Chapatis

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Everyone needs to know how to make flatbreads. They are quick and easy and people have made them for thousands of years, so the first one we’ll tackle together is chapatis, which goes well with pretty much any Indian food. They are great for scooping up that last bit of rice and sauce, or for stuffing little pieces to pop into your mouth.

Makes 4 chapatis

Chapatis

Chapatis

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Durum Atta flour
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Abbreviated Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine flours and salt, then add water and stir until the dough forms a ball.

Turn it out on the counter and knead for about 10 minutes.

Place back in the bowl and cover it with a plate so it can rest until you are ready to cook.

Heat up a large cast iron skillet or griddle.

Divide your ball of dough into four pieces and shape each into a ball. Dust with chapati flour and roll them into thin rounds about 8-9 inches in diameter and a 1/16 of an inch thick.

Place on the hot griddle, and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip. Now, using a wadded up paper towel, quickly press down on the chapati. Release, and that spot should puff. Do it again in a different spot until most of the chapati puffs. If need be, flip the chapati again and try pressing on that side.

Remove and wrap in a towel to keep warm while you make the others. Then serve immediately.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Durum Atta flour
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Ingredient discussion:

Yes, we guess you could try to make these with all-purpose — we never have — but I’d think that they’d turn out like tortillas. And probably not very good tortillas, at that. If you like chapatis, you might as well head over to your local Indian or ethnic market and get the right flour. The kind we use is Golden Temple Durum Atta flour. While you are there, wander the aisles; it’s fascinating to see all the different foodstuffs from around the world. It makes us want to learn more recipes.

Procedure:

chapati flour
Don’t worry about exact measurements. Just get close.

Measure the chapati flour. Just scoop into a bowl and come close; making flatbread is not precision work. If you have a cup and a quarter of the flour, you’ll end up with larger chapatis, or maybe an extra — so what?

Add salt. Some traditional recipes don’t call for salt, but we like to put in just a pinch. Try it with salt once, try it without next time, see which you like better. That’s the beauty of scratchin’; you decide.

Chapati dough coming together. This is ready to start kneading
Chapati dough coming together. This is ready to start kneading

Add water. Add about a 1/3 cup water — cold, warm, doesn’t matter — and stir until it forms a ball. You might have to add a bit more water to incorporate all the flour. Feel free to switch to your fingers to mix. We do.

chapati dough
After kneading, the chapati dough is nice and smooth.

Knead. Turn it out on the counter and knead for about 10 minutes. This ensures that you won’t have flour bombs in the center, so knead the dough until it is smooth. It’ll probably be a stiff dough, but it shouldn’t be floury. Add more water if needed.

chapati dough
Let it rest for at least 30 minutes, but all day if you want.

Rest. You and the dough should rest. We pop it back in the bowl and cover it with a plate so it can rest. How long? Until you’re ready to cook ’em up, silly. If we’re having chapatis with dinner, we’ll make up the dough with our morning tea and let it sit all day long. It’ll be fine.

Preheat. When you’re getting ready to cook, heat up a large cast iron skillet or griddle. If you don’t have one, you could make these on the grill, or you might use a large heavy fry pan with just a bit of oil — we’ve never tried that, though.

Divide. Divide your ball of dough into four pieces and shape each into a ball. Dust with chapati flour and roll them into thin rounds. Thinner. That’s right about 8-9 inches in diameter and a 1/16 of an inch thick.

chapati
Nicely done chapati on the griddle.

Cook. One at a time, place on the hot griddle, and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip. Now, using a wadded up paper towel, quickly press down on the chapati. Release, and that spot should puff. Do it again in a different spot. And again. And again, until most of the chapati puffs. If need be, flip the chapati again and try pressing on that side. Altogether, your chapati should brown and cook in about a minute.

Keep hot. Remove and wrap in a towel to keep warm while you make the others. Then serve immediately.

Told you flatbreads are easy. With Indian food, we generally alternate between chapatis and naan. They are both really good and both deserve their five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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