If you’re not already aware, roti and puri as basically staples of Indian diets, much like tortillas are here in the Southwest, thanks to our Mexican, Navajo, and other cultural influences. But as easy as it sounds to make (it’s only three base ingredients, after all), roti, tortillas, and other flatbreads are surprisingly difficult to make. It takes time and practice, and when you’re in a rush and on a budget, you can’t afford to waste money on ingredients.
That’s why I was excited when Zimplistic offered to send me a Rotimatic to review. This $1100 machine isn’t by any means cheap. You’re unlikely to ever recoup the costs if you compare it to the price of making homemade roti, which only using flour, water, and oil, is ridiculously cheap. But that’s not really the point. I used the Rotimatic throughout the entire hot, arid Arizona summer, and it’s been a lifesaver. The ability to press a button, go on with your day, and come back 15 minutes later to two fresh tortillas is a godsend. It helped me really dig in and focus on saving money.
Of course, my Rotimatic was given to me for the purposes of this review. Had I shelled out the dough for it, I may have a different opinion, but, despite its problems (and there are several), I love the Rotimatic.
Let’s dig into what makes Rotimatic stand out in a crowded kitchen appliance market.
Rotimatic Design and Accessories
The first thing you’ll notice about Rotimatic is that it’s big and heavy (it weighs 45 pounds empty). It’s about the size of a standard sized microwave (a little taller and thinner, but same basic volume) and has a lot packed into it. There’s a touchscreen filled with options, a dough-making side, an oven compartment, and all the mechanical gears and arms that makes the automation possible.
Canisters at the top of the machine hold flour, oil, and water, and you quickly find out that the type of flour you use matters. It’s important to set in the menu, and there are close to 100 flours supported. We used Aashirvaad select atta for the most authentic roti possible.
It comes with some cleaning tools, and Zimplistic also sent some authentic spices to help make the best rotis possible.
Setup takes a minute, and the initial unit we received seemed faulty. After having a few engineers take it apart, we discovered that it needed a transformer to work with U.S. outlets. This issue unfortunately took several weeks working with Zimplistic’s technical support to fix. It was a very frustrating experience that cost a lot of time and money. It put me off on the entire thing for over a month while it was being analyzed.
Each of the three canisters is easy enough to figure out how to open, load, and place into the top of the machine. From there, you’re ready to turn it on and start cranking out rotis.
Rotimatic Usability and Functionality
Using Rotimatic is relatively straightforward. The hard part is turning it on. Once it’s on, you select your flour, whether you want to make roti, puri, or pizza crust, decide how many, how thick, and how cooked you want, then press play. It runs through a warm-up cycle that takes about 8 minutes to complete. from there, it starts dispensing flour, water, and oil into the side chamber and kneading the dough. The dough ball is lowered and an arm pushes it on to the grill, where a plate comes down to flatten it into dough and then heats it from both sides. Within minutes, your first, fresh roti is done.
If you’re cooking more than one at a time, the second dough ball starts while the first roti is being flattened and cooked. The first few are ok, but it’s the 10th roti on that starts reaching perfection. The team credits this to the cloud-based AI learning as it goes.
That said, there were a few mishaps where a ball didn’t come out like I hoped. I quickly learned this happens if you don’t clean the machine after every use. Crumbs can quickly build up, and I never lasted more than a couple days before having to clean it out. That said, it’s actually pretty easy to clean, and there’s even a cleaning mode to help get hard-to-reach places.
It’s big and heavy, but it really does know how to make a decent roti, and that’s not even close to the end of what it can actually do.
Once rotis were mastered, I started pushing the machine to try other recipes. The included app has a few, but overall it’s a waste of phone space. I use the machine on its own without the app, which I uninstalled the morning after installing to setup the machine. There’s really no reason for this thing to have Wi-Fi. It feels like one of those Juicero functions they haven’t figured out how to monetize yet. Maybe it’s stealing my WiFi info or running a botnet. Who knows?
What I do know is that you can add spices, salt, sugar, and yeast into the flour and water pretty easily. The only ingredient you don’t want to mess with is the oil, as vegetable, corn, olive, or any oil with that exact viscosity is needed. Only trace amounts are used and ghee, butter, or even coconut oil may fail to liquidize and will easily clog the dispenser.
You’ll need to add salt to the water to make puri, yeast to the flour to make pizza dough, etc. Once we figured out the limits of the machine, both Amy and I started really pushing its limits. Adding milk to the water dish (or powdered milk to the flour) makes a fantastic fry bread. Changing to a rice flour changes the texture, and you can even use gluten-free flour. Every small change to the dry and wet ingredients produced a completely different texture.
And because the puri comes out as dough, you can make dumpling wraps and even pie crusts. Although the app recipes are limited, you can pretty easily figure out how to imbue what you need into the water and flour containers to make a wide variety of easy-to-eat finger foods. And those types of lazy foods are my absolute favorites. Here are a few recipes to get you started. Keep in mind, your Rotimatic will only have four presets, so you’ll need to experiment a little to get the perfect consistency.
Rotimatic Final Thoughts
Rotimatic is easily my favorite kitchen gadget. That’s because it makes fast, simple, hot flatbreads that can easily be turned into a variety of meals. I eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner these days because I’m broke. Of course, I got my Rotimatic for free, and paying over $1000 for one of these machines is a big ask.
If you do spend that coin, know that the app is practically worthless, the machine is heavy and bulky, and it won’t make consistently perfect flatbreads until you learn its finer details. But once you understand the settings and the machine’s limits, it’s the best bread machine I ever used and a staple in my kitchen.
While sous vide, slow cookers, and pressure cookers come and go as fads, this Rotimatic will be cranking out fresh rotis for me for years to come. All hail our new robot overlords.