All purpose flour Flatbread Indian Mughlai Wheat Flour

Rumali Roti or Handkerchief Roti

rumali roti

Rumali means handkerchief and roti means flat bread; it’s so thin hence the name rumali. It’s popular in Mughal cuisine…

My sister had told me about rumali roti a few times after she had it in a restaurant in Bangalore. Unfortunately, I haven’t had it and haven’t seen in any Indian restaurants in North America. This roti sounded interesting, so I looked at some of the online recipes and I was amazed by its method of preparation.

The speciality of this roti is that it’s paper thin and can be folded like a handkerchief. However, I figured out that making this roti paper thin at home is a bit challenging. At restaurants and people who are experts in making this would flatten the roti really thin by throwing it in the air and catching with the fingers, they do this a few times and the dough gets super thin. While rolling this roti, 2 dough balls which are rolled to a small round size are stacked up and is rolled together. After cooking this roti, you will be able to separate the two rotis. Also, the tawa or pan used for cooking this roti has to be very hot.

I enjoyed the preparation of this roti, it was quite different and was fun. However, I wouldn’t say it turned out paper thin as in restaurants. It definitely needs a lot of practice and it’s quite a skill. I really loved the taste of this roti, the ghee that was spread on the dough gave this roti a nice aroma and flavor.


Preparation Pictures

Kneaded dough

roomali roti dough

Roll 2 dough balls into round shape

rolling roti

Spread one of the sides with ghee and coat with rice flour

dipping in rice flour

Roll the 2 doughs together to a thin round

rolling roomali roti

Cook on very hot pan

making roomali roti

Cook both sides till brown spots are formed

cooking roomali roti

Separate the rotis, just peel it

Roomali roti

Rumali Roti or Handkerchief Roti
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: Makes 6 rotis
  • All purpose flour- 1 cup
  • Wheat flour or Atta- 1 cup (+ more to dust)
  • Salt- a couple of pinches
  • Water- ¾ cup (add little by little)
  • Ghee- 1 tsp/dough
  • Rice flour- ¼ cup ( to coat the dough)
  1. In a bowl, combine all purpose flour, wheat flour and salt, add water little by little and knead it well for 5 minutes to a soft dough. Do not make into a hard dough.
  2. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Make medium sized balls out of the dough (all of the same size).
  4. Roll one of the dough balls to a small round. Also, roll the 2nd dough ball to a small round, make the round size same as that of the first dough.
  5. Spread one of the sides of both the small round dough with 1 tsp ghee/dough.
  6. Place the side that's spread with ghee into the rice flour and coat it evenly.
  7. Have a clean surface ready as you need to roll the dough large. I used the bottom of the round pizza pan to roll the dough. Dust the surface with wheat flour.
  8. Place the 1st dough with the side coated with rice flour upwards on a clean surface. On top of the that place the dough 2, the rice flour coated side should face down on the 1st dough.
  9. Now that you have two round doughs sandwiched together, roll the doughs together as thin as possible to a large round shape. Dust with wheat flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface.
  10. Heat a tawa or pan to high heat, the pan used for cooking this roti should be very hot.
  11. Place the rolled dough on the hot pan, it only takes a few seconds for the bottom side to cook, you'll see bubbles forming and brown spots forming on the bottom side, flip it over and let the other side cook as well.
  12. Since, the pan is very hot, it only takes a few seconds to cook this roti. Do not over cook as it will turn crispy or get burned.
  13. Remove the cooked roti from the pan and separate the rotis, the 2 rotis will detach pretty easily.
  14. Repeat with the other doughs.
  15. Serve these rotis immediately with chicken curry, mutton curry, veggie korma etc.
Making these rotis paper thin is quite a skill, needs a lot of practice.

In restaurants, after rolling the roti they throw the roti into the air and catch it with the fingers, this is done a few times which makes the roti super thin.

The pan for making the roti should be very hot.



Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...