I have decided to write an in-depth Rotimatic Review because of the sheer number of people wanting to know my experience with the machine over email, facebook, whatsapp and in person.
Here’s something about me before I begin the review. I did not receive a free Rotimatic in exchange for this review. In fact, I pre-ordered the Rotimatic in 2014 and paid the pre-order price in full. Also Zimplistic or anyone else behind the Rotimatic did not pay me to write this review. I am writing this review only because I want to and all opinions are my own. So why me? Why now? I was among the first ones in the US to receive the Rotimatic at the start of March 2017 and have been using my Rotimatic consistently for past 8 months. As a consumer, I like reading real reviews before making buying decisions. The lack of real, honest reviews of the Rotimatic by paying customers has irked me for quite some time and that’s why I chose to write this review.
- So what is Roti?
- What is Rotimatic?
- Rotimatic Review
- Rotimatic Product Design
- Product Packaging
- Rotimatic Weight
- Product Footprint
- Rotimatic’s Roti-making process in Detail
- Before 1st use
- Step by Step Instructions – This will make you smile!
- Step 1: Switch on the machine and specify number of rotis and other information.
- Step 2: Fill up the ingredients
- Step 3: Be industrious till first few rotis are ready
- Step 4: Come back to collect rotis every 3-4 minutes:
- Step 5: Place the soft, puffy rotis in a container with a lid and show it some love
- Step 6: Vent to the machine and then cut its power
- Step 7: Don’t look at the Rotimatic for half an hour
- Step 8: Wash the parts and clean Rotimatic
- Rotimatic Errors and Issues
- Quality of rotis made by Rotimatic
- Rotimatic Price
- Rotimatic Recipes
- Rotimatic Review Verdict
- Rotimatic Review Summary
- Buy your Rotimatic Now & Get $75 off!
- A dissection of other Rotimatic Reviews
So what is Roti?
Roti is the increasingly popular Indian flatbread. Made from whole wheat flour the roti is dipped in curries and used to wrap veggies. The roti is unleavened which makes it healthier than traditional bread. It is the staple diet of millions of people in the Indian subcontinent and the subcontinental diaspora settled overseas. It is made by kneading the flour, making balls of the dough, rolling it into a thin flatbread and cooking it just right so that the roti puffs and has separate flour layers.
What is Rotimatic?
While the loaf, tortilla, pita and other bread making processes have been largely industrialized and commercialized, the roti making process mostly remains a daily, make from scratch, at home process that happens daily in a million households. The only real alternatives to home cooked rotis have been store brought, uncooked, frozen rotis. There have been no machines which automate roti-making to a large degree. The Rotimatic was conceptualized to fill this void and has been commercially available for sale since 2017.
History says that the Roti, phulka, chapati or poli existed in Indian subcontinent even before the Harappan times. Why it took someone more than 4000 years to automate the production of this staple Indian food is anybody’s guess. Kudos to Zimplistic for recognizing that the many women sweating and toiling in the kitchen to make dough balls and puff them manually is not acceptable, a machine that makes rotis is a genuine need and for manufacturing a much-desired product. So does the Rotimatic live up to it’s hype?
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Rotimatic Product Design
Woman who have been searching automation options for rotis have usually relied on food processors (though only Kitchenaid ones can knead the dough well) and roti-presses (my friend has the Norpro cast aluminium one and loves it) for rolling. Zimplistic has taken that, added ingredient containers and a set of hot plates in one convenient package. They have managed to fit an impressive assembly line in a shell that is sleek, futuristic and minimalist. The product firmly belongs in the 21st century with its cloud-based software that makes trouble shooting and upgrades a piece of cake.
Attractive packaging with lots of insulation. I loved the ‘I am here’ on the box. Packaging is not really frustration free; but works.
The Rotimatic is heavy. You need two people to lift it out of the box and carry to the designated place. So here’s a tip – don’t be dicey and decide the final place before you setup the machine. Or your husband or helper will curse you.
The Rotimatic base is about 12 x 16 x 16 inches so it does take significant space. The cooling vents have to be about 4 to 6 inches from the walls, so add that into the footprint. It roughly takes up the space of a mid-size Danby microwave. That said, I had imagined it to be a lot bigger and was relieved by the actual size.
Rotimatic’s Roti-making process in Detail
You add flour, oil and water. You tell the machine how many Rotis you want. You eat the Rotis. TADA!! Okay, it’s not that simple but pretty close. Here is my efficient, original and wry workflow based on my 8+ months experience of using the Rotimatic. (Be prepared, things are about to get noisy.)
Before 1st use
Step by Step Instructions – This will make you smile!
Step 1: Switch on the machine and specify number of rotis and other information.
This really is as simple as it sounds. Open the front tray. Press the power button, wait 10-12 seconds, specify number of rotis, thickness level, roast level, oil level and press play. The machine starts warming up which takes about 6 mins. (Warning: the machine will perform a series of alarming noises during this time. Don’t worry, it’s all good)
Step 2: Fill up the ingredients
While some fill ingredients before starting the machine, I always do it during warm-up time. Because ‘we need the rotis NOW’, you know? I would recommend starting every run by ensuring all ingredients are at maximum level. If something falls short, the Rotimatic does pause and warn you with chirpy beeps but why not aim for efficient use from the very start?
Step 3: Be industrious till first few rotis are ready
Shoo, don’t hover around the machine. You are just making it nervous. Kidding, but seriously this is a perfect time to heat up the curry or veggies, eat some cake, feed your toddler (as in my case) or just put up your feet and watch some TV!
Step 4: Come back to collect rotis every 3-4 minutes:
The tray and opening gets jammed if too many ready rotis pile up or sometimes they fall down on the floor. How do I know? Because I occasionally sit nearby reading a gripping book and am brought back to this world by the noise of falling rotis. Don’t let that happen to you! Rotis are made 60-80 seconds apart, so catch them at frequent intervals.
Step 5: Place the soft, puffy rotis in a container with a lid and show it some love
When I say love, I mean ghee. Because you know – we Indians, we ghee! I have seen people complain that Rotimatic rotis are hard. I have news – it’s not Rotimatic, it’s you. Any roti is slightly crispy to begin with and will go hard if left out to dry. So place them in a closed container (this Nordic Ware Tortilla Warmer is the best or you can go for this super pretty cloth one by Sunburst) and let the trapped steam and the ghee soften them a bit. I use Trader Joe’s Ghee and it’s yumm! The alternative is to eat them right away – but don’t do that unless you are eating by yourself. Your husband and children will survive even if they don’t get a super hot roti served directly by your burning hand. Wait till all the rotis are done and then sit down to a nice family meal!
Step 6: Vent to the machine and then cut its power
When all rotis are cooked, Rotimatic asks whether you want to make more rotis. It’s basically robo-speak for “Ek aur roti khaoge beta?” Remember how much you weigh and press no. Earlier that used to be it. Nowadays my Rotimatic asks me to rate my experience after every use. That’s super irritating Zimplistic, take it away! While I give an honest feedback, my husband vents to the machine by selecting the smiley he relates to. (I love that guy, isn’t he funny?) So if my husband has a bad day at work, Zimplistic thinks something went wrong with our rotis. Lol!! Finally tell the Rotimatic to shut off.
Step 7: Don’t look at the Rotimatic for half an hour
Seriously. It makes all kinds of cooling fan noises and the screen stays lit (another new thing) till it completely shuts off. Just ignore it and enjoy your meal.
Step 8: Wash the parts and clean Rotimatic
Take out the processor, the tray under the processor as well as the rubber ring and wash it. Keep it out to dry. Reinsert before next use. Here are some washing tips – I find it easier to first hold the processor and parts over my trash can and wipe it clean with a paper towel. That means less flour goo on my scrubbers and less flour goo in the sink. An old toothbrush is useful to clean the small notches in the processor and the tray. That’s it. Sometimes I skip washing if I’m going to reuse in couple of hours (or overnight, if I’m feeling particularly lazy) No issues yet. Occasionally clean all the other movable parts from the main menu. The flour, water and oil containers are dishwasher safe.
Rotimatic Errors and Issues
As I said before, the Rotimatic is an automated multi-step assembly line. An issue at any step is going to have a domino effect and that means a less than perfect Roti for you. Yes, it does happen occasionally – I have got uncooked rotis, intact dough balls, half-cooked rotis, imperfectly rolled rotis come out on occassion. The error messages have been varied; ‘Flour tunnel blocked’, ‘imperfect dough’, ‘stuck dough’. Best part about the errors though is the Rotimatic describing the exact issue and guiding you to the solution. Clean the tray, remove dough, etc. I have found out the errors can be minimized by starting with a squeaky clean machine and full ingredients. Don’t give the assembly line a chance to pause. How often do the errors occur? About 1 in 15-18 uses or 1-2 imperfect rotis in every 150 rotis. Not bad at all.
Here’s an interesting issue I faced initially. Every 4th roti used to stick to the hot plate and remained uncooked. I complained to Zimplistic’s Customer Care, their engineer trouble-shooted my Rotimatic remotely and the problem disappeared within 4 days of registering the complaint and within 2 weeks of buying the product. That was way back in April 2017. I haven’t had any issues since then.
The cleaning products did have some issues. Some brushes spontaneously disintegrated, but since then Zimplistic has sent me a replacement brush and it works very well. Overall in my experience, the customer service has been pretty prompt and professional.
Quality of rotis made by Rotimatic
Let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we? Whenever someone has asked me about the Rotimatic, it has never been about the machine. The real wistful, probing question has always been “Will I really never have to make rotis again?” After all, the Rotimatic sells a dream – ‘real, soft, hot rotis at the touch of a button.’ It seeks to liberate generations of women from being judged by the unblemished nature of their dough balls and the perfect rounds of their rotis. It promises to take us back to our childhood when we just had to sit at the table and were showered with fresh rotis. So does the Rotimatic deliver? A thousand times YES!
The rotis are soft, not chewy and perfectly round. They are cooked well, even the edges, and are easy to pull apart. They remain soft when stored properly and taste equally well after several hours. The size is small, more like a fulka – approx 6 inches in diameter. The thinnest setting may not be as thin as hand-made rotis but it’s thin enough to satisfy most people.
Ah, the elephant in the room! There is no way to get around it, the Rotimatic is expensive. Who would buy that expensive a kitchen gadget? How many do you think enjoy kneading the dough, making dough balls, rolling out roti after roti every day for the forseeable future? Not as many people as you think. Currently the Rotimatic retails at $999 excluding shipping and taxes. Yes, that’s not always affordable. However to put it in perspective, it is equal to the new Iphone X or 2 budget laptops or 10 meals at a fine restaurant. And it provides you with healthy food.
Also you can always chalk up investing in the Rotimatic to sentimental value. (Seriously, google the term if you are unfamiliar with it.) We are programmed to eat the food of our ancestors; we are conditioned to crave staple foods because we have an emotional bonding with their smell and taste. And that reminds me, when the Rotimatic makes rotis, the home smells of puffed rotis. Heavenly! Rotis are my comfort food, my nostalgia. If eating fresh rotis makes you happy, so be it!
The Rotimatic makes rotis and with the poori update – unroasted flattened rotis come out which you can fry to make pooris. The pooris get pressed evenly and so fluff out extremely well. At first glance it seems the Rotimatic is useful for making just one recipe. However rotis is basically bread, which can be used with hundreds of variations to make delicious recipes.
I have seen Rotimatic owners make aloo parathas with potato powder mixed flour, methi parathas with kasuri methi mixed flour, spinach parathas with spinach powder mixed flours, onion parathas, masala parathas, gluten free flour parathas, multi grain parathas with multi grain atta, bhakris with jowar (sorghum) / bajra (millet) flours and makke di roti with corn flour mix.
The coocked rotis can substitute tortillas, tacos, pita, flat bread and pizza base to make variety of recipes like tacos, burritos, pizza, burger, wraps and more. With poori update things have gone to the next level. What you get is basically rolled, uncooked dough which can be fashioned in dozen ways to create samosas, pastries, savory pooris, spring rolls, papdi chats and more.
For an overview of the incredible recipes you can make with Rotimatic check the Rotimatic Owners Community where the amazingly creative members create wonders using their Rotimatic.
Rotimatic Review Verdict
The Rotimatic may not be for you if:
- You love making rotis, making rotis is your stress buster and you do not see it as a chore. You are my hero but so is the Rotimatic .
- You have hired help coming in to make amazing rotis for you. Thank those angels and give them some raise.
- You consume rotis too infrequently to justify making the investment in Rotimatic
- You live in an apartment with non-existent kitchen platforms and space is a big issue (I once lived in such a studio apartment in Chicago. The kitchen platform could barely fit a cutting board)
- You don’t eat rotis. Pretty self-explanatory.
Rotimatic Review Summary
Basic user manuals – The user manuals need to be far better. The current language is ambiguous and not easy to understand. I say this with more than 5 years of experience in creating technical documentation.
Noisy and large footprint – As I said before, the Rotimatic is noisy and bulky. The noise level is equal to that of a cheap blender, grinder or processor.
Larger upfront cost – Rotimatic costs $999 excluding taxes and shipping. I don’t remember my taxes but shipping to USA was $80 standard and $130 expedited. (I went for the expedited shipping)
Cloud Technology – Easy trouble shooting and upgrades. I have experienced the quick trouble shooting myself when my Rotimatic didn’t perform up to par in the first week. Turns out, it just needed to be re-calibrated.
Ease of Use – My toddler likes to press the ON button if I hold him up. If everything is setup, children or the elderly can press play and eat fresh rotis. Cleaning takes about 5 minutes.
Delivers on its promise to make fresh, soft rotis – No more bread substitutes. No more cooking frozen rotis. No more tortillas. I never made rotis, but if you did then no more kneading and rolling. That outweighs most cons in my opinion.
Buy your Rotimatic Now & Get $75 off!
Don’t forget to use my referral link when you buy your Rotimatic to get $75 off for a limited time. What’s more, you won’t even have to wait in line and will soon enough have your machine to try the delicious recipes for yourself. (P.S – I also earn $50 at no extra cost to you – which helps me travel more and publish exciting content on my travel blog, Dotted Globe)
A dissection of other Rotimatic Reviews
I want to end by mentioning some of the other reviews out there. The lack of reliable information from real users was a motivator in writing this review.
The review on CNET by Ashlee Clark Thompson ranks very well when you search for Rotimatic reviews. It’s title says, not worth it and stops at that. In my opinion, someone who does not consider the Roti to be their staple diet should not be writing a potentially decision-influencing review on the Rotimatic. That’s like me trashing a pasta maker or bread maker – because I can get both pasta and bread in the supermarket. The review goes on to say that the machine only makes rotis for now. It definitely does not consider the resourcefulness of Indians worldwide. The public Facebook group for Rotimatic users shows ways in which the Rotimatic is being used to churn out a variety of delicious dishes. People have tried carrot parathas, aloo parathas, samosas and more with the poori update. The review also goes on to say the frozen rotis might make a better bargain. And that’s the basic difference between Western and Indian cuisines. Indian cuisine emphasizes on fresh food; frozen or preserved food is something to be avoided. And that’s why in my opinion the review does not do justice to the Rotimatic.
The review on PC Mag by Will Greenwald is much better. It recognizes the appeal for Asian households and mentions that the Rotimatic might be a good investment if the staple diet is rotis. Like the CNET review, it lists the basic app as a con and influential in the buying process. What these reviews fail to realize is for someone who is tired of making rotis, the Rotimatic is a grand gift. The app doesn’t come into the picture. Would you cry for New Year’s if Christmas came a day early?
The reviews on various Indian cooking blogs are quite positive. Most emphatically state that Rotimatic rotis are better than fresh rotis. The ones on Quora are of a handful of users who experienced complaints and in my opinion need to be downvoted by many others who are successfully using their machine. Similarly for Amazon reviews. If you own a Rotimatic, send me your honest review including complaints, issues and happy times and I would love to publish it here. You could even get a link back if you have a blog!
That’s it for now! Keep the questions coming and I will answer it whenever possible.