Thepla (methi roti) is a quintessential Gujarati delicacy. Gujarat is a state to the northwestern side of India. The people who live there and the language spoken there is predominantly Gujarati. Since I am a Gujarati I take great pride in my theplas. They are also called Dhebra in some parts. You can find Thepla lovers in 90% of Gujarati households. Anytime we are travelling far from home, we pack theplas so that we aren’t away from our home cooked food, whether it is travelling by train, by bus, by car, by plane or even on foot!!
Like most of my Gujarati recipes, this one is also handed down to me by my mother. Though my theplas turned out delicious, I would say mom still makes them best! Do try this delicious recipe though, you will never want to try the store brought Theplas again!
Difficulty level: Moderate
Category: entree, snacks, mid-night snacks
3-4 Tbsp whole wheat flour to make dough
2-3 Tbsp millet flour (ragi flour)
1-2 tbsp. methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)- fresh or frozen
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp ajowain seeds
Turmeric (curry powder)
Coriander cumin powder
Sugar or jaggery (molasses)
1-2 tsp oil
Whole wheat flour to roll the dough
Mix the two flours in a deep vessel and add all the dry spices, sesame seeds, ajowain seeds.
Molasses or jaggery or gud (as called in Hindi) is available in powdered form or in form of a cake. Whether you buy in cake form or powdered form, take about 1 tbsp, add it to 2 tbsp of yogurt and heat it for couple of minutes until the jaggery melts. Add this yogurt-sugar mixture to the flour-spice mixture.
Hand mix the entire mixture and make dough with water. Taste some dough and modify the taste as required. If the dough is too soft or gooey, you can add some more flour to improve the texture. If the dough is too hard to touch, use some more water and soften it.
Roll the dough into small balls, coat it with dry wheat flour, flatten it and roll the dough into round discs using a flat board and a rolling pin. Keep the discs even, if the chapatis become too thin while rolling, then start over again. Very thin discs might become brittle while roasting on the pan.
Keep a flat pan hot, and as soon as you are done rolling one roti, place it on the hot pan and cook the roti as shown in the pictures. Cook every roti until it turns brown on both sides, liberally adding oil while cooking it. The pan will get hot with constant heat and oil so be careful with the heat.
Enjoy the masala methi roti with yogurt or a curry.
Notes: Like most Indian recipes, I have not specified the exact amount of spices, because the amount of spice to add depends on your ability to handle it.
This dough is primarily made using yogurt and water. You can use only water if you don’t have yogurt at home, but yogurt makes the parathas softer and adds tanginess to the taste.
Gujaratis love to add sweetness to their foods. Even though I am not a very big fan of adding sweet to my spicy food, I will make some of the recipes, the way I have eaten them growing up because that is how they taste the best. So adding jaggery or sugar to this flour is a personal choice, but the sweetness will help cut through the spice. Melting the sugar or jaggery with yogurt helps better blending of sweetness by avoiding chunks of jaggery in the flour.
While rolling, remember the golden rule that your chapatis should be of somewhat even thickness. My mother has drilled into me since I started rolling chapatis that the edges should always be thinner than your center. So remember, thinner edges!
While cooking, the pan will get hot with constant heat and oil so be careful with the heat. I cannot stress this enough, if you think the heat is too much and you are not confident, turn the heat off and roll few chapatis and then start cooking them.
This recipe will give you immense satisfaction of building something with your own hands and getting your hands dirty!