Sajje rotti/ Bajra Flatbread

Sajje or Bajra is an ancient grain. My paternal aunt told me stories of her childhood back when I was a kid. She always used to recount how they used to eat Sajje rotti very often and that was their staple with Ragi and Rice. Our family did not know of wheat till she was well into her twenties. She used to grow nostalgic of the taste and its benefits. She always said Sajje was very good and gentle on the tummy, especially caused no acidity or constipation. She is right. Indeed it is one of those super foods that is easy to cultivate even in arid conditions, high in protein and also is very easy to digest. In fact the water in areas where this crop is cultivated was believed to be very good for health, especially in boosting immunity. My aunt had once told me that in Korategere - a small town en route to my native place, the water from the tank was very good, sweet and kept people healthy because Bajra was cultivated in and around the tank. I dont know how true her assertions were but then thus goes the story.

I myself discovered this grain during the course of one of my research projects and since then have been impressed by it. Incidentally we like the taste as well. It reminds me of my MIL as well. I do not actually remember how many times I kept telling her that I wanted to eat Sajje rotti (influenced by my aunts stories of course) But back then I did not know Sajje was Bajra and the flour was available in most of the super markets in Bangalore! Strangely my parents are not as much bothered about the grain. Particularly my father. While his elder sister spoke so fondly about the grain and its gradual crowding out in favour of rice and wheat, my father has indeed taken to wheat and Ragi quite seamlessly!!

This rotti also reminds me of my trip to Belgaum in November 1995 for State level Children's Science Exhibition. I was representing my school and I carried with me an experiment on water pollution treatment.It so happened that, that particular year there was a problem of funding for the organizers. The day we went there, we were told that the organizers did not have enough money to feed all of us. We were kids and carried no money with us, Our teachers were poorly paid state government employees who could not have fed us after all. But then the next day there were some kind hearted donors and the organizers arranged for memorable feasts for all the three days we were there. On one such day, they had served us Sajje rotti, Brinjal Ennegai and a generous dollop of butter! Butter for so many thousands of us, that was a generous contribution indeed. Belgaum is a city with a very big heart indeed. After all these stories, back to Sajje rotti.

You will need,
Bajra flour about 2 cups (more or less i did not measure it accurately!)
water 1.5 cups
Salt 2 generous pinches

  • Bring the water to a gentle boil in a thick bottomed pot.
  • Dunk a ladle full of flour into the water mixing it throughly. Continue till the mixture thicken and resembles chapati dough albeit softer.
  • Cover and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool for a while.
  • Once cool enough to handle, remove it onto a floured surface and kneed it till it is all well mixed and homogeneous.
  • Now pinch small balls out of the dough. smoothening and flattening each ball slightly between your palms as you go.
  • To roll out the rotti, place the dough balls on floured surface. Using your fingers spread it out even as you smooth the edges using your other hand. Keep doing this till the roti is about 8" in diameter.
  • Then take a rolling pin and roll out thin rottis.
  • Heat a griddle. Place the rolled out roti on the hot griddle.
  • Cook on both the sides. Serve hot with butter and Ennegai..


Aparna Balasubramanian said...

This roti is something I started making in the last couple of years, as bajra is not a grain I grew up with.
We have grown to like it.

Lakshmi said...

Sajje is very healthy grain. Sajje rotti and enngayi palya looks delicious Smitha.

Savi-Ruchi said...

naanu sajje haki thalipattu madthene :)
nice to see sajje rotti & yennegayi palya. Good one

Sunshinemom said...

I love these but never succeeded in making them right! Mine don't fill up with air. Yours look good!

Srikitchen said...

wow! its very new recipe for me! sounds great!
first time to ur blog and it is too good! do visit my blog when u find time and join in the sweet event going in my blog!

Kannada Cuisine said...

Thanks for visiting Srilekha!
Hope to see you again!

Unknown said...

Nice blog, will try out a few of the recipes this weekend. One suggestion, though. Using Italics everywhere is not very reader friendly.

Unknown said...

thank you so much for the sajje roti,which is made from the flour.I was wondering if Pongal or uppma can be made from sajje straight away,not the flour.Can anybody help pls.and also some recipes from 'NAVANE'please.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse my ignorance here, but the picture shown looks like the Rotti comes out hard like a papad. Does it become hard soon.

Would this remain soft after several hours (I am looking mainly to carry it to office) ?

Kannada Cuisine said...

Well.. Sajje Rotti is best eaten hot, fresh out of the Tawa. It becomes hard and chewy after a while