Roti and Chapati are two popular Indian flatbreads that are commonly used in Indian cuisine. However, you can get confused trying to understand which is better between roti and chapati. Chapati and roti look the same but don’t taste the same. They also both make use of wheat flour and you bake them on hot pans.
The benefits of roti or chapatis do not just limit them to Indians. You can use them to enjoy chicken or vegetables dishes. One can also eat them as an afternoon snack or for breakfast with curries, biryanis, puris, and dal.
This article along with some helpful tips compares information about the most common ingredients used in a roti or chapati as well as other facts about these Indian flatbreads.
What is Chapati?
Chapati goes by many names such as rotli, shabaati, Indian flat roti, safati, chapo, roshi, and phulka, and is also an unleavened flatbread that originated from the Indian subcontinent. Indian flat roti or Chapati also serves as a staple popularly eaten in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East Africa, Bangladesh, the Caribbean, and the Arabian Peninsula.
You can prepare the Indian flat roti or chapati by using a soft dough that consists of wholemeal wheat flour, water, and salt. It also has a finer blend and texture than most western-made whole wheat flours.
Chapatis are also a variation of plain rotis and one of the most commonly consumed forms of wheat bread in the Indian subcontinent. Just like other forms of roti, chapatis became known to other countries around the world by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent who settled in the Caribbean islands and other parts of Southeast Asia.
What is Roti?
Roti is a round native Indian subcontinent flatbread that is made using stoneground wheat flour and water. The stoneground wheat flour which is natively known as “gehu ka atta” is mixed with water to form a dough, and left unleavened before being made into roti. Just like most flatbreads, roti goes well with other foods like stew, vegetables, curry dishes, tea, and other beverages.
Additionally, roti is popular in numerous countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Indonesia, Myanmar, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname.
What Makes Chapati Different From Roti?
The difference between Roti and Chapati is almost like comparing white bread with whole-grain bread. They share a lot of similarities but certain factors set them apart.
From cooking method to texture, flour type, and ingredients, the following characteristics differentiate Chapati from plain Roti.
Chapati makes use of wholemeal atta flour while roti commonly uses wheat flour. This accounts for their slightly different tastes.
Because of the flour used in making chapati, it has a more dense and chewy texture. Furthermore, chapati sometimes contains salt and oil which makes the dough much lighter and smoother than roti which uses just flour and water.
Additionally, chapati has a fairly thin texture which makes it easier for you to eat many servings. They also serve as a scoop served with Indian curry dishes like the dal tadka.
However, because roti is plain and made using regular wheat flour, it is much easier to eat. This makes them perfect side dishes for eating and mopping up the curry sauce.
Chapati has a much darker color than roti as a result of the atta or wholemeal flour used in making them.
Traditionally, chapati is prepared by first slapping the dough between the hands till they are flat, while roti is rolled into a flat shape by a rolling pin. However, modern-day preparation methods now also use a rolling pin to make chapati.
Chapati is traditionally cooked in a Tawa while roti is cooked in a pan, tandoor oven, or Tawa.
What are the Similarities Between Roti and Chapati?
A common similarity between Chapati and Roti is that their names are often used interchangeably. Rotis are sometimes called chapatis and chapatis are also called Roti. Other similarities associated with these flatbreads include;
- They are both unleavened bread
- Chapati and roti can be eaten plain or served with other dishes, fruits, and vegetables.
- They both require little or no oil in cooking
- Chapati is a variation of plain roti
- They are both low in carbs and fat
- Roti and Chapati both serve as scoops for soups and curry sauce.
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Roti?
Roti provides your body with various nutritional benefits due to the presence of minerals, vitamins, and other minerals salts. The vitamins and minerals present in roti include;
- Vitamins B
- Vitamin E
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Chapati?
Your commercially prepared chapati contains the following nutritional benefits:
- Dietary Fiber
- Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
Which is Healthier Between Roti and Chapati?
Chapatis are considered to be much healthier than plain roti because they contain more fiber, minerals, and protein which are great for digestive health, heart conditions, and diabetics. However, this difference is not much in terms of the same amount of carbohydrates and calories.
How Do You Make Chapati?
The dough used in making chapati is commonly prepared using atta or wholemeal flour, salt, and water, and then kneaded using the knuckles or your fist. It is then allowed to proof for about 15 minutes so the gluten in the dough develops.
Chapati’s dough after proofing becomes much softer and pliable and then formed into round balls. These round balls are then placed between the palms and slapped till they become flat discs. It is placed into flour for a second time and flattened on a circular rolling board by a rolling pin.
The flat chapati dough is then placed on a preheated dry Tava and cooked till they are done on both sides. After cooking, chapatis are sometimes coated with ghee or butter. You can also add some oil to the flattened chapati dough before placing it on the Tava.
How Do You Make Roti?
You can prepare roti through various methods. The traditional approach used by most Indian homes involves a quick dry-fry method on a locally made frying pan called Tawa.
Another method is by slapping the rolled-out roti dough onto the walls of a preheated tandoor oven. This method allows the roti to quickly cook and makes them bubbly at the top but slightly crispy at the bottom.
Furthermore, the tandoor oven cooking method is why roti is sometimes called a tandoori roti.
What foods can you eat with roti?
You can eat roti with numerous Indian cuisines like scrambled cauliflower (Gobi Bhurji), dry-styled potato curry (Bateta nu Shaak), quick & easy palak paneer, vegetable & coconut milk kurma, and kadai tofu & vegetables among others.
What dishes can you enjoy with chapati?
Chapati can be served with numerous dishes like; Shahi Paneer, Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken), Shrimp Curry, Vegetarian Korma, Aloo Phujia, Easy Vegetarian Kofta Curry, Red Lentil Curry, etc.
What allergens are present in roti and chapati?
Roti and chapati contain wheat which can cause complications if you have a wheat allergy or you’re sensitive to gluten.
Additionally, people sometimes cook chapati with butter which can pose a problem if you’re lactose intolerant.
Ultimately, there are unlikely to be any true differences between them. Neither one is better or worse than the other. They are simply two different kinds of flatbread. It all comes down to preference and region, not to mention a chef’s skill level. That’s why it’s okay if you want to call the chapati a roti instead, or vice versa.
Also, you can call chapatis variations of roti made with whole wheat flour, that possess a more plain texture and appearance. In contrast, plain roti uses all-purpose flour and/or whole wheat flour to give it that slightly lighter texture when compared to chapati.
Furthermore, you can prepare both chapati and roti without the use of oil. However, some variations of roti make use of vegetable oil or canola oil. This makes them much healthier than other flatbreads like tortillas or pancakes.
Finally, while the chapati and roti are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, their uses are quite limited in comparison to the Mexican flatbread known as tortillas. Find out the difference between rotis and tortillas, and their numerous uses in making delicious native cuisines.
I hope you found this article helpful. Thanks for reading.