.
- Ghee to serve (optional)
- Place cornmeal flour in a heat resistant bowl. Add boring water, mix with a spatula and leave until it is cool enough to handle.
- Knead a little to make a soft but firm dough, enough to roll out. Leave for 30 minutes for a softer smooth dough.
- Start heating griddle to medium level.
- Divide dough into 8-10 portions. Roll one portion into a ball and oil it a little.
- Corn dough is sticky and oiled plastic makes rolling it out easier. Open the plastic bag layers and spread a thin film of oil on both inner surfaces.
- Place the oiled dough ball on the centre of the bottom layer of plastic bag.
- Roll out through the plastic by pressing it gently in a circular motion with your fingers.
- Lift the whole bag, with roti in it, and place it gently on your left palm.
- Peel the top plastic sheet off gently.
- Transfer it over to the other oiled palm, bottom plastic now on top.
- Gently (it breaks easily) peel the 2nd layer of plastic off
- Transfer the roti gently onto the pre-heated tava/griddle.
- After a minute or two, turn over gently using a wide spatula. While it is cooking, you can roll out the next roti.
When finished, immediately serve it with Sarson Ka Sag or Palak Paneer.
5. Gluten Free Rice Flour Roti
Gluten Free Rice Flour Roti is something to think about as it will not only help you cut bad fats out of your diet, but also give you the chance to combine the taste of rice and roti together.
- 140g rice flour
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 475ml water
- 60g extra rice flour for rolling
- Bring the water, oil and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- When the water just begins to boil, add in the rice flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Once the water and flour are well mixed, just let the dough hang out in the pot until it cools enough to handle with your hands.
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
- Knead with your hands for about a minute. The dough with start to get gummier and hold together better. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plate so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Heat a tava or a cast iron pan (any kind of pan will work if you don’t have a tava or a cast iron pan) over medium low heat. Let it heat while you roll out your first roti.
- Break off a golf ball sized piece of dough, knead it in your hands a few times and form a disk.
- Roll the disk into the rice flour and roll out to less than 1 mm thick.
- Carefully transfer the rolled out roti to the pan.
- Let it cook until you see bubbles start to form. Then either using your fingers, or a pair of flat tipped tongs flip the roti.
- Let it cook on the other side until you see more bubbles form.
- Turn on a second gas burner on high and transfer the roti directly to the flame. Let it cook for about 15 seconds on each side. (You can also just turn up the flame on the existing burner, move the pan and transfer the roti to the flame. Just don’t forget to turn the heat back down to medium low!)
- Repeat the process.
From making these rotis yourself, to buying them, these alternatives cut out the unhealthy ingredients, but still ensure the same great taste.
Try these recipes for yourselves to see how much they help you.
Who knows, maybe changing one small thing like roti might inspire a complete new healthy lifestyle?