Makki ki Roti is a popular Indian flatbread from the northern-Indian state of Punjab, made from seasoned cornmeal dough, and its typically served with spiced mustard green called, Sarson Ka Saag.
I start by seasoning extra-fine yellow cornmeal with salt, red chili powder, carom seeds (ajwain) and ground coriander.
I knead the cornmeal mix into a semi-soft dough using lukewarm water. The kneading process is very similar to kneading a dough for homemade corn tortillas.
Finally, I roll out flatbread by using a small portion of the dough. The earthy flavors of this roti make this a perfect accompaniment for sarson ka saag.
Variations in Recipe for Makki Ki Roti
Just like any traditional dish, every family has their own spin on it. My family has a few of them.
My mom always makes Makki ki Roti with seasoned cornmeal, nothing else added to the dough, just like my grandma's recipe.
One of my aunts adds freshly chopped fenugreek leaves (methi) to the dough. Fenugreek leaves add a nice floral taste to the flatbread, which contrasts beautifully with the natural flavor of cornmeal.
My mother-in-law always added shredded diakon-radish to her dough in addition to freshly chopped cilantro.
Personally, I love my mother-in-law's variation the best... but please don't tell my mom about this 🙂
I feel that the radish acts as a great binder for the dough, keeps it moist and enhances the flavor of this Roti (flatbread) so much.
This pairing goes so well with the creamy Sarson ka Saag that I typically served with makki ki roti.
Cornmeal / Corn Flour
Makki ki Roti is made with fine-ground cornmeal or corn flour.
This is similar in taste and consistency to the Mexican corn flour that is used for making corn tortillas.
This flour has a very earthy and subtle sweet taste that makes it unique, which is why substituting any other flour may not give you the same results.
You can find this flour at any Indian grocery store, or on amazon. Here is a picture of one of the brands that I like.
Fail-Proof Way of Making Makki Ki Roti
The process of flattening the flatbread often intimidates people.
It looked impossible to me. For the longest time, I thought that was something only Moms could make, and, that it was an art that one needed to master.
And then I saw my mother-in-law make them one day. Since that day, I firmly believe, that you can science your way out of recipes, and make them work!
I realized that, the consistency of the dough makes it tough to roll out, because it sticks and crumbles on you.
So, I cut open a large ziplock bag, place the dough in between the two sides, and, use a heavy fry pan to press down on the dough a couple of times, till it becomes flat.
Then, simply peel off the flatbread from the ziplock and place it on a hot griddle for cooking. As simple as that!
Watch the video above and you'll see how easy this process is.
Makki ki Roti is traditionally served with Sarson ka Saag or Spiced Mustard Greens, which is a curry dish made mustard greens cooked with Indian spices.
Here is the recipe for creamy Sarson ka Saag.
If for any reason, you cannot make makki ki roti, a close substitute would be stone-ground corn tortillas from your local supermarket, or, handmade corn tortillas from your favorite taqueria.
To elevate the tortillas to another level, lightly grease a fry-pan, brush the corn tortillas with a little ghee, sprinkle a little cayenne on top, and lightly toast them.
The end result gets pretty close to the classic Makki ki Roti.
Serve this combo with some Sweet and Spicy lemon Pickle and you'll thank me!
Makki Ki Roti | Seasoned Cornmeal Flatbread
- Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, mix in sifted cornmeal, salt, carom seeds and red chili powder. Add grated radish and cilantro and mix with a fork. Using a few tablespoons of warm water at a time, knead gently into a soft dough. Knead the melted ghee into the dough and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll out those 8 portions into individual dough balls, about 2 inches in diameter.
- Make Makki Rotis/Flatbreads: To make rotis, cut open a gallon size ziploc bag on two ends and spread it open (like a book). Brush both inner sides with water. Wet your palms and gently flatten the dough ball with you fingers. Place the in the center of the ziplock and cover with the other side. Using a heavy bottom fry-pan, press down on the dough 2-3 times, till you have an even thickness flatbread.
- Cook the Makki Roti: Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Peel off the roti from the ziplock and place it on the hot skillet. Cook for about 30 seconds, till it turns a shade darker. Flip it. Brush a little ghee on the other side and flip after 30 seconds. Repeat the process on the other side and cook till the flatbread turns golden in color.