How I Learnt to Make Perfect Roti

I’ve always been rubbish at making roti, I tried and failed so many times, I gave up. They were either overcooked or undercooked and never round. Not even close to being round, you could make a doughy puzzle with them.  I would work up such a sweat to produce something that was barely edible. It made me feel so deflated that I stopped trying.

When we moved to our apartment, I wanted see how I could cope without a maid but my husband made an excellent point. Who would make the roti? He never complained when I did make roti (if you could even call them roti!), but he knew how much the process of it all sent me close to an emotional breakdown. I can cook Indian dishes, no problem, we just needed someone to make the roti for his tiffin (the lunchbox he takes to work).


The younger maid from my mother-in-law’s place owns a bicycle and she volunteered to come over and make the roti every morning for us, result! I knew her, I was comfortable with her and she speaks a little bit of English, this was a perfect arrangement. We live less than 1km from my in-laws place so it wasn’t too much of a hassle for her to come and she always enjoyed playing with Alfonso.

The great roti problem solved….

I have written about this maid before,  when she started stealing my favourite snack from the fridge. At the time I really couldn’t begrudge her it and once I had overcome the fact I wouldn’t be having dhokla for breakfast as planned, I found the humour in it. Sadly, things got extreme when she stole a large sum of cash from my mother-in-law’s bedroom. We were both, my mother-in-law and I, in the house at the time and due to the sequence of events, we knew it was definitely her. I was so upset when she had to be fired, I had really bonded with this woman beyond our language barrier after knowing her for over two years.

It was extremely emotional but necessary for her to go, obviously we will never know what circumstances led her to steal that amount of money but this behaviour could not be ignored. It really took it out of me and even though the money wasn’t mine, I felt betrayed. I was also upset that the maid must be going through a hard time. I had to start making roti until we could find a suitable maid. 

The first couple of attempts produced catastrophic results, Slowly they started to improve, there were soft instead of stodgy, the shape of them became smoother and one fine day, one of them actually ballooned! Those who are unfamiliar with the craft of roti making, when a roti balloons, it’s perfect! I didn’t know I could feel so much joy watching a roti inflate!

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Three weeks later, we had found a new maid, but something strange and unexpected had happened, I was enjoying making the roti every morning! To this day I am still getting up early to make round roti. I find it somewhat therapeutic and relaxing. It really is a matter of loosening your wrists a little, discovering the best ratio of water to flour and most importantly, practice! Practice makes perfect! My mother-in-law came over for lunch recently and was really impressed by my gol gol roti . I am going to admit it, I am pretty proud of myself…and my husband has gained 10lbs!


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