How to prepare bajri (millet) roti on clay tawa?

I have seen many people struggle to make millet roti. Millets do not contain gluten so they are slightly hard to handle while making roti. I eat gluten free so it is part of my diet and I prepare roti using different types of millets based on season. During winter months in India, we use pearl millet (bajri/bajra) a lot. We use it to prepare snacks, roti/rotla (flatbread), sweets, etc. People also use it to prepare porridge. I live it Canada so we have longer winter compare to India. I always keep bajri (pearl millet) flour at home. Bajri contains disease fighting phytochemicals that lower cholesterol, antioxidants, plenty of fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamins-E and B-complex, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. We prepare this roti for new mom, it helps in lactation.

Back in time when people used wood stove, ladies used clay tawa (pan) to make roti. Our grannies used clay tawa with ease but as time passes we forgot this method of cooking especially in big cities in India. If you go to small villages, you will still see ladies cooking in clay pots and pans.

I am living in Canada for the past 22 years but I am a big fan of traditional method of cooking. I do not have luxury of using wooden stove. But when I found clay pots in Toronto, I bought couple. I always cook stuffed eggplant sabji and few other curries in my clay pots. On my recent trip to Morocco, I saw many road side vendors selling clay utensils. I was amazed to see how many options they had. I ended up buying this flat clay tawa with the intention of using it to make millet roti. When you cook something using clay pots or pans, it has this earthy flavour which is hard to explain but it taste absolutely amazing.

I seasoned clay tawa first before using it. This is a very important step before using any clay pots or pans for cooking purpose. When I used clay tawa for the 1st time to make millet roti, it didn’t turn out great. Roti cracked and didn’t puff. So I figured out few things.

Full recipe video posted below. Check out the full video for step by step instructions and tips.

Points to remember while preparing millet roti using clay pan (tawadi)
1. If using a glass top stove, put rack in the middle before putting clay pan.
2. Put the tawa on gas (stove) first and then turn on heat.
3. Always heat on medium heat first and then increase the temperature.
4. Tawa need to be properly hot before you add millet roti.
5. Adding little wheat flour with millet which helps in binding. I added Maseca Corn flour for gluten free version.
6. Use rice flour to to make roti, it makes process much easier.
7. Always transfer roti with 2 hands from rolling pin or thali to tawa.
8. Always spread little water on roti when you lay it on pan (this applies in all method of cooking).
9. Use medium to high heat to cook, so tawa remains hot otherwise roti will crack.

1 cup bajri (pearl millet) flour
1 tbsp wheat flour or Maseca corn flour (gluten free)
Hot water as needed
Ghee (clarified butter)

1. Prepare slightly soft dough dough using bajri and wheat flour and hot water. Add little water at a time. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes pressing with your palm. Divide in 3 portion and make 3 bolls and flatten it.

2. Heat pan (tawa).

3. Dust little rice flour on flat surface and on dough to roll roti using rolling pin, roll it with very soft hand as it can easily break. Another way is to softly press the dough with fingers and spread it to make roti (see video).

4. Slowly put the roti on hot pan using both hands, spread little water on top. Make sure there is no bubble and roti lays the flat on tawa.

5. Cook on medium to high heat. When lower side is slightly cooked and has some brown marks, flip and let another side cook.

6. Remove the pan, handle roti with tong and flip on stove slightly pushing with tong. Cook on both side on stove. I am using cake cooking rack on my glass top stove.
Bajri rotla

7. Remove from stove and spread ghee and serve hot. I served it with tomato sev sabji, carrot chili pickle and rice. Bajra roti had this earthy flavours and tested amazing. It is a soul satisfying meal. Absolutely delicious simple veg meal at it’s best.

Bajri roti

You can check out other flatbread (roti/bread) recipes on my website.

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Author: Bhavna's Food Journey

Welcome to Bhavna's food journey! Join me in cooking easy, simple, healthy and delicious food. I am a mother of two adult children and understand the fast life of today's adult. Hope you will enjoy and try my recipes. Looking forward to hearing from you!!

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