We are all familiar and have eaten Indian rotis or chapatis due to the abundance of Indian restaurants in Malaysia.

These restaurants serve delicious and affordable food, and indirectly, expose and educate the non-Indians to the delectable and varied Indian cuisine.

Now, what is a chapati? A chapati is basically an Indian flatbread and is a staple in most Indian homes. The word 'chapati' comes from Hindi or Urdu, meaning 'slap' as the roti itself is made by the process of slapping the wheat dough between the hands. Nowadays, this is mostly achieved with a rolling pin.

One will be instantly hooked on this soft fluffy wheat bread, which is the perfect and delectable accompaniment to curries or daal (lentils).

Making this popular flatbread is very simple. This is done by mixing whole wheat flour (traditionally known as atta flour) with water to make a dough. It is then cooked on a tawa, which is a flat griddle pan over a stove. Some regions or cultures make them thinner while others a bit thicker - each culture presenting its own unique take on the simple chapati.

Did you know that there are over a dozen varieties of this humble chapati? Each one cooked with different ingredients resulting in different aroma and different taste but all still delicious.

Let's have a look at some of these chapatis.

Akki Roti

Originated from the south Indian state of Karnataka, akki means rice and roti means flatbread. Naturally, it is made from rice flour and mixed with vegetables such as dill leaves, carrots, coriander leaves and onions.

Chapati Roti

Originating from the states of Punjab and Gujarat, this is the type of roti that we are most familiar with as it is served in Malaysian Indian restaurants. It is usually served with a potato dish as an accompaniment, and don't forget the complementary daal.

Tandoori Roti or Naan

This roti is cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven which is lighted with coal from the bottom, giving it a smokey flavour. The surface will have some dark burnt spots as no oil or ghee were applied whilst being cooked, making them healthier!

Ragi roti

This is a very nutritious chapati as it is made from maroon-coloured millet flour with sliced onions and chillies. It is most popular in the southern Indian states and is usually served for breakfast.

Aloo Paratha

This is chapati stuffed with a spicy mash potatoes filling is almost everyone's favourite. Who wouldn't love a crispy dough encasing a delicious mixture of mash potatoes?


Shreemal is a rich saffron-flavoured roti; made from wheat flour, ghee, cream, sugar, yeast and saffron and baked in the tandoor oven. It is popular in the northern states and is said to have originated from middle East Asia.


Another delicious variant is the puri, in which flour dough is rolled to small discs and then deep fried. These discs puff up when fried. While most people use atta flour, some make it with a mix of atta and semolina flour, each lending a different taste and texture to the puris.

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Source: Desiblit, Wiwigo
Photo Credit: Desiblitz