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Khakhara or khakra bread is a traditional Indian bread made in Gujarat. It may also be called rotli, and it is very similar to chapati, another common Indian flatbread. This simple flatbread is quite easy to make, and it is a popular accompaniment for curry. Many Indian restaurants offer khakhara bread on their menus, and packaged khakhara bread can also be found in some Indian markets and specialty stores. It is also possible to make at home, with relatively simple ingredients and a quick cooking process.
Flatbreads have been made in India for thousands of years. Since they have no yeast, they do not require rising to be ready, making them very easy to prepare. Dough can also be made in huge batches, allowing cooks to make enough khakhara bread to last several days. To make the bread, cooks put the dough together, flavoring it with herbs and spices if desired, and then roll it out into small discs, which are cooked in heavy cast iron pans or on the griddle. The finished khakhara bread can also be seasoned with ghee, also called clarified butter, for extra flavor.
Pieces of khakhara bread can be used like utensils to scoop and blend ingredients on the plate, and the light, absorbent bread is also an excellent tool for soaking up the remainders of sauces. When Indian food is eaten with the hands, a tray of flatbread like khakhara is always present at the table so that diners do not have to handle their food directly. The hot flavors of Indian cuisine also pair very well with starchy breads, as the bread can help to cut the intensity of the heat for people who are not accustomed to it.
To make khakhara, mix three cups of a flour of choice or a blend of flours with one cup lukewarm water, two teaspoons of salt, and a tablespoon of ghee or oil for a more rich flavor. Knead the dough briefly, until it rolls up into a smooth ball, and then break small portions off to roll out into individual breads. If you can find a chapati rolling pin, use it, as these unique rolling pins are specifically designed to produce these breads. Otherwise, roll the dough out until it is thin, with slightly thicker edges.
Heat a heavy pan or griddle on medium, and slide the khakhara breads onto it, cooking until one side is browned and then flipping it to cook the other side. Sometimes the breads will puff up; puffy breads also have a place at the Indian table, and if you want to deliberately achieve this, try toasting the khakhara over an open flame. Stack the khakhara on a cloth-lined plate, and cover them in cloth to keep them warm until you are ready to serve them. They should come out slightly chewy with a crispy crust. For variations, try adding whole seeds or ground spices to your khakhara bread.
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