Random ramblings about leftover rotis

Random ramblings about leftover rotis

The other day about half an hour after dinner H said, ‘I am hungry. Can I have a roti?’ The only emotion I felt at that question was annoyance.

It had been barely five minutes since I’d wiped down and cleared up the kitchen and the last thing I wanted to do was to pull out the entire roti-making paraphernalia and roll out one for him.

It’s another matter that I also dislike the idea of him eating anything half an hour after a meal only because he was in too much of a hurry to get back to whatever he was doing while having lunch.

Of course I can make a few spare ones but the thing is I hate/dread left over chapatis. I have no idea what to do with them. Oh I do have an idea, many ideas, actually, but most of them require either too much effort or some form of deep frying – both of which I am averse to.

Re-heating doesn’t make them palatable and the maid doesn’t want any. Cows and stray dogs are not so common around here, even if I could gather the courage to seek them out to feed them. And I do hate throwing food in the bin. So I’m pretty stuck, unless I resign myself to eating stale chapatis.

How did the past generations manage.. 

…I sometimes wonder – my grandmom and my mom. The number of people who would be around for lunch or dinner was often fluid. People would flow in and out all the time. Very often whoever visited at lunch/dinner time was asked to join in. And Boy! did they have appetites!

What’s worse, one could never ever, repeat, never ever, ask people how many chapatis they would eat. It would have set tongues wagging and become the worse kind of family folklore in the entire extended community as the epitome of bad manners. I can clearly imagine the whispers, ‘So and so asked so and so how many rotis will you eat.’ Yup, it would been quite the scandal. The person who had been thus humiliated would probably severe all relations with the family of that insolent woman.

In any case counting wouldn’t have really been required back then because rotis were supposed to be made and served hot and fluffy, as and when various members sat down to eat.

A story goes..

..that when my maternal grandfather (my mom’s uncle) would sit to eat and my mom, not really famous for her patience, would ask him how many more chapatis she should make for him, he would shake his head and reply with a rather vague and completely non-committal, ‘I’m eating.’

She had little patience with this tiresome tradition but was fortunate in that the trickle of random guests had all but died down by the time her generation took over. It was only occasionally that she had to chip in. I have to add here that this is her own uncle we’re talking about or else she wouldn’t have dared to voice that question. Also, my mom has been quite the revolutionary. She broke many traditions, which worked really well for us, easing the way ahead.

That brings me back to my quandary

As the children are growing, specially H, their appetites vary from day to day. Sudden growth spurts make them sometimes more sometimes less hungry from one day to the next. And so either I’m stuck with stale rotis or I don’t have enough.

After thought: I’m seriously considering adopting a stray.

14 Replies to “Random ramblings about leftover rotis”

  1. Your post cracked me up with its wry humor Tulika. I know what you mean by asking peeps how much they will eat. I remember my mother shushing me when I went to count rotis in a dabba or the cutlets on a plate to let her know how many there are. I was always rebuked to not count food.

    But I understand your dilemma as being single I too get this – some days I get to skip a meal as an unplanned outing happens or I feel stuffed after one roti. I generally put it out for the birds or the stray dogs as thats the easiest thing to do with it.

    Sometimes I roast it on the girdle – enough to make it crispy like a cracker – then spread some butter and sugar on it and let me tell you how divine it is. It becomes very khakra like in texture and the butter and sugar melt to form this gooey concoction which is just yummy. You can also add gur instead of sugar!! Try this and tell me how it was for you.

    PS: Sometimes I just crisp the rotis and store in air tight bin. They make a great snack with my morning cup of tea too!

    1. Butter and sugar on a roti… sounds absolutely yum and not too much hassle either. In any case I don’t have an issue with occasional left-overs. It’s the perpetual ones that bother me. I don’t ALWAYS want to be the person eating leftover food.

  2. Haha! My mom always asks us beforehand (yes, even now) the number of rotis we would eat. She’ll make the exact number – not one more or less. I used to be really angry at her, after all, what’s the big deal in making a couple more. Now that I’m managing a home, I know what’s at stake. Stale rotis isn’t good, as you said. Anyway, I make egg rolls with the left over rotis now. That will be P’s teatime snack. 😛
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  3. The first question I ask my husband before making roti is -how many would he eat. Hehe now I know I shouldn’t ask… Atleast not the guests. We used to drive mom crazy too with our erratic food demands. But yes, we did have a dog. A big fat one. It’s a good solution though
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  4. During my childhood, we made extra chapatis for later. And when later arrived, we’d chop the chapatis into small pieces, sprinkle some buttermilk on them and set them aside. In a pan, add two-three spoons of oil, sputter mustard seeds and jeera, add curry leaves, perhaps some chilies if you like, masala of your choice (we used the dosa chili powder), and then add the chapati pieces. Toss around adjusting the flame until the pieces are separate and slightly crisp. Then indulge. This turns out great with phulkas and greater with parathas.
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  5. Hehehehe….you are considering adopting a stray to finish your stale rotis? Hehehehe…Hilarious! I am having a super moment laughing, Tulika! Not at you, dear, but the ideas that are born out of frustration at the rotis left over. So, I will give you a simple recipe.
    Take the stale rotis, and tear them in quarters. Put them all into the grinder and grind till you get tiny, crumb-like pieces of rotis.
    Next, as per the quantity of these roti crumbs, chop an onion finely. Chop green chillies and some curry leaves.
    In a pan, heat some oil, give a tadka of cumin seeds, and add curry leaves and green chillies. Add the chopped onion and saute for a while. Once the onion is golden, add turmeric and chilly powder and salt to taste, and finally, add the roti pieces. Mix well and add half a spoon of sugar. Sprinkle some water on it and put on the lid and after a couple of minutes switch off the gas. Have this with curd or pickle or anything you like. This has been the go-to recipe whenever we have had stale rotis…it’s an old recipe–older than me, I guess! Sometimes, when there are too many stale rotis, I use this recipe as breakfast. And, we call this recipe “Kuchkara”…Kuchkara basically means tearing something into tiny, crumb-like pieces.
    I hope this helps solve your problem, else you will have to get home a canine who will solve the problem for you. 😀
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  6. Ah, I feel you, Tulika. I have no option but to throw away the remaining rotis here 🙁

    Thankfully, we know exactly how many rotis to make and there seldom is any left over. I’m not the one to store them and eat them later. I don’t do that for any cooked food. So if there is anything left over, it would be one or two rotis. I don’t feel bad disposing them.

    Too bad we don’t have families and friends dropping in now to help us finish our food, the world has become way too much of a nuclear place now.

    All the best in dealing with H and N’s appetite. I unfortunately have no experience in that area, but yeah even at 32 I get those occasional bouts of hunger where I sit with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.

    1. Peanut butter sounds good but don’t let the kids hear you say that. They’d be diving right into their Nutella jars post dinner :-). That’s the worst part of parenting – having to give up your own bad habits.
      I think throwing food occasionally has become a necessity, much as I dislike doing it.

  7. hehe The dilemmas over rotis. You know I ask before every meal how many rotis to make. Like you I don’t like making extra rotis though I could technically give them to Coco if any spare but I generally plan for his food in advance. I remember my mum would have a few leftover rotis. She would put ghee and masala and make a roll for us with them. I don’t do that, however. Most times, I make rice too in the meal and the kids or anyone else who is hungry eats more rice. I do a lot of things with leftover rice so that’s never an issue. 🙂

    1. Yup rice is a good idea. I never mind leftover rice. Unfortunately the children have fallen into the habit of only roti or only rice. But that needs to be changed.

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