Long before the gluten free diet became popular, and well before I had even heard of Celiac disease, my mom cut wheat out of her diet. She noticed that she felt better when she didn’t eat wheat so for a while we ate a ton of rice dishes along with other lesser known grains like millet and sorghum.
When she switched our diet, my mom started making rotli (flat breads) with rice flour. Although it is eaten in some parts of Gujarat and South India, it is not all that common. Rice rotli are softer than the regular whole wheat rotli we ate and much whiter. And they were delicious.
A blog reader recently asked about gluten-free flat bread recipes and I immediately thought of my mom’s rice flour rotli. I had never made these before and didn’t think there was much to it, so I made a dough with rice flour, oil, salt and water just like I do with wheat flour. My rotli came out so tough, I knew I had done something wrong.
So I called up my mom and asked her how to make the rice flour rotli. She told me the secret was to use boiling water and she shared her method with me. I decided I didn’t want to bother with her technique and made my dough in the food processor with boiling water. Again, I got it wrong and ended up with super tough rotli.
Finally, I gave in and followed my mom’s instructions exactly. And as much as I hate to admit it, it worked out! We ate soft and delicious rice rotli for lunch with a quick pea saute.
These rice flour rotli are a little tricky to make because the dough is super soft and not as forgiving as wheat dough. But with a little practice, I got the hang of it. I am sure you will too. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about these.
My mom’s experiment only lasted a few months because the rest of us got pretty tired of eating so many rice based foods. We all started eating wheat again for a while. But my mom is gluten-free again because has noticed gluten seems to inflame her arthritis. And this time, she’s not switching back.
Here is a video that demonstrates how to roll out the rotlis and cook them. (Please excuse the messy counter).
Gluten Free Rice Flour Flat Bread (Chokha ni Rotli)
- 1 cup rice flour
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup extra rice flour for rolling
- Bring the water, oil and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- When the water just begins to boil, add in the rice flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Once the water and flour are well mixed, just let the dough hang out in the pot until it cools enough to handle with your hands.
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
- Knead with your hands for about a minute. The dough with start to get gummier and hold together better. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plate so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Heat a tava or a cast iron pan (any kind of pan will work if you don’t have a tava or a cast iron pan) over medium low heat. Let it heat while you roll out your first rotli.
- Break off a golf ball sized piece of dough, knead it in your hands a few times and form a disk.
- Roll the disk into the rice flour and roll out to about 1/32? thick.
- Carefully transfer the rolled out rotli to the pan.
- Let cook until you see bubbles start to form. About a minute or two. Then either using your fingers or a pair of flat tipped tongs flip the rotli.
- Let cook on the second side until you see more bubbles form. Another minute or two.
- Turn on a second gas burner on high and transfer the rotli directly to the flame. Let cook for about 15 seconds on each side. (You can also just turn up the flame on the existing burner, move the pan and transfer the rotli to the flame. Just don’t forget to turn the heat back down to medium low!)
- Repeat the process.
OMG! I gotta eat those cute rotlis right now! It’s been ages I haven’t seen nor tasted those pillowy beauties 🙁
Thanks Nusrat! It had been ages since I tasted them too. So good! 🙂
I attempted to make these, but they didn’t turn out. Maybe I didn’t knead the doe long enough or let it cool more. Anyway, they wouldn’t bubble,but when I flipped them, they would bubble. They are very gooey. I even tried cooking them longer. I cooked one of them until the smoke alarm went off and it’s still gummy. I failed to watch the video, so I will try again.
2 cups of water is way too much for 1 cup of rice flour. I have had to cut it down to 3/4 cup flour to 1 cup of water and that makes it much easier to work with…not too dry…not too wet.
My ten year old daughter made these daily for a week, we had a rest and now she is back at it! Yummy with anything, dahl, peanut butter and jam, great recipe especially for gluten free diets!
They look gorgeous. My son has a wheat allergy and I am going to make these for him as an alternative to oat and buckwheat roti. Do they stay soft for long or do they get chewy as they get colder?
They are like any other flat bread, they do tend to dry out. I had mine out for about 45 minutes while we photographed them they were fine for that long. I checked on the ones we didn’t eat a few hours later and they had gotten pretty dry. But you can slather some butter or ghee on them to keep them moist longer and keep them wrapped in a tea towel or sealed in a plastic bag.
I just stumbled onto your blog today looking for a sprouted mung bean recipe- but had to see what else you had. This recipe looks great, that it’s gluten free too. The video is really helpful. can’t wait to try it. Keep it up!
Thanks! Glad you like it. 🙂
this looks so good! i have a question though. How would you do it without a gas burner? Our apartment is all electric
Hello! There are two ways to make roti on an electric stove. You can get a metal grill or cooling rack to put over the electric coil and then you can follow the same process as with a gas stove. The grill or cooling rack will keep the roti away from the intense heat of the coils but still provide high enough heat to make them puff up. For the last step, just transfer the roti and cook on top of the grill or cooling rack until it puffs up.
The other option is to flip the roti one more time on the pan instead of transferring it to a flame. Use a balled up tea towel to gently press on the roti. That will help it puff up as well.
This looks great, but how come it rises when being cooked as if there is yeast in the dough? You don’t put yeast do you?
There is no yeast in the dough. It rises because the heat creates steam on the inside of the roti making it puff up. It’ll flatten back down right away.
I have just stumbled up on this recipe and will try it as we are holding a fund-raising curry night next week for injured soldiers! I will let you know how they go down, as I am trying to educate people with some different foods from India
Hi Alison! That sounds like a wonderful cause. I would recommend slathering some butter or ghee on them as soon as they come off the stove and then tightly wrapping them in foil. They tend to get tough pretty quickly as they cool. They’re not as forgiving as wheat flat breads. Happy fundraising! 🙂
Hello, I am having a hard time rolling them out. They keep falling apart every time I lift them. Any advice? Thank you 🙂
Hi Tiffany. I am sorry they keep falling apart on you! The first thing I’d say is to make sure the water is boiling hot when it mixes with the flour. I tried these with just hot tap water once and they kept falling apart and the final result was tough.
Make sure you are using plenty of dry rice flour to roll them out. It’s no big deal if you get a few tears around the edges, just pinch them back together before you cook.
If they are still completely falling apart, try rolling them out on a sheet of parchment of heavy plastic. That way you can lift the parchment with the rotli on it and invert onto your pan for cooking. This will give the rotli some support as you transfer it to the pan.
Hope this helps! Feel free to ask if you have any other questions. 🙂
In the instructional video, what are you using for a rolling pin? Is it a drum stick? Is that how you’re able to get the rotli to spin while rolling it out?
Hi i have been put on a special diet for my chrones disease and i tried making it for the first time and it wash mushy. Do i need to add more flour.??? Please help
Thank you for this recipe. My husband and I are new to the gluten free way of living. Your recipe looks really good, going to give it a try this afternoon. Please let me know that is in your photograph of your pea sauté. I love green peas and probably would like to fix that dish too. Thanks again for sharing.
Hi Linda! I just added the link to the pea saute recipe to the post. Happy Holidays! 🙂
Hi..just came across your recipe. Would the bread come out if I used brown rice flour?
Hi Amena. I am sorry for the late response. I just saw this comment. I’ve never tried this with brown rice flour so I’m not sure it would work. Let me know how it goes if you try it. And I’ll try to experiment with brown rice flour soon.
Thank you very much, I’ve made it.
I’m so happy to make bread at home.
How to make it with wheat floor,please.
Hi Mimi. I’m so glad you made it! 🙂
I have a couple of other flat breads on the blog:
Wheat flour and
My dough is much too wet and sticky. Perhaps I need less water? Any thoughts? Thanks!
… actually I tried this with ground rice, also with brown rice flour, but I haven’t got ahold of white rice flour yet, so maybe that’s why it’s too wet/sticky.
I’m not sure if this will work with brown rice flour. I think that the bran may interfere with the dough holding together. I’m going to experiment with brown rice flour soon.
Also, this recipe works best with store bought rice flour. I’ve heard from a couple of people that the dough came out too wet when they ground the rice themselves. I think it must just depend on how sticky the rice is. You can try adding more ground rice to the dough, a tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency.
Great — thanks for your help!
Hi I noticed that you were going to try this with brown rice flour and was windering how it turned out?
Thank you soooooo much for sharing your mom’s recipe and technique! In the last 4 years I have tried a couple of other recipes for a rice flat bread. Usually tiring of the difficulty in making them or the resulting quality. Both oth others had to be eaten fresh or eaten as a cracker later. When I got a taste for them again I had lost the last recipe I used and googling I found yours! I made half a recipe and found the dough so much easier to handle. They cooked up nicely and were easier to turn over while cooking! The finished product was much softer and more pliable than the previous recipes. I saved two once they had complete cooled in a ziplock bag and ate one the next day with lunch. I could hardly believe how good it still was! I saved the recipe to my recipe ap so I don’t loose this one!!! I made a full recipe today and look forward to enjoying them over the next few days. I made two wraps for lunch with an olive tapenade and grilled chicken. For dessert I spread a still warm on with butter and blackberry jam…… Oh so good! Thanks again so much! Carla Jones
Thank you for such a great recipe. Since I am GF so hard to find something that is not made with additives .
It did take me a few tries to get them rolled out, what was easier for me, was using plastic wrap and the palm of my hand to flatten it out. The plastic wrap made it easier for me to turn over, but must have plenty of extra flour on hand so it doesnt stick.
Thanks again! Yvonne
first i would like to say these look fabulous however my husband followed the recipe exactly and they dough can you post a video of you actually making the recipe because what my husband made is like mashed potatoes and i watched him make this and he didnt do anything different from your recipe . please and thank you
We will try to get a video up soon. The dough does tend to look a little like mashed potatoes when you first mix the rice flour with hot water. But it should firm up to a texture where you can knead it as it cools. If it didn’t firm up when it is cool enough to handle, it may be because there was too much water. In that case I would just add more rice flour. Did you use a store bought rice flour or did you grind your own?
Hello Puja, my husband had store bought but he just kept adding more of the rice flour until it felt right in his hands. When he finally made them they were wonderful…..definitely a make again recipe. Thank you
traditional phulka roti i like that
It certainly is! 🙂
Hi Puja, thanks for ur gluten free rotli recipe. I am very much happy dat I can eat it instead of wheat rotis. Thank you very much to u.
Thanks Nehal, happy to help!
i just tried making this and my ‘dough” had the consistency of mashed potatoes and couldnt flatten it too much as it stuck to my hands (actually the dough stuck to hands ,floor, cupboard) it just fell apart
These are so delicious! It’s wonderful to have something that is so good that is gluten free! Thank you!
thanks a lot finally i found some thing to give to my little son cause he can t eat any kind of floor except rice i will try it
Hi. I am starting to eat according to my blood type and these look really good. I can have rice and I love it. I look forward to trying this and other recipes you might have.
I used about 3/4 C. glutinous white rice flour and 1/4 C. brown rice flour and the dough was too wet and sticky. I kept adding (a lot) of brown rice flour and the dough came together (still sticky). I rolled them out with a lot of flour and they turned out quite nice – probably tougher than yours but still enjoyable. Thanks for a gluten-free recipe.
Hi puja ..For the same recipe my mom adds groused roasted peanuts ,Shredded carrot,cumin,salt,Turmeric, Onions and some chili .BTW we are from south India..we call it as biyyapu rotta..
Nice! That sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Sravanthi, Please post a recipe. Would love to try this.
Desde la Isla de Mallorca, España, muchísimas gracias por la receta de este pan tan sabroso. Lo he preparado para cenar y ha gustado a toda la familia 🙂
Just wondering if the dough keeps well in the fridge or is it to be used the day its made
Hi Anup. The dough is best fresh but will probably be fine for a day or two as long as it’s tightly wrapped in plastic so that or doesn’t dry out.
Thanks for your reply. Made it with 1/4 cup of flour as an experiment and it was excellent. 5 stars. Thanks for the recipe.
Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
I followed the written recipe to the letter and hey presto these were perfect first time, they bubbled they taste great, clever you… so happy and thank you.
Can you store them?
Hi Momsue! They are always best fresh but you could store them for a day. Tightly wrap them in plastic so they don’t dry out. Then heat them up on the flame when you’re ready to eat.
I was looking for the rice flour rotli and found yours. Unfortunately it was way too soft, I could not roll it out at all so patted it into a round. It was not tasty at all and took very long to cook both sides. I used a tava but will keep trying as I cannot have the usual wheat flour.
Sekina Suleman, Vancouver, Canada
Hi Sekina. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. The amount of water needed can vary based on the rice flour used. If you try the recipe again, try using a little less water or adding a little more rice flour to form a dough that is easier to work with.
The rice one looks interesting. We are a bit similar, though Anglo-French couple. My wife isn’t keen on flour so I shall give them a go! I stumbled on your web having made some rotis earlier to post images on another web. We made videos some time ago and made a book recently. Maybe off to India in February! (Other cross overs-cats! Photography)
I just made these for fish tacos with mango salsa. I used organic brown rice flour, but due to the other reviews, I used 1 tsp. Whole Psyllium husk to a 1/2 recipe and they came out perfectly. I was able to pat them out with my hands on a sil-pat mat.
I’ll try these with my tortilla press and organic brown rice flour. A tortilla press makes beautiful rotis. Your mother came up with a nice variation of a classic, favorite flatbread.
Thank you so much for the demonstration video showing how it’s done!
I also like to make rotis from corn or pea flour, just to try all the different flavors.
Made great glue.