Go Back
+ servings
Handbreads, apas on a clean kitchen cloth.

Handbreads - Apas

The East Indian handbreads are made with rice flour. Traditionally, the rice flour is cooked twice, first in hot water called khoi then as the laden bread itself. Today I share with you the authentic East Indian apas.
Course Bread
Cuisine East-Indian, Indian
Keyword apas, East Indian Bread, east indian hand breads, East Indian Handbreads, hand breads, handbreads
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 264kcal
Cost $5


  • cups Water
  • cups Rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cooking oil


  • 1 cup Water for kneading


Dough / Khoi

  • In a large pot over medium heat bring the water, salt, and oil to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil add the rice flour and combine well.
    Pro tip - keep the heat to medium or low as we do not want to burn the flour.
  • Continue to stir and cook on medium heat for about a minute. Then, turn the heat off and cover the pot. Leave to cook in the residue heat for 3 minutes.
    Pro tip - leaving it to cook in the residue heat will soften the rice flour and make softer handbreads.
  • Pour the crumbly dough into a tray/ thala or work surface. While the dough is still warm bring it all into a ball. Dip your hands in water and knead until you have a smooth pliable dough.
    Pro tip - you do not need to burn your hands so don't make haste to knead it while it is hot. It is ok to leave it to cool until warm.


  • Divide the dough into 6 large (12-inches)) or 8 small balls (8-inches)
    Pro tip - if you are new to making apas then I suggest making smaller sizes as they are easier to handle.
  • Handbreads are made on a flat surface made of wood or metal called kolpat. You can also of course make them on a clean flat table counter.
  • To make the apas or hand bread
    - Knead the dough ball well with water until it is smooth.
    - Press down with the ball of your palms in a circular motion.
    - Lift the apas up with the left hand, dip the right hand in the water and smear the work surface with water.
    - Turn the apas into your hand and place it back on the surface. Pressing down with the fingers to spread and increase in size. Use your fingertips to smooth the edges
    - Continue to lift, turn, and spread some more until you have the desired size.
    Pro tip - the surface must always be wet otherwise the apas will stick and tear when you peel them off.
  • When you reach the desired size, place the apas on a clean kitchen cloth or cheesecloth. Traditionally, they were placed on a soop which basketweave tray.
    Pro tip - do not use parchment paper or put them directly on the counter as they tend to stick.

Cook /Tava

  • Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Cook each hand bread on the hot skillet for three to four minutes each.
    Pro tip - Apas or hand bread are cooked on a tava but a skillet or non-stick frying pan works just as well.
  • The right method to cook the hand bread is -
    - Place it on the hot tava. Wait for a minute then flip it making sure to support it will with the palm of your hand. If you find the hand bread is not lifting from the skillet do not force it as it will break. It needs more time.
    - Let cook on the other side for two full minutes. You will see a few dark specks. This time it should be easy to pick it up.
    - Flip it back to the first side. Let cook a minute more, then, use a clean kitchen cloth or paper towel to gently press down on the bread to encourage it to puff.
    - Once puffed (about a minute more) you can take it off the heat
    Pro tip - if the apas are not made evenly or if there are a few cracks they won't puff. But, don't worry they will puff over time with practice.
  • Place the handbreads for 10 minutes under a clean kitchen cloth to keep them soft. Then transfer them to a roti dish or apas container.
    Pro tip- the steam in the hot bread will cool in the bread keeping it soft so don't skip this step.


Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg