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Rumali Roti

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Rumali Roti is an Indian flatbread that you simply must try!

Rumali rotis aren’t only delicious and fun to serve, they’re actually quite light.  If you’re like me and want to cut back on your carb intake while still enjoying a good roti or two, then this rumali roti recipe might be just what you’re looking for. Over the years I have tried a few recipes for rumali roti but this is now my go-to recipe. These paper-thin rotis are excellent for dipping into curries  such as this Old Delhi style grilled butter chicken or using as wraps.

Rumali Roti

What are rumali rotis?

Rumali roti, also known “roomali roti,” is a type of unleavened Indian flatbread. The name “rumali roti” translates to “handkerchief bread” in Hindi, and as it is so thin and resembles a handkerchief.

What should rumali rotis look like?

Thin and Large: Rumali rotis are extremely thin and can be quite large, often reaching the size of a large handkerchief or even larger. You roll the dough until it becomes very thin, which gives the bread its unique texture.

You can prepare your rumali rotis smaller if you must. Make them as large as your pan will allow. If you have a large pan, I highly recommend making them larger.

When cooked correctly, rumali roti is soft, elastic, and slightly chewy. It should be pliable enough to fold or roll without breaking.

What is the difference between chapattis and rumali rotis?

Chapattis use chapatti flour which is a fine mix of whole wheat and plain white flour. You could actually use a little chapatti flour in rumali rotis if you like which is also good.

Another difference is that rumali rotis are much thinner than chapattis. Think a quarter of the thickness! 

How are these rotis cooked?

Traditionally, rumali roti is cooked on an upside down, very hot wok-like pan. You will see photos of this method below. They can, however be prepared in any hot pan that is not non-stick.

The pan or wok are first splashed with salt water and then the dough is rolled and stretched and then slapped onto the wok or into the pan.

It cooks very quickly due to its thinness. It’s then removed, folded or rolled, and served hot.

How do you serve rumali rotis?

These delicious rotis are traditionally an accompaniment to various Indian dishes, particularly those with rich gravies or curries. They can be used to scoop up the curry or wrap around pieces of meat or vegetables. They are also popular as a street food snack, where it might be folded into a cone shape and served with various fillings.

Can you store these rumali rotis in the fridge?

Yes but it’s worth noting that rumali rotis are best when served fresh, as their thin texture can make them prone to drying out.

If you plan to store them for an extended period, you can also consider freezing them. To freeze, wrap each roti individually in aluminum foil, then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. You can freeze them for weeks. Thaw them in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.

Remember that while storing can extend the life of rumali rotis, their texture may not be as perfect as when freshly made. It’s always best to enjoy them soon after cooking for the best experience.

How do you store rumali rotis?

Following is the best advice I can give you. I find that taking these steps will ensure rumali rotis that are almost as good as fresh out of the pan.

Allow Them to Cool:

Let the rumali rotis cool down to room temperature after cooking but before storing. This helps prevent condensation inside the storage container, which can make the rotis soggy.

Stack with Parchment or Paper Towels:

Place a piece of parchment paper or a clean, dry paper towel between each roti as you stack them. This helps to prevent them from sticking together and makes them easier to separate when you want to use them.

Wrap in Aluminum Foil:

Wrap the stack of rumali rotis in aluminum foil. The foil helps to retain moisture and keep the rotis soft and pliable. Make sure to wrap them but not too tightly to avoid crushing them.

Place in an Airtight Container:

Put the wrapped stack of rumali rotis inside an airtight container. This extra layer of protection helps maintain freshness and prevents them from absorbing any strong odors from the refrigerator.

Store in the Refrigerator:

Place the airtight container with the wrapped rotis in the refrigerator. Refrigeration helps extend their shelf life. You can store them this way for 2-3 days.

How do you reheat rumali rotis?

When you’re ready to use the rumali rotis, you can reheat them. Heat a skillet or tava (griddle) and warm each roti briefly on both sides. This will make them soft and pliable again, similar to when they were freshly made.

Step by Step Photographs

Ingredients for rumali roti

Get your ingredients together before starting.

Flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl with oil.

Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl and add the oil.

Mixing the dough together in a mixing bowl.

Work the oil into the flour. It will look crumbly. Then start pouring in the milk while continuing to mix with your hand.

Top tip: When mixing the dough at this stage, just use one hand. Keep your other hand dry. 

Kneading the dough together in a bowl.

Knead the dough together. It will be quite wet at this stage.

Kneading the dough on a floured surface.

Lightly flour a clean surface and begin kneading. Be careful not to add to much flour. Just enough so that it doesn’t stick to your hands.

Stretching the dough and kneading

Knead for about 10 minutes, stretching the dough as you do. Keep stretching. You will find that the dough becomes easier to stretch without adding much flour at all.

Kneading the dough.

Keep stretching and kneeding! 10 minutes at least if not longer!

Dough ball for rumali roti.

Work the dough into a ball, pinching the bottom together. Your dough should still be very soft and just a bit sticky to the touch.

The dough ball rubbed with oil and in a mixing bowl.

Rub a little oil over the surface of the ball and place in a bowl.

Dough ball resting under a damp cloth.

Cover the dough ball with a damp cloth and let it rest for at least 2 hours. 4 – 6 will be even better.

Dividing the dough for rolling out.

Dived the dough into 4 equal portions. You could make more equal sized portions if using a small pan.

Rolling out the dough.

Roll a section of dough into a ball and then flatten. Roll it out as thin as you can get it.

Showing fingers through the rolled out dough so that people can see how thin it is.

We’re talking paper thin here! This will become even thinner when stretched across the wok.

An upturned wok splashed with salt water.

Stir the salt and water together until the salt dissolves into the water. Heat a wok until flaming hot and turn it over. Splash the surface with the salt water.

Placing the rolled roti onto the wok.

Place the rolled roti on top and cook for about 15 seconds.

rumali roti turned and cooking on a hot wok.

Turn it over and cook for about 5 seconds. Repeat a few times until cooked through. The whole process should only take about 20 to 30 seconds.

Rumali Roti

Fold the rumali rotis into squares. These are quite big and you can tear off little bits to dip into your curry.


Yield: 8

Rumali Rotis

rumali roti turned and cooking on a hot wok.

Rumali rotis are much thinner and lighter than chapattis and tortillas but they are just in good used as a wrap. You will also enjoy these rumali rotis as a lighter alternative to naans ane they are great dipped into a curry.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 250g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 250ml hand hot milk
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 3 tbsp salt


  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the 1 teaspoon salt, the sugar and the oil, then slowly pour in 250ml (1 cup)  warm milk while working it in with your hand.
  2. Form into a soft dough and knead for at least 10 minutes on a flour-dusted surface. You do not want to add too much flour. Just enough so that the dough is not sticking to your hands but is still soft.
  3. Form this into a smooth dough ball and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, separate the dough into eight small balls or four large balls. I like them large for wrapping, but the smaller balls may be better for light snacks. Using a rolling pin, roll out one of the balls into a circle. You want the rotis to be as thin as you can get them. Paper thin! I usually roll out and cook the rotis one at a time for ease.
  5. When ready to cook, stir 3 tbsp salt into 250ml (1 cup) water until all of the salt has dissolved.
  6. Now heat a pan that is not non-stick over a high heat. You want your pan to be flaming hot before adding your first roti. Dip you hand in the salt water mixture and splash it all over the surface of the pan. Do this a few times so that the whole surface is covered. The pan surface will turn white from the salt which adds flavour and also stops the rumali rotis from sticking to the pan.
  7. Place your first rumali roti in the pan and cook for about 15 seconds. Carefully flip it over and you will see light brown spots which is good. Allow to cook on this side for 3 seconds, then flip again for 3 seconds and once again for 3 seconds.
  8. Remove the rumali roti from the pan and fold it into a square shape. Cover to keep warm.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough, slashing a little more salt water into the pan. This will cool it down some and also ensure your remaining rotis don't stick.
  10. Repeat the folding process for each rotis and cover to keep warm. These are best served immediately while they are still hot from the pan but you can keep them, covered for about 30 minutes if needed.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 18Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 2922mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

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Wednesday 2nd of October 2013

This looks ace. I've long been thinking of making a stuffed paratha or some such Indian bread for the kids to see if they like it but might try this first.

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