Bitter Melon Roti

My sister in law Gita, an amazing and creative cook, made these rotis for me one morning. I could not believe how good bitter melon peel, which essentially was waste in the past, tasted in the roti. An important technique for making a roti dough is in the pressing action of the palm while forming the dough to make it as smooth as possible without over working it. A soft roti dough makes for a moist, satisfying roti.

makes 8 rotis


1-2 cups bitter melon peel, grated

1 Tbsp EVOO 

2 cups (250g) roti flour + extra for flouring your working surface

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 tsp ajwain

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2-3 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

1 cup water (may vary)



  1. Combine roti flour, ajwain, salt, pepper, and grated bitter melon peel. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Add olive oil water. Feel for the dough consistency. If dough is still dry, slowly add additional water in small increments. If the dough becomes too wet add a bit more roti flour. Mix by pressing the dough continuously with the palm of your hand* ensuring to incorporate all dough & liquid that is on the sides of the bowl. When a large ball of soft dough forms let the roti rest for 15 - 30 minutes.

  2. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a medium ball with your palms, pat gently to make a flat ball, flour on both sides and set aside. Repeat for each additional roti.

  3. Flour the working surface & rolling pin. Using even pressure, roll the dough into a 6” diameter disk. On a dry (with no oil) flat top or cast iron skillet, cook the roti for roughly 2-3 minutes (until brown cooking spots form) and flip. Repeat for each. At this point, you may stack the rotis with parchment paper in-between each and freeze or set aside for serving later.

  4. When ready to serve, turn your gas stove burner to high heat. Place the roti right on the burner and fire for 10-20 seconds until charred. Rub ghee (or olive oil) on one side and squish with your hand a couple of times. This softens the roti. Serve immediately.

ideas / variations

  • *rub olive oil on your palms if you find that the dough is sticking to your hands.

  • grate the outside of the bitter melon on a box grater or large microplane until you reach the smooth layer underneath

  • Use beet or carrot as part of the base instead.

  • Replace ajwain with coriander or fenugreek leaves.

  • If you do not have a gas stove, use a cast iron skillet for step 5.