Durban Roti: Indian Hand Made Bread


Indians in Durban have carried over a vast amount of cultural practices and recipes from their previous generations. They formed their own means of cost effective and simple means of sustaining themselves. The ritual of making their own hand made bread called roti was a tradition carried over for centuries, previously used as a staple food in the place of shop bread. Every Indian household in Durban some time or the other makes roti. Rotis are also used as an offering to Hindu deities, but Indians from all religions in Durban know how to make rotis or eat them. Most Indians make their own bread fresh everyday by hand and cook in a thava (which is like a griddle or frying pan). Rotis can be made at home and is mostly made but not restricted to women. It is also sold at restaurants, take away shops, supermarkets and spice shops in dozens. It is normally sold with curries in restaurants and as a roti roll.


  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 cup of melted butter or margarine
  • 1½ cups of water
  • Thava or frying pan
  • Bread board
  • Rolling pin


  1. Heat the thava at low heat on a stove.
  2. Sift the cake flour in a dish.
  3. Add salt, margarine or butter and oil to the sifted flour.
  4. Crumble the mixtures with your fingers.
  5. Add boiling water to the crumb like mixture to form soft dough.
  6. Knead the dough and shape into small balls.
  7. Press flat on a bread board and roll into the size desired with a rolling pin.
  8. Place carefully onto the heated thava or frying pan and heat it till its brown.
  9. Grease the bread with a little margarine on either side before taking it out.
  10. Repeat until the balls of dough is finished.

Makes a dozen rotis and it can be served with curries or simply eaten with tea.

By: Yoveshine Pillay

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