Gluten-free Jowar Roti or Sorghum Flatbread Tortilla Recipe

The first time I heard of Jowar Roti was when I was on a trip to India and staying in Bangalore. I read in a blog that the “Jolad rotti oota” in Kamat Minerva (at Minerva circle) in Bagalore was absolutely amazing. The Jowar Roti there might even be gluten-free- but I didn’t have time to go and investigate. Once I returned to the States i didn’t think much about it, but I’d filed away the thought of single flour, gluten-free roti. Once I had to go on a rotation diet for baby Yum, I remembered those breads and set to work perfecting them at home. First, I came up with a yummy millet flatbread recipe. The sorghum one was considerably harder. When it has worked, the results have been spectacular, but it has been hit or miss, with quite a few impromptu “pizzas” made with the failed dough. However, recently I finally stumbled upon a winning technique that seems to work every time. It requires a roux whisk- but you should have one of those anyway! It is by far my favorite whisk, perfect for making gluten-free vegan gravy. If you don’t have one, I have a backup technique, but it doesn’t work half as well and you may end up eating pizza. Surprise.

While I love the mild flavor of the millet roti, the sorghum roti is amazingly flexible and can be easily wrapped around fillings without cracking. They taste the best hot off the griddle. For a dry, crackly bread, just leave them on the griddle until dark spots appear. For a soft, pliable tortilla, make them a little thicker and/or only keep them on the griddle until a few light brown spots appear. I love this roti with vegetable fajita filling or an Indian curry. It has more whole grain personality than millet, which I personally like, and is definitely more versatile. Best of all, it naturally does not need eggs, dairy, baking powder, xanthan gum or any other ingredient that may be problematic for the gluten-free, allergic baker. Let’s hear it for naturally simple gluten-free baked products! Let me know what you think when you try it. It has become a favorite menu staple at our house. *Also, if you have any great gluten-free vegetarian curry recipes that would go well with this roti, share in the comments and I’ll add links to the post!

Jowar Roti Sorghum Flatbread Tortilla Recipe
2 cups sorghum flour (for pretty, cream colored roti like those pictured, use Authentic Foods Sorghum flour. For a more rustic greyish roti use Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups water

salt to taste

Put your flour container near the stove and measure out one cup of sorghum flour to have ready next to the burner. You will either need a heavy roux whisk OR a food processor and lots of patience. You will also need a sturdy wooden spoon and strong arm muscles for this recipe (or the ability to fake it, like me).

Bring your water barely to a boil in a saucepan. Add your 1 cup of flour gradually but steadily, using the roux whisk to whisk the stream of flour into the water continuously. Reduce heat to low. Moving quickly, measure out the second cup of flour and grab your wooden spoon. Stir in your second cup of flour into the dough in the pan. This is the part that requires arm muscles. Ouch. Let’s just say this was a workout for me. A skin of dough should have formed on the bottom of the pan, leaving you with a ball of dough that becomes increasingly rubbery the longer you have it on the stove. I keep it on the stove, mixing and moving the ball of dough around, for around two minutes, or until the dough attains a really nice rubbery texture. (Trust me, it is a good thing.) Remove dough to a heat resistant bowl and leave for five-ten minutes or until cool enough to handle. Form into small balls and place in a bowl.

Take a quart size freezer safe ziploc bag and cut out the sides.

For wimpy, no rolling method, put the bag into a tortilla press. Place a ball of dough in the press between layers of plastic. Press.

For rolling method, simply roll out dough inside your ziploc bag, with rolling pin on the top outside of the bag.

Either way, peel your tortilla from plastic and place on a plate. These tortillas handle well, so no worries.

Heat cast iron skillet to medium and toast your flatbread until its texture changes, and if you like, until it gets light brown spots. Turn it and toast the other side. Sometimes they will puff up with internal air pockets, which I think signifies a lovely, tasty flatbread. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Try to refrain from immediately slathering your flatbread with soy-free, dairy-free margarine immediately off the skillet. Or not. Its up to you. :) I usually gobble a few before dinner gets anywhere near the table.

*IF you don’t have a roux whisk and still want to make this recipe, you can try whisking your first cup of flour with a regular whisk or large serving fork. If it seizes up and gives you unpleasant flour pockets, try those arm muscles and stir the heck out of it- follow the above directions as best you can but after heating for a few minutes on low, throw the dough into your food processor and blend that dough into smooth submission. I had mediocre success with this method. Read *Warning* in the notes, along with suggested usage of failed dough.

A blogger who tried my millet roti recipe commented that she preferred the flavor/ texture of flatbread rolled out by hand. Personally I think if you work the dough enough AND press it in the tortilla press multiple times to get a really nice thin flatbread, it shouldn’t matter. If the tortilla puffs up nicely and creates a pretty air pocket, that is good enough for me. But then, I’m just too darned lazy to roll out my flatbread. And I hate my rolling pin, which weighs more than Baby Yum and is harder to handle.

*WARNING: IF you don’t have a roux whisk… get one! You can however try making this without one if you have a food processor. The recipe CAN fail using the food processor method, though. If you wind up with sticky dough, you can always make a yeast-free pizza flatbread by throwing the darned stuff onto a sheet of parchment paper, drizzling with oil or a little water and pressing out into a pizza shape. Bake in the oven until crunchy. It will taste “gluten-free” but is edible and at least the flour won’t go to waste.

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29 Responses to “Gluten-free Jowar Roti or Sorghum Flatbread Tortilla Recipe”

  1. ohhhh… I LOVE you!
    Thank you for posting this!

  2. Those look AMAZING! I can’t believe they only have 3 ingredients (well, two if you don’t include “water”)! I have, have, HAVE to give these a try.

  3. This looks yummy! What a nice break from my quinessential corn tortilla’s. I also have sorghum flour on hand, so this would be easy for me to do!

  4. These look delicious! I’m not nearly as creative in the kitchen as you, but need to avoid many of the same foods that Baby Yum does. Although I know it has been a bit of a challenge with Baby Yum’s food intollerances, it sure has sparked some wonderful creations.

  5. Oh I’m very excited about this recipe and can’t wait to give it a try. Might be tonight. And yes I have a roux whip. T probably have more kitchen equipment than any one person should have, but not everything. Next purchase will be a restaurant quality blender. Do you have one? A Vitamix or anything. Looking for opinions.

    Thanks for this recipe. Yeah, wraps without rice!!!

  6. These look truly amazing. I would never have thought about using the cream puff technique to make dough. I’ll have to try these soon. Thanks for creating these.

  7. Oh my god! This is so exciting! One of the things missing now from my Indian dishes is the roti or chapatis. I’m trying this next week with my curry dish. Thank you!

  8. This definitely sounds challenging… but worth the effort! Your sorghum pitas look gorgeous! You should start a shop and sell them. You’d definitely make some dinero. :)

  9. Yes, quite exciting. I just came home with a load of new kitchen tools but don’t have a roux whip…will need to add that to my supply. Bread is one of the things I want to conquer in the realm of gluten-free cooking so this is getting bookmarked. It’s something I dabble in but, gosh, if I could do this….

  10. [...] enjoyed researching international options like one-flour-ingredient Indian flatbreads (see my sorghum flatbread or millet flatbread recipe), but the same allergy-expert ladies on the La Leche League forums also [...]

  11. [...] Gluten-Free Jowar Roti or Sorghum Flatbread Tortilla from Book of Yum [...]

  12. I made these yesterday and they were so good! I ended up cutting them up for tortilla chips. My 3-y.o. (w/ lots of allergies/intolerances) had never had chips before; he gobbled these up. Thanks so much for sharing. Can I post a link to this recipe on my blog?

  13. Breanna, I am so happy that you enjoyed this recipe. You are always welcome to post a link to my blog or recipes. Thanks so much and best wishes and good health (and happy chip eating!) to your son!


  14. This is such a brilliantly commen-sense recipe — and i am so glad it came out tasty as well. I have made whole wheat tortillas for my non-gf family — why did i never think of trying to make gf tortillas for myself, when tortillas require no leavening to worry about anyway…? Pretty much any single gf flour or blend would be worth trying, it just depends on which flavors you like. Also, because it’s difficult to find a single ingredient recipe that actually works, this is a good way to really identify the flavor profile of each different gf flour to better balance them in blends for other recipes. You say you are avoiding nuts — legumes also? Chickpea flour would taste great, basically like a fat, chewy version of socca…

  15. [...] rolls with gorgeous crusts if you overlook its muffin-y appearance. I had eaten one too many jowar roti, or sorghum tortillas, when I decided to experiment more with flax seed as an egg substitute and make myself some tasty [...]

  16. these rock! this was the most pleasant experience I’ve had making gf tortillas. usually it ends in me stomping out of the kitchen in frustration. thanks for a great recipe. I will be using it often. your idea of using a sliced open bag for rolling is brilliant.

  17. [...] two ingredients)! i’ve made them half a dozen times or more since i came across the recipe on book of yum. you can fill these with whatever you like, we like ours best with hummus and veggies. just follow [...]

  18. Wow! I made these a few nights ago and they were amazing!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I will be making them again and again. I am writing a blog about it, and sending them here for the recipe.

  19. I made these tonight to just try and my 7 year old son was THRILLED when I old him that I was trying these out so that he can have bean burritos again.

    The sorghum roti taste to me almost like whole wheat. We will definitely be making them again.

  20. I have been anxious looking for gluten free options. It is 6 am dec 18 and I sincerely ask God to bless you for posting this recipe. My husband is a celiac disease patient and coming from a pakistani food loving family with wheat as main dietary ingredient it is so hard to make the transition to a wheat free diet. Thank you and will post once i try this recipe. I have a question what pot do you use to cook the flour and the heat level required while cooking the dough. Next i am going to buy the whisk n griddle. God bless.

  21. Hi Lovina, Thank you for your kind comments. I use a medium sized stainless steel saucepan and start with the heat on medium high. Later the heat gets turned down to low (as indicated). I hope your husband enjoys the recipe.

    All my best,

  22. You are a genius! My 4yo son is slightly sensitive to wheat flour and very sensitive to corn. So I’ve been stuck making these rice and garbanzo mix flour tortillas which crumble very easily. These sorghum ones are fantastic. They are just like wheat flour tortillas and are so very pliable!! Thank you thank you thank you. I am Mexican and man did I miss my tacos (real Mexican tacos with soft corn tortillas). And my son’s favorite thing use to be bean burritos. Well I made these tortillas today and he had 4 burritos! I think I’ll try the boiling water method with different flours. I had never heard of that method before.

  23. [...] then I found this terrific recipe from Book of Yum.  I’ve made a few changes to the technique to prevent failures, but overall, its the same [...]

  24. Hello! These were amazing! One quick tip for those who do not have a tortilla press. You can put your ball of dough between the plastic and use a large plate to press down. You will get the perfect circle every time this way! Just be careful not to press to hard so not to break the plate. This dough is very similar to dough used for corn tortillas using Masa (corn flour). A cast iron skillet that is well oiled and seasoned would be much better than a frying pan for sure! Practice makes perfect!

  25. This recipe is so exciting!! Probably a ridiculous, beginner question…..but, do you add any oil to the skillet for cooking? Also, can you store them? One more question: how did you make them into chips? These would be great for kids lunches & the chips would make a welcomed snack. Thank you!!!!

  26. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I agree with Lovina; God Bless You! I just made these! Actually, I made both the sorghum and the millet. I did the sorghum first. Thought maybe I needed a tad more water, because the edges wanted to kind of break open instead of staying nice and round. Still turned out awsome though. Next I made the millet. I used whole millet that I ground in the dry container of my Vita-Mix. Also turned out excellent!! I did add 1/4 tsp. of sea salt to the water with millet. I had two yummy spinach and “homemade” salsa wraps for lunch. I also placed the hot,”cooked” tortillas in a covered dish. I used to do this with my whole wheat tortillas to keep them pliable. Worked great with these also. Only thing is that mine didn’t puff at all when I dry fried them in my large stainless steel pan. They were still great though.

  27. Thank you for this.
    Been fretting how /what to make for hubby. Been trying GF for over a year now. (though not officially dx with Celiac)
    but also new doc found out that perhaps he’s also allergic to
    or should stay away from yeast, brown/white rice, soy and dairy and corn.
    So all GF mixes are out. As is quinoa pasta (SIGH).
    And he was just getting back to making his own corn chips with fresh corn tortillas.
    (doesn’t think that corn is a culprit) but for now, best to err on the side of wait and see for the next 4-6 months.

    made these today, only half a recipe in case they didn’t turn out. He LOVED LOVED THEM. :-)
    so quick made another half recipe for him.

    will probably make them daily just to have a few to save/store.
    and i am so excited to try your all purpose type mixes.

  28. These wraps are great and easy to make. I recommend having some extra flour on hand as I find them to stick some to the ziplock bag. My family loves them and my kids ask for them often. May I post this on my blogs? I have friends with celiac who really could benefit from this recipe. Thanks again.

  29. THANK YOU so much!! I am mexican and my husband is allergic to wheat, tapioca, and can’t handle any of the gums needed in gluten free cooking. We go without bread most of the time. I miss the wheat textured tortillas and corn are good but I get tired of them. I am placing my order for Sorghum and millet flour today, as we live in a rural area and very little gluten free options are available here. I will be making these as soon as I get me flours. Thanks again.

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