A Chef’s Review of Rotimatic – The Robotic Roti Maker

As you probably know by now, I am a food and travel writer and a chef. I have taught cooking classes across the US. I would say, I have perfected many cuisines, including Mexican, Spanish,  Italian, Moroccan, Indian, and more. However, one thing I have never been able to perfect is the quintessential “roti.” I can make a perfect French crepe, get a golden crust on an Italian crostata, and bake a mouth-watering banana nut cake from scratch. But I have yet to perfect making a roti!

I know this is sad, but what looks like a simple and easy recipe, takes years of perfection.

Whenever I visit my grandmother in my hometown of Chandigarh, I step back in the kitchen to observe our home chef churning out one soft and fluffy roti after another, within a matter of seconds. Often times, I’m inspired by her to get my hands dirty in the kitchen, but like a child who has learned to make cookie dough for the first time, I retreat messy and complacent with just being served at the table.

Back in the US, I satisfy myself with frozen parathas, whole wheat tortillas or rotis bought from the Indian store.

So when I heard about this new automatic roti maker that can make fresh, homemade rotis, without much effort, I was eager to learn more.

Why not get help of a robot?

What is Roti?

Roti is a round flatbread made of wholemeal flour and water, native to the Indian subcontinent. It is also found in parts of Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, though it may be prepared slightly differently. Roti is also known as chapati or phulka and eaten as a staple with most Indian curries and vegetables. No Indian meal is complete without rice, roti or both!

My first batch of Rotimatic rotis

If you frequent Indian restaurants, you may be familiar with its cousin – naan, which is actually quite different. Unlike roti, naan is typically made with processed flour, yeast or baking powder, and dairy (yogurt or milk), and baked in a clay oven known as tandoor. It has more calories than roti L

In Indian households, roti is proffered over naan, as its easier to make and healthier.

This is what a Rotimatic looks like when in use

Using Rotimatic

Rotimatic is like a bread maker, but for rotis. It kneads the dough, rolls it out, bakes it and churns out fresh rotis – within minutes! The Singapore based company, Zimplistic sent me my very own Rotimatic to try out and these opinions are strictly my own.

At first glance, the box I received was bulky and huge. It was as big as a microwave oven, though I was expecting it to be more like a bread maker. Weighing 45 lbs., I needed the help of my husband to move the machine to the kitchen, which occupied a bit of counter space.

In order to get started with my robotic roti maker, the first thing I needed to do was download the app that goes with it. Now, the app doesn’t really control the machine, but talks to it. Mostly, it’s there for recipes, help and track how many rotis you made.

Select preferences on the Rotimatic to get started

The Rotimatic comes ready to go and you don’t even have to wash it before its first use.

The second step is to fill the three canisters with ingredients – water, oil and flour. Turn the machine on and use the screen to make your selections. You will need to select what type of flour you are using (they strongly recommend Aashirvaad Select Whole Wheat Atta from India), what you want to make (roti, puri, pizza/ flatbread), the thickness you prefer (from 5 levels), how much roast you like on it (4 levels), and the quantity you want.

The first time you turn on the machine, it takes about 7-8 minutes to warm up. After that, each roti is made one at a time. The Rotimatic will take the required amount of ingredients to produce one roti roughly about every 2.5 minutes. The roti comes out hot and ready to eat.

Rotimatic is not any noisier then a blender or food processor. It does get pretty hot in front of the oven area, but it won’t cause burning if you happen to be there.

Enjoying an Indian dinner with fresh rotis

The Taste Test

The first warning Rotimatic gives you to is “This is a learning machine. Your rotis will get better over time!” I guess like the face recognition software on the iPhone, the Rotimatic learns your preferences over time. Exactly how, this is not clear to me.

My first few rotis were actually quite good. They were perfectly round, consistently shaped and evenly cooked. I watched closely to see how the oven fluffed each roti like one would do at home. 

I tried a few different settings as well. My personal preference was thin and crispy, though even the thick ones were pretty good. I fried the thick ones in light oil to make it a paratha. I recommend wrapping the rotis in a cloth if you are not going to eat them right away.

You still need to fry the pooris in hot oil

What else can you do with it?

You can also make poori (a type of fried bread) with the Rotimatic setting designed for it. Small round thin discs are spit out, which you still need to deep fry in hot oil to cook your poori. They are hard to make manually because you need to roll out the dough very thin. I thought these were delicious and a must at my next Diwali party! They also come out much faster than the rotis, so you can get a bigger batch ready to go into the fryer.

Ragi roti served with kaya make for a delicious & healthy breakfast or snack

The app and website have a lot of recipes for desserts, sides and mains you can make using the Rotimatic, such as masala besan roti, chaat puri, puran poli, and more. You can also use masa harina flour for tortillas, amarnath flour for pasta, spelt flour for biscuits, and brown rice flour for rotis.

Rotimatic was first released in 2017, and since then the machine has improved. As the technology continue to evolve, more options will be released, such as making tortillas and wraps.

Switch out store bough bread for whole wheat roti for breakfast

Is it worth it?

My testimonial of the Rotimatic is that it makes practical sense for my family. Since we are only two people, we don’t want to labor to make only 4-5 pieces of roti for ourselves. On the Rotimatic, I can set how many rotis I want to eat at that time and it will make only that quantity.

Also, if different family members prefer different kinds of rotis (say I like a thin roti, my husband likes a poori), you don’t have to knead two different kinds of dough. The machine does it for you.

I often travel for work and my husband can use the Rotimatic on his own as well. When he returns from work, he turns on the machine, goes to freshen up, and when he returns, his dinner is ready!

My husband has dinner ready!

What about cleaning?

I once threw away my heavy-duty vegetable juicer only because cleaning all the different parts took more time and effort than it did to make the juice. With Rotimatic, I am happy to say the cleaning process is painless. The only thing you need to clean after each use is the kneading area. Wait for 30 minutes for the machine to cool down before opening the door, but make sure not to wait till the next day or the dough will solidify.

A handy brush comes with the equipment so you can simply dust off the flour.

The rest of the parts require cleaning at least every 2 weeks and it takes only 10 minutes.

Final Thoughts

The Upside

Rotimatic is super easy to use and directions are given for every step. Like a robot, it talks to you! My machine told me when flour was running low or there was an obstruction in the door.

It forces you to eat healthier. The main ingredient when using the Rotimatic is whole wheat flour, but you can also use other varieties such as gluten-free, almond flour, millet, etc. There are no preservatives or added sugars or salt used. Plus it is much cheaper the buying store bought rotis (in Atlanta, they cost $1-2 each). The machine also gives you a summary of how much time and calories you saved after each use!

I feel this is going to force me to experiment with other kinds of low-carb, high-fiber flours that I wasn’t comfortable with cooking before. This is especially useful for people with dietary restrictions, such as diabetes, celiac, or allergies towards certain grains.

Saving money, time and calories!

I like the fact that that the Rotimatic just doesn’t make rotis. You can also make homemade, healthy and delicious pasta, flatbread, tacos, wraps and more with it. Keep in mind, all will be the same size.

Did I mention it saves time? I turn on my Rotimatic when I start to make my main dish, like saag paneer, daal or chicken curry. By the time I am done cooking, my rotis are done too. Cooking rotis for only 1-2 people is more time consuming since it requires same amount of labor as if you were making a big batch. Using Rotimatic reduces your time in the kitchen. 

Actual size of Rotimatic

The Downside

At over $800, the Rotimatic is quite an investment for a kitchen gadget that can only make limited things. You have to think about how often you would use the product to justify the price.

Rotimatic occupies quite a bit of counter space and is not easy to move, so make sure you have a big enough kitchen where this machine can sit permanently.

Since the Rotimatic has only been out for 2 years, it’s long-term warranty and life is not yet know. As it is a high-tech machine, there are bound to be glitches. A few times, my screen alerted me that the dough was running low or the kneading rotator was stuck, but that wasn’t true. Couple of times the dough balls got left behind and didn’t make it to the second step.

Are you owner of a Rotimatic? What has been your experience with it? Please share with our readers in the comments section below.

Dine Out for Go Eat Give

You are going to eat, so why not make a difference? One of favorite restaurants in Atlanta will donate 10% of all sales to your favorite charity Go Eat Give! Gather your coworkers, family & friends for dinner & feel good.

Chai Pani serves Indian street snacks, platters, lassis & draft beers in a casual, colorful space with a hip vibe in Decatur downtown. Chef-owner Meherwan Irani has been nominated for James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast 4 times.

Just bring your friends & order what you like.
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406 W Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, Georgia 30030

You Have to Eat These 15 Dishes in Kashmir

If you love grilled meats, fresh breads, fragrant rice dishes and curries rich with spices – you will love Kashmiri food. Kashmir is the northernmost state in India, bordering with Pakistan to its west and China to the east. The food is influenced by Persia, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. However, it is unique in itself.

Here are some dishes you must try during your next visit to Kashmir.

Kahwah – Traditional green tea brewed with saffron, and topped with chopped almonds. You can add sugar or honey as needed. Every hotel, shop and home will welcome guests with a cup of hot kahwah. While the best tea I tasted was at someone’s home in Srinagar, I liked the variety of breads served alongside at Hotel Heevan in Pahalgam. You can also order high tea outside in the lawn overlooking the Lidder River.

Girda – A typical Kashmiri breakfast consists of nun chai (salty pink tea) along with a piece of fresh baked bread such as girda (round yeast bread), lavas (unleavened bread), baquerkhani (puff pastry pictured above), and tsot. In downtown Srinagar, you can find old bakeries elaborately stacked with breads early in the morning.

Nadru – Because of the many lakes around Kashmir valley, lotus is grown in abundance. The locals cook lotus root in a verity of dishes and these thinly battered and fried lotus root cutlets sprinkled with garam masala are delicious. Serve them as an appetizer with a creamy walnut chutney. Try it at Welcomehotel Pine-N-Peak in Pahalgam. I also had lotus root cooked in yogurt sauce (nadru yakhni), which was a simple, light and tasty vegetarian dish.

Kashmiri Pulao – Kashmiri rice is very different from traditional Basmati. It is thicker and shorter locally grown variety, which is rich in starch and nutrients. Rice is a staple in Kashmir and cooked in different kinds of pulaos and biryanis. This is the most common one, cooked with a bit of saffron, spices, nuts and dried fruits. You can eat it on its own or pair it with a curry. The best one I tasted was at Dilkusha restaurant in Pahalgam.

Rajma – The red kidney bean stew is common in most of India, though the Kashmiri rajma is different. The beans are darker in color, smaller and of heirloom variety. It is less spicy, and cooked with tomatoes and red chilies to add a deeper red color. The riverfront Hotel Heevan in Pahalgam cooked this especially for us.

Saag/ Haak – Unlike what most Indian restaurants serve as saag, in Kashmir saag refers to a variety of greens including cabbage, broccoli, kale and kohlrabi. These are cooked with lots of mustard oil and dried red chilies. At Ahdoos restaurant in Srinagar.

Gucci – These local morel mushrooms are found only in the damp forests, sort of like truffles. They cannot be grown and cost up to $500/ kg when discovered in season. The flavor is very earthy and dry, but this gucchi and peas curry is a must try with flaky parathas. Order it at Lolaab in Pahalgam.

Dum Aloo – This dish originated from the traditional Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. The small potatoes are deep friend, and then simmered on a low fame with about a dozen spices. Try it at Fortune Resort Heevan in Srinagar.

Seekh KebabNo meal in Kashmir is complete without meat, mostly lamb. You will often find a variety of kebabs, meat curries or rice biryanis. These spiced ground lamb skewers are a popular appetizer at Cafe Chinar restaurant in Srinagar. Make it a meal with thin roomali (handkerchief roti).

Waza Chicken – A Wazwan is a multi-course meal in the Kashmiri Muslim tradition prepared in copper utensils by a traditional vasta waza, or head chef, with the assistance of a court of wazas, or chefs. These dishes are typically cooked at weddings and parties, but available at restaurants as well. I tried the waza chicken – fried chicken, cooked in in red curry at Dilkhusa restaurant in Gulmarg, as well as a few other places.

Kokur Yakhni – The bone-in chicken pieces are simmered in yogurt and garnished with fennel and lots of dry mint. The sauce is a bit runny with lemony flavor, and pairs well with steamed rice. Heevan Retreat‘s Dilkhusa restaurant in Gulmarg.

Kofta – Though kofta (meatball) is a popular dish in Kashmiri cuisine generally made with lamb or goat, I tried a version with fresh fish at Fortune Resort Heevan’s Earthen Oven in Srinagar. The local snapper was minced, shaped into balls and steamed, floating in a creamy sweet and spicy sauce.

Kashmiri naan – This flatbread is very different than the garlic or butter naans you may have had before. Though baked in a traditional tandoor (clay oven), it is more like a pizza that you can eat it by itself. This one at Ahdoos restaurant in Srinagar was topped with cashews, raisins, coconut and cocktail fruits.

Kashmiri Halva – Most of the time in Kashmir I was too full with my meal to think about dessert, but my waiter at Heevan Hotel in Gulmarg insisted that I try their Kashmiri halva, and I am so glad that I did! Cooked with ghee (clarified butter), sooji (semolina) and water, topped with almonds, raisins and coconut flakes, this was one of the best halvas I had. I recommend ordering this for breakfast as it is quite rich.

Phirni – Now I had phirni many times before and my favorite was a thick white color rice pudding served chilled in a clay pot at some muslim owned restaurants in Old Delhi. But the Kashmiri version I had at Fortune Resort Heevan in Srinagar was made with semolina instead of rice, runny and served warm. It was also yellow from the saffron.

Of course there are far more dishes in Kashmiri cuisine that I didn’t get to try, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. It’s just a good starting point for your next visit to Kashmir.

Have you tried a Kashmiri dish not listed above?