Thepla – Gujarati Flatbread
EVENT: SUNDAY FUNDAY
THEME: MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH
RECIPE: THEPLA – GUJARATI FLATBREAD
Thepla – Gujarati Flatbread is a popular savoury, delicious flatbread that is enjoyed for breakfast, brunch or even as a part of a main meal. Mention thepla to anyone and the first few words they will utter is ‘Gujjus love their theplas.” And yes we do!
Thepla is a versatile food item for Gujaratis. Take it for picnics, carry with you as travel food, pack it in lunch boxes or make it to enjoy with some curry instead of normal roti, naan or paratha. Leftover thepla taste equally good even when they are cold.
We love them so much that I also make Farali Theplato have during fasting days. These gluten free version of thepla can be enjoyed without any problem by people who suffer from celiac disease.
By the way, Sunday Funday is a group of Food Bloggers. Every Sunday we share some fun, traditional, hearty or easy recipes to make Sunday Family Meals a bit more exciting. To join this fun group, visit the Sunday Funday Facebook Page. Request to join in.
THEME: MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH
Today (8th May) is Mother’s Day. Amy who blogs at Amy’s Cooking Adventures suggested we celebrate moms with tasty brunch mains, drinks, sides,etc. I knew immediately that I would be posting my mum’s favourite breakfast/brunch – thepla.
First Published on 08/05/2018. Updated on 08/05/2022
SUNDAY FUNDAY GROUP CELEBRATES MOTHERS’ DAY
- Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Brownie Bottomed Raspberry Cheesecake
- A Day in the Life on the Farm: Molettes de Jamon y Frijole
- Food Lust People Love: Fresh Peach Cream Pie
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Oil-Cured Fromage Blanc-Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves
- Sneha’s Recipe: Churros French Toast
Making Miracles: Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Mayuri’s Jikoni: Thepla – Gujarati Flatbread
- Cook with Renu: Avocado Stuffed Celery Sticks (Oil-Free)
CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY WITH MY MUM’S FAVOURITE – THEPLA
When I was younger, remember my mum making huge piles of theplas. We were a big family. Also she made enough so that there were some leftover to enjoy the next day. My mum not only loved making thepla but she loved them. I think she made them often as she would want to have one or two with her masala tea for breakfast. She was never the bread, cereal, oats kind of person. Breakfast for her was always plain paratha, leftover roti or theplas.
So no wonder, I learned how to make thepla when I was pretty young. Always helped her to make them and by watching learned the different variations. First it started of helping her to roll the dough balls, then progressed to rolling them out and as I grew older, helping her to roast them on the tawa or skillet.
Whenever, I make certain Gujarati dishes, including thepla always remember my mum fondly. As much as I miss her with all my heart, Mothers’ Day tend to get me all emotional. I remember she use to boast to my siblings that I wished her Happy Mother’s Day twice a year! Once when UK celebrates Mothers’ Day and then when we celebrate it in May like so many countries do.
This year will be no different, not only will I miss my mum so dearly, but my kids too. Though they will call and wish me, they all are too far away to physically celebrate it with me. Not complaining too much as last weekend was an early Mothers’ Day celebration as my son and his girl friend came down from Montreal.
When people travelled by ship(the famous SS Karanja) from Mombasa to India, they had to carry with them enough food and snack items to last at least 2 weeks especially if you travelled by third class. I think at that time only one main was served. So, no wonder Gujaratis would carry with them thepla, handvo, magas and dhebra. Back then there were no plastic tins, cling wraps or aluminum foil used. When my siblings and I travelled to Mumbai with my mum in 1968 by SS Karanja I remember we carried the snacks in brass and steel containers. On our return journey, they we filled with food by my mum’s family.
WHAT CAN YOU ADD TO THEPLAS?
If we make thepla to carry with us travel food, they are simple without vegetables, leftover rice, yogurt, etc. Just simple spices and they are rolled out thin. These last for over a week at room temperature but if kept in a cool place.
However, when we make them for picnics, breakfast, brunch, lunch boxes, main meals, etc lots of other ingredients go into them.
What options are there to add to the thepla dough? There are so many but I’ll name a few:
- chopped fresh coriander
- fresh fenugreek (methi),chopped
- spinch, chopped
- leftover rice or khichdi
- grated cabbage
- doodhi /bottle gourd – grated
- chow chow/chayote, grated
- boiled potato, sweet potato
- leftover dals
- soft sabjis like potato, pea, cauliflower, etc curries that are leftover. Must be thick and soft.
Below in the recipe I have used leftover pulao. That can be replaced with any one of the above or combinations of it. Just make sure the total amount is about 1 -1½ cups. For example use a combination of leftover rice and grated cabbage, both together should be about 1 -1½ cups
Sometimes we add other flours along with the wheat flour. Here are some of the options:
Usually we take 1½ cup of wheat flour and ½ cup of any of the below. If you use a mixture, the total should be around ½ – ¾ cup.
- besan/chickpea flour
- pearl millet/bajra flour
- Jowar/sorghum flour
- Ragi/finger millet flour
- Jau/ Barley flour
- Oat flour
- rice flour
SOME USEFUL TIPS
Whenever I make thepla, there is no fixed amount of ingredients that I use. I have only measured out the ingredients as I wanted to add this recipe to my blog.
- I always first put cooked rice, pulao or khichdi first. Then I add the flour and spices accordingly. While mixing, the texture will indicate whether you need to add water or yogurt or not. Sometimes khichdi can be soft and gooey, then you may not need any liquid to make the dough.
- If using yogurt or water, add little at a time on kneading the dough as you don’t want the dough to become too soft. It should be soft and manageable dough.
- Always use flour for dusting while rolling the thepla, that way it will not stick to the rolling pin or your rolling board.
- After kneading the dough, immediately make the theplas. If you have used vegetables, on resting they give out their natural juice making the dough soft. So best to make the thepla as soon as the dough is ready.
- For softer thepla add oil and yogurt in the dough.
- Thepla should not be rolled out too thin or too thick.
- Add some lemon juice if your are not using yogurt.
- Adding a bit of sugar is optional. I don’t add any but some families do.
MY FAVOURITE WAY TO ENJOY THEPLA
INGREDIENTS REQUIRED FOR THEPLA – GUJARATI FLATBREAD WITH LEFTOVER PULAO
- Wheat Flour – can use a combination of different grain flours. For every 1½ part of wheat flour use ½ part of different grain flour. Need some extra for rolling the thepla.
- Leftover Rice – use plain rice, khichdi or pulao. If you don’t have leftover rice, simply replace it with grated cabbage, bottle gourd, chow chow, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.
- Fresh Coriander – or fresh fenugreek, spinach, kale, amaranth leaves, etc.
- Sesame Seeds – use white or black.
- Ajwain – carom seeds, ajmo. Easily available in Indian Stores or online.
- Cumin Seeds – jeera, jiru. Easily available in Indian Stores or online.
- Green Chillis – minced or paste, add according to your flavour.
- Fresh Ginger – minced or paste, add according to your flavour.
- Garlic – minced or paste, add according to your flavour.
- Salt – add according to your taste.
- Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar. Is easily available in most grocery stores. Also available in Indian Stores or online.
- Red Chilli Powder – optional. I add only if the green chillis are not too hot.
- Oil – some to add to the dough and the rest for roasting the thepla.
- Yogurt – plain and thick. Or add some lemon juice.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE THEPLA – GUJARATI FLATBREAD
THEPLA - GUJARATI SAVOURY FLATBREAD
- 2 cups wholewheat flour
- 1½ cup leftover pulao
- ½ cup fresh coriander chopped
- ¼ -⅓ cup plain yogurt thick
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp green chilli paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp carom seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric powder haldi
- 2 tbsp oil
- extra oil for roasting
- extra flour for dusting
- Add all the ingredients except the extra oil, extra flour and yogurt.
- Mix all the ingredients, try and form a dough.
- Add the yogurt little by little and make a soft dough.
- The dough should be a manageable soft one.
- Heat the tava, skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
- Divide the dough into 10 to 12 parts. Roll them into balls.
- With the help of extra flour, roll out one part about 6" in diameter or so.
- Put it on the hot tava (it should not be too hot). Reduce the heat to low setting. Let one side cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side.
- Smear a tsp of oil on the top side and flip it. Smear oil on the top side. Cook both sides till you have light brown specks.
- Put on a wire rack to cool a bit or serve hot with pickles.
- Repeat the above steps with the remaining dough.
- Use mashed potato instead of rice.
- If you do not have any leftover rice thenadd grated cabbage,doodhi, zucchini, etc
- Use fresh chopped fenugreek, kale or spinach instead of coriander
- For more crispy theplas smear a bit more oil on both sides.
- If your dough becomes too soft, add more flour.
- Once you make the dough, roll out the theplas immediately because if the dough is left, it will become soft.
- Enjoy them with hot masala tea, pickles, yogurt or a curry/sabji.
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