Eating seasonal and local is so deeply rooted in Indian regional cuisines that it is hard to disassociate a particular food from the season it is grown/consumed in. I was talking to a friend about making atte ki pinni (recipe here), and sarson ka saag (recipe here) and how our body and soul longs for comforting, warm foods when it is cold outside (not when the heat inside the house is set at 80 degrees..lol). Makki ki gajar mooli wali roti literally translates into carrot (gajar) and radish (mooli) stuffed flatbread made with yellow corn masa (makki ka atta) – it is an archetypal winter Punjabi breakfast, which is hearty and satisfying (just like sarson ka saag).
This roti is actually more a parantha but let us go with calling it roti. Shall we? This makki ki roti is made with shredded carrots and radishes mixed with makki ka atta (yellow corn masa) along with flavor boosters like ginger and green chili and then a dough is made using warm water. Now, some of the better-trained and practiced cooks can actually make this roti without using a rolling pin by just pressing and spreading the dough ball on a flat surface until desired thickness of the flatbread is achieved. I am not that cook..ha ha. So to make things easy, I use a gallon size zip top storage bag cut open from two sides (so that it is like a book jacket with one side attached), and then the dough ball is rolled with a rolling pin between these sheets (see notes at end of the recipe). The roti is then cooked on a cast iron skillet or flat top (tava) and shallow fried until cooked all the way. Gajar mooli wali makki ki roti is great for breakfast served with lots of butter, yogurt and some pickle. But hey, nobody can stop you if you want to eat it for lunch, dinner or snack. I promise!
So here’s what it took to make eight rotis:
Carrots – 2, medium, peeled and shredded or grated (about 2 cups)
Radish – 1, large, peeled and shredded or grated (about 2 cups)
Makki ka atta/yellow corn masa – 2 cups
Whole wheat flour – ½ to 1 cup, as needed
Warm water – 1 cup or as needed
Ginger – 1 inch piece, peeled and grated
Green chili – 2, finely chopped (optional)
Ajwain/Carrom seeds – 1 teaspoon
Ground turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
Red chili powder – ¼ teaspoon (optional)
Salt – to taste
Olive oil – for shallow frying
Use a kitchen towel or tea towel to squeeze the excess moisture out of the radish and transfer to a wide, shallow bowl (traditionally a paraat is used). Add in the shredded carrots, ginger, green chilli and all the seasoning except salt. Lightly mix and then add the flours and salt. Mix again gently, start with a little bit of whole wheat flour and if the dough doesn’t come together for you, add a little more wheat flour. Move a little bit (about half a cup) of the mix to one side of the bowl and sprinkle some hot water to it and start kneading, adding more water if needed till a smooth and cohesive dough ball (between the size of a golf ball and a baseball/cricket ball) forms.
Set a cast iron skillet or tava on medium high heat. Take the zip top bag (cut two sides so that it opens up like a book), lay it on a flat surface (kitchen counter) and wet both the inner surfaces with a little bit of water. Take the dough ball, put it on the zip top bag, slightly flatten it with the palm of your hand, fold the other piece of zip top bag over the dough ball and gently roll it with a rolling pin until about ⅙th of an inch thick (please see note below). Carefully, remove the roti from the zip top bag and lay it on the hot skillet. Lower the heat to medium and add a few drops of oil around the edges of the roti. After about 30 seconds, gently lift the roti and peek at the surface that is being cooked and look for brown spots. If brown spots have started appearing, using a spatula, gently flip the roti and let the other surface cook for another 30 seconds. Flip again, apply oil on the exposed surface and flip back. Oil the surface that is on top now and flip again. Cook for a few seconds and your gajar mooli wali makki ki roti is ready. Repeat until all the mix is used.
Enjoy the cold weather with some heartwarming Punjabi food!
Love – Vaishali
You can try using a tortilla press to make the roti, if you have one. I don't see a reason why it won't work.
Knife and chopping board
Measuring cups and spoons
Wide and shallow mixing bowl