I’ve referred to Makki ki Roti (wheat-free Indian flatbread made with corn flour) with various saag recipes and thought you might enjoy learning to make them!
The dough is essentially about 2 parts corn flour and 1 part water. Salt and ajwain seeds are added for flavor. You can also add finely chopped cilantro, methi (fenugreek leaves), shredded daikon radish, or finely chopped/shredded green chilies, as you wish. The dough doesn’t hold together the way a wheat flour dough does, and can be a little tricky handling and rolling out. If it’s rolled out too thin, it will be fairly impossible to transfer it to the pan and to turn it over for cooking, without it completely breaking apart.
Traditionally, makki ki roti is not rolled out using a rolling pin. Instead, nimble hands flip, pat, and form each ball of dough into a perfectly round circle (about 6″ in diameter and about 1/8″ thick). Alas, this wonderful art is being lost, as the advent of plastic wrap has made it a much simpler task. Rolling out each ball of dough between layers of plastic wrap, plastic bag, or even a silicon baking mat (you will need to see through it) works very well (although as the edges tend to crack, it will probably still take some handiwork to pat the edges smooth).
Makki ki Roti
Yield: four approx. 5-inch rotis
1 cup organic corn flour (this must be flour not cornmeal)
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive or other oil
1/2 cup water
ghee or oil spray for cooking
1 quart size plastic bag
Cut the plastic bag with scissors on its two sides, so it can open out flat.
Place flour, cilantro, ajwain, and salt in bowl and combine. Add 1 teaspoon oil and using your fingers mix the ingredients together so the oil is integrated. With one hand, begin to slowly add the water while you use the fingers of the other hand to mix and pinch it together. Keep doing this until it is a soft dough. You may have a tablespoon or two of water left over. It will not hold together the same as a wheat flour dough and you must mix and knead it very well, for at least a few minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each piece between your palms to form a sort of flying saucer shaped ball. One at a time, flatten a ball between your palms into a squat patty and smooth out the edges.
Heat up an iron skillet or other fry pan on a medium high flame. Lightly spray with oil or spread with small amount of ghee.
Place a flattened ball in the center of one side of the plastic bag, and fold the other half over on top. Use a rolling pin (or even a bottle will do) to roll it out to no more than 5″ diameter circle. If the roti is rolled too thin it will fall apart. (In that case, just form it back into a dough ball and try again.) Peel off the top of the plastic bag. Then pick up the roti still attached to the bottom of the plastic bag and turn it over onto your palm so the roti is on your hand and the plastic is on the top. Peel off the plastic. Gently flip the roti from your hand into the now hot fry pan (that has already been sprayed with oil or spread with a little ghee). While the first side is cooking, spread a little ghee or oil over the top of it. Use a spatula to turn it over. You can flip a few times, until both sides are lightly speckled with brown. Transfer to a plate and spread with a little ghee or butter. Cook each one the same way and stack to keep warm. Best eaten while still warm if using as bread for Sarson ka Saag or Country Style Saag. For Makki (corn) crackers, cook the roti until more crisp and cut into wedges, and serve with soup such as with Potent Potato Soup with Cruciferous Greens or Potent Potato Soup with Greens and Makki ki Roti Chips. Makki ki Rotis are also delicious served with Mungbeans & Rice or Kicheree (essentially Mungbeans & Rice without all the vegetables and soupier), especially when made with plenty of chopped tasty greens (mustard, kale, collards, etc.). Sooooo good!!!!