Rolling Pin and Slab

Type of object
Rolling pin and sheet
Technique and material

wood, terracotta, metal

Rolling Pin: 7.5 x 22 cm / Slab: 5.5 x 33 cm

Bread is a basic food in many societies, and takes different shapes and forms depending on its use and culture. Alongside leavened breads, flatbreads made of flour, water and salt are the most common, especially in Asia. Chapati, a circular flatbread made of wheat flour, is a staple of Indian cuisine and is often used instead of a fork or spoon to scoop up mouth-size bites.

The rolling pin and slab are traditional utensils and indispensable for making chapati. This model from the museum collection is from the Punjab region and dates back to 1940 but is still in use today. The rolling pin, called belan in Hindi, is made of wood and has two solid grips. The slab, called chakla, has a base and a round polished platform made of clay. Both instruments are easy to use: a small ball of dough is placed on the slab and gently patted flat with the palm of the hand. The pin is used to roll it out into a thin round before it is cooked on a tava, a metal griddle.