Monday, May 21, 2012

Thepla (Spicy Flat Bread with Herbs)

Methi (Fenugreek) Thepla

Theplas are spicy flat breads (rotis) made with herbs.  It is similar to a tortilla in that it is a flat bread; but there the similarity ends.  A thepla is much more than a vehicle for wrapping other foods; it is a lovely spicy snack on its own or may be part of a meal.  Usha J. was very gracious to show me how to make these and I have been making them ever since :).  I am told that the traditional way to eat them is accompanied by Kichdi (a rice and lentil risotto quite popular all over India), a vegetable (with potato) curry, fresh yogurt, papadams, and pickles.  I often serve them with Simple dal, Sweet Potato Curry, and Hot Lemon or Mango Pickles.  The leftover theplas are wonderful whether warmed up or at room temperature with a bit of Indian pickles and a cup of Chai.

Fenugreek (fresh methi) is the most popular herb for making these wonderful rotis; but dill, mint, cilantro, spinach or other favorite greens may be utilized as well.  I like to add sesame seeds for their lovely taste as well as nutrition even though they are not traditional.

Although the Indian whole wheat flour ground specifically for making flat breads (known as atta) is the best for making thepla as well as other types of roti, any whole wheat flour may be used.

Note:  The combination of coriander and cumin seeds ground together is a typical spice mix that is useful to have and easy to make; lightly dry-roast equal amounts of the two spices and grind them finely in a spice grinder when cool and store in air-tight jars.


2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp or more ground hot red pepper (Cayenne)
1 pinch Asafetida
1 tbsp ground Coriander and Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Ajwain seeds
1 Tbsp white Sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup finely chopped fresh Fenugreek
2-3 Tbsp Cow's Milk or Soy Yogurt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, for dusting while rolling out
About 2 Tbsp Oil for cooking


Snap off the tender portions or just the leaves and tender tips of the fenugreek.  Wash and dry well.  Chop finely.

Grind the coriander and cumin seeds together in a spice mill with the salt.

Combine the flour with the ground spices, turmeric, cayenne, ajwain seeds, and asafetida; whisk together.

Add the chopped herbs and the yogurt; stir well to mix.

Add water a few tbsp at a time to make a firm dough; it should still be pliable enough to roll out into circles; knead well until smooth and satiny.

 Thepla Dough Discs

Divide the dough into 16 smooth balls/discs; roll them out into moderately thin circles dusting with flour as necessary, about 7 inches in diameter.

Thepla ready for cooking

Cook each thepla on a griddle/skillet; cook one side until the top changes color.  Flip over to cook the other side a little, until a few pale brown spots appear.

Brush lightly with a little oil and flip over; press down especially on the edges to allow the bread to puff up a bit and cook until brownish spots appear.  Brush the unoiled side with a little oil and cook a few seconds more.

Make sure that the theplas are not overcooked to dryness; they should stay soft speckled with a few brown spots.

Stack the theplas as you cook them over a folded paper towel or napkin; cover them loosely with another napkin until all are done.

Serve the theplas warm with Kichdi, pickles, etc. 


Hari Chandana P said...

Traditional and delicious recipe. looks super perfect dear :)
Indian Cuisine

doeyama said...

Looks delicious! Can't wait to try out this recipe!

Geetha said...

Hari Chandana and Doe, Thank you for your comments :)

iheartsambar said...

I just gave this recipe a shot, and it went pretty well! However, it took me a few roti to learn that the cooking time should be short! My first few roti were essentially cardboard: i was surprised to learn just how briefly I needed to cook the roti for it to end up pleasantly soft!

Geetha said...

Hello iheart, glad that the theplas worked out. Happy cooking!