Bajra na rotla or Indian Millet flat Bread

When I was growing up, bajra rotlas (flatbreads) were a regular meal served with either Biagan Bhartha. aubergine and fenugreek curry or with Karela curry.  This was because my dad was a diabetic and he said that this meal helped regulate his blood sugar.  The fact that such a meal combination was perfect for a diabetic was not written anywhere.  It was just knowledge passed on through generations and this simple meal seemed to work for him. Every time I make rotlas, it brings back memories of my mum making these patiently for us.
This article gives a lot of information about Bajra (MIllet).

What are Bajra rotlas ?

Bajra rotla are a type of Indian bread made from Pearl Millet.   The flour is an unusual grey colour which often puts people off from using it.   Millet flour has  been used in India for thousands of years and  India is one of the top millet producers in the world.   Here in the western world, Millet is slowly being used in some products one of which is the multi grain breads. It is mainly being used as bird and cattle feed.

Is Bajra healthy to eat?

Bajra is considered to have a low GI and is also gluten free so a good diet for people with celiac disease.  To make good tasty Bajra na rotla  the millet flour should be freshly ground. Here in the UK, we are quite lucky to have some good flour mills who sell freshly ground millet flour. However, the flour can get bitter very quickly so we are advised to store the millet flour in the fridge or even the freezer if you are not going to use it regularly.

Ingredients for making 4 small rotla 

  • 2 cups millet flour (bajra)
  • half a teaspoon salt
  • warm water to make the dough.


1. Traditionally, we only mix enough dough for one rotla at a time. Add the salt and start pouring the warm water to the millet flour in very small amounts. Mix it well by kneading until it is smooth.  Kneading this dough  well  for a few minutes is really important as the more you knead, the easier it will be to make the rotlas.

3.   This next step is the difficult one as millet dough is not pliable enough to allow us to roll it as a chapatti.  Some people add some wheat flour to millet to enable them to roll out the  rotla. However, this spoils the taste of the rotla . Sometimes I make my rotlas by  flattening  out the dough between two plastic sheets and it seems to work.

4.   My mum used to make the best  rotlas which were cooked slowly on a coal burning stove. She would take just enough dough to form a ball slightly bigger than a golf ball.  She would wet her hands with cold water and start to press the dough between her palms and fingers  to shape it into a round chappati which was no thicker than quarter of an inch.  My aunts and cousins in India make perfect rotlas and I really enjoy eating them when I visit them.   I follow the same method as my mum but I am not as good as her and end up making quite small rotlas which do get eaten by the family.

5.   Cook  the  rotla by transferring it  to a warm tava or non stick frying  and allow it to cook on one side and  turn the rotla on to the second side  when it is cooked on one side.  You can tell when it’s cooked on one side by checking that the rotla is not stuck to the tava or frying pan.    It should become slightly puffy with brown patches.

6.     Spread butter or ghee on the rotla and serve it with Aubergine Bharta  and Khichedi the traditional food of kathiawadi farmers.

Bajra flour can be used in lots of recipes – some of which are listed below:

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