Videos: Tortillas, Chapatis, Bread and More Around the World

Puto, steamed rice cakes from the Philippines. Image by highlimitzz on Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

Puto, steamed rice cakes from the Philippines. Image by highlimitzz on Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

Most cultures accompany their meals with a grain based product; bread, flatbreads and steamed buns are part of people's meals in many places of the world. Today we visit artisans and cooks to see how they prepare and make the food that feeds them and their families.

First we make a stop in France, as baker Vincent Talleu makes croissants, chocolate bread and other similar products using the same dough as the base:


In India, the flatbread known as roti, chapati or parottas accompanies most meals and the technique for making it can get quite showy. Here, we watch a woman cooking roti chapatis in her kitchen, flattening them with a rolling pin on a wooden board, cooking them on a tava or flat metal skillet and then finishing them off on an open flame where they puff up like ballons:

These next videos show variations on the showmanship of flatbread makers: from speed and agility in shaping, flattening and slapping chapatis to cook on the inside of a brick oven to a production line where parottas fly through the air before getting put on a stove:

Throughout Central America, the corn tortilla is the staple food of many; although you can purchase freshly made tortillas, some people still cook them following the traditional techniques. In Zacualtipán of Hidalgo, Mexico a century-old kitchen is the stage for corn and masa grinding on a stone metate, palming the tortilla into its round shape and then cooking them on a wood stove:

This woman flattens the tortillas using a piece of plastic bag on a table so that the tortilla can spin while it's being shaped:

In Turkey, the flatbread of choice is the yufka. This next video shows a man rolling the dough out into giant paper thin rounds:

In the Philippines a steamed rice cake called puto is traditional and can be either eaten on its own or with sweet and savory toppings. Here is a variety using coconut milk and rice flour:

And this one uses regular flour, the result is very similar to pancake batter, but steamed:

In Colombia and Venezuela, the corn masa is used to make arepas, which are thicker than tortillas and come in different varieties and sizes. This next video was uploaded by an itinerant arepa vendor in Cali, Colombia who posts the locations where they can be found throughout the day to sell their cheese arepa, eaten on the street with butter and sometimes condensed milk:

Food blogger Chef John of tried his hand at making Venezuelan arepas which he stuffed with pulled pork making his version of what is known in Venezuela as a “hairy” arepa:

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