Should you cook roti on gas flame?

Do you prefer fluffy chapatis? Well, if you’re cooking roti on the gas flame directly, know what you’re doing wrong and how it may have side effects!

Do you enjoy a soft and fluffy roti? Well, who doesn’t? Back in the day, people used charcoal or wood fire to prepare roti but today we have switched to cooking roti on gas or stove. While it might make your rotis puffy, it also increases several health risks. Studies have found that cooking rotis directly on gas flame is considered unhealthy because food items are likely to get burned at high temperature. It can even expose you to harmful compounds, such as carcinogens, produced by gas. These toxins are responsible for raising the risk of several health problems, including cancer. So, think before you cook your roti on direct flame next time!

What are the side effects of cooking roti on a gas flame?

Cooking roti directly on a flame after being half cooked on a tawa is a traditional method, especially in India. Unfortunately, it carries certain risks and side effects that you should know about.

1. Contains toxic substances

While this technique offers quick cooking, it exposes the roti to potentially harmful substances. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, natural gas stoves emit air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter. These pollutants, when released in significant quantities, can pose health risks.

Roti
Avoid cooking roti on gas directly. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. May increase chronic disease risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers levels of these pollutants unsafe and links them to respiratory illnesses, and even cardiovascular problems. Therefore, cooking roti directly on a flame could potentially expose individuals to these hazardous pollutants, especially in poorly ventilated kitchens.

3. Elevates cancer risk

Additionally, high-temperature cooking methods, such as cooking roti directly on a flame, can release carcinogens. A study published in the journal Cancer Prevention highlighted the potential health risks associated with high-temperature cooking, as it can lead to the formation of carcinogenic compounds in foods. These compounds may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer over time.

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While more research is required to confirm if cooking roti on a gas flame causes cancer or not, you should avoid this cooking practise to reduce the risk of it.

Why you should cook roti on a tawa?

Cooking roti on a tawa is a better option than cooking it over a gas flame directly. The flat surface distributes heat evenly, ensuring that your chapati is cooked properly. This prevents cooked or burnt spots on the roti. This even makes the rotis softer and helps us to cook it evenly. Moreover, according to Nupuur Patil, a certified nutritionist, “Cooking on a tawa requires less direct contact with flames, reducing the risk of charring or burning the roti. Excessive charring can lead to the formation of potentially harmful compounds, such as acrylamide, which is associated with an increased risk of cancer.”

By cooking on a tawa, the likelihood of overexposure to high temperatures is also minimised, promoting healthier cooking practices. Additionally, using a tawa allows for better control over cooking temperatures, which can help retain the nutritional value of the ingredients used in the roti dough.

What is the correct method to cook roti?

To cook roti the right way, start by preparing a soft dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls, then roll each ball into a thin circle. Heat a tawa or skillet over medium-high heat. Place the rolled roti on the hot surface and cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until bubbles form. Then, flip it using tongs and cook it until brown spots appear. Finally, brush with ghee or butter, and serve hot.

So, make sure you cook your roti on the tawa, and do not use a direct gas flame to cook your food!