As you probably know, I love experimenting with and eating gluten-free foods. I’ve had some sorghum flour that I wanted to make something with and was excited to try making Jowar ki Roti or Jowar ki Bhakri. This is a flatbread made with only sorghum flour and without the help of any gums or other common gluten-free binding agents. To make this flatbread you need just the sorghum (jowar) flour, salt, water, and oil which is optional. I got some tips on how to make Jowar ki Roti from VahChef who has many Indian cooking videos on YouTube. He’s entertaining too! He makes me crack up sometimes. I love watching his videos. Make sure to check them out!
I used Bob’s Red Mill brand “Sweet” White Sorghum Flour. This particular flour tends to produce darker flatbreads, but it still works and is darned tasty! Other brands of flour may give a lighter-colored result. Feel free to use whatever brand you can find or prefer. Traditionally, freshly milled sorghum flour is used and if you can get ahold of that, it would probably be best.
Here is some sorghum flour measured out and ready to be made into roti. The smell of this flour reminds me of cereal. The roti did have a taste that also reminded me of cereal. It’s a nice, pleasing taste.
Mixed in some salt to taste and a bit of oil. You can use oil if you want or leave it out.
Slowly add the very hot water. You want it to be just off of the boil, which will give you a nice soft dough. Since there is no gluten formation, the hot water will make sure that the flour is hydrated and will act to coax binding to strengthen the dough. For the bread-heads out there, adding and mixing in the hot water reminds me of the autolyse step in which water absorption in the flour takes place minus the start of gluten strands forming.
Keep adding water until it isn’t very sticky. Then keep kneading. In general, if you knead roti doughs a lot, you are almost guaranteed a soft roti.
Divide the dough into pieces and knead each piece for a minute. Form into a ball then you can shape it into a roti. Use whatever method you want to roll out the dough, but I like using a plastic freezer bag with all but one side cut. Then you can put the dough on one side and fold the other half over.
The dough shouldn’t be sticky, maybe just a little if you pinch it with your fingers. If you want, you can use oil or some flour to prevent sticking. Flatten the ball slightly.
Then get a plate (or cast-iron skillet) and press down hard, but not too hard to break your plate! Alternatively, a tortilla maker would work well here! But, if you can shape roti with your hand like a roti or chapati master, go ahead. 🙂
You can flatten it out more with your fingers or with a rolling pin. Using the plate gives a nice, even round shape to start from. Meanwhile, make sure that your griddle or cast-iron skillet is ready on medium heat.
Carefully place the roti on the skillet and dab some water over the surface. I used a paper towel dipped in water to spread it on the surface without poking the dough. This step gives some moisture as this gluten-free dough needs some help to get a soft roti. Cook on both sides until brown spots appear, pressing it down with a spatula around the surface so it cooks evenly. Usually they puff up, which allows you to split it open later if you want.
These ones don’t look very smooth, but were soft and tasty. Still a beginner in making these bhakri, but was happy that they tasted good!
Jowar ki Roti (Sorghum flatbread)
Makes about 8
- 1 cup Sorghum flour
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 teaspoons of oil (optional)
- hot water just off the boil
- Mix the flour, salt and oil together. Once the water is boiling, pour a little at a time to the flour mixture. Mix with a spoon or spatula. Keep adding water until you get a soft dough that is not sticky. Cover with a damp towel or paper towel and let cool down until the dough can be handled.
- Knead for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your skillet or griddle on medium heat. Divide the dough into balls the size that you prefer. Knead each dough ball briefly, about 1 minute.
- Flatten the dough ball with your hands slightly and roll it out with a rolling pin, shape it with your hand, tortilla press, or use a plate.
- For the plate method, place the slightly flattened dough ball between two sheets of plastic wrap or a plastic freezer bag cut to make a fold. Press the plate on top of the plastic and dough to make a roti shape. You can make the roti thinner with a rolling pin or by pressing it with your fingers, taking care to keep the surface even.
- Carefully place the roti onto the skillet/griddle and brush some water on the surface to provide some moisture. Cook on both sides until brown spots appear, about a couple minutes per side.
- Repeat steps 3-5 with the other portions of dough. Serve immediately. While cooking each flatbread, keep the cooked ones wrapped in a towel to keep them soft.
- If you need to store them and eat them later (up to a day later), keep them wrapped in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag. To reheat, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave in 30 sec. intervals until warm and soft.
This was a fun gluten-free flatbread to make. It has a really nice flavor too! Goes great with lentils! Tasted awesome with Esau’s Lentils 🙂