Sunday, 10 February 2013

How-to 9 : Make Chapattis the Easy Way

Leave plain or brush with a little olive oil (or ghee/ melted butter if you are not vegan).
Chapattis make an excellent change from rice with a curry, but are even more versatile than that: made thin, they can be tortillas for Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, fajitas and quesadillas, and made slightly thicker, they form a great base for an instant pizza- just add your choice of toppings and pop under the grill. Many of you will be well-versed in the art of making chapattis -or rotis as they are also called- and will have your own way of making them; purists, look away now- this is our way, which we have refined over the years so that it is as simple as possible and needs no special equipment. It's not quite the traditional way, but it does give good results quite easily. These wholemeal chapattis are made with ordinary wholemeal bread flour rather than atta, and are really economical to make. Some people add a little oil to the dough to make keep the chapattis soft, but if you get the water content right this shouldn't be necessary. You can puff the chapattis under the grill or over a flame using a special wire mesh on a long handle or tongs, but we find that if you are careful you can puff them in the pan. Here is the ingredients list, followed by step-by-step pictures with instructions.

To make 6 chapattis:
200g wholemeal bread flour
a pinch of salt
just under 150ml water


1: You can use either an Indian tava or an ordinary non-stick frying pan.


2: Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, and add the water gradually, stirring to make a firm dough- not too sticky, but not too hard either.
3: Change to using your hands, and knead lightly for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and quite elastic.

4: Divide the dough into 6 and roll into balls. Flatten a ball with the heel of your hand to make a disc; this helps  you to get the chapatti circular when you roll it out. Some people also make a thumbprint or twist in the centre- we don't generally bother.

5:  Roll out the disc into a thin circle- but not so thin that you can't lift it from the work surface. We tend to use white flour for dusting when rolling, as the bran in wholemeal separates out and doesn't stop the dough sticking so easily.

6: Don't worry if you can't make perfect circles at first- they will still taste just as good. If you are worried, however, you could always cut round a plate!

7: Knock off the excess flour from the uncooked chapatti before you put it in the pan or tava , or it will burn in the pan. Do this by patting it from hand to hand. (Hard to photograph, sorry!)
8: After a few seconds on the heat, the chappati will "set" and small blisters will start to form.  Don't turn up the heat too high if the chapatti is very thin, or it will scorch before it puffs up. Go for medium-high heat, and preheat the pan before the first chapatti goes on. If you find they are browning too fast, just turn it down a little.

9: We find the secret to puffing chapattis in the pan is to turn them frequently. Use a spatula, tongs or your fingers (carefully!) Soon the blisters get bigger and the chapatti begins to brown...

10: ... until finally it puffs right up! Be careful not to scorch the parts that are still in contact with the pan, though. Some people push the chapatti down to keep it touching the pan. Don't worry if it doesn't puff up completely, or it just forms lots of smaller blisters; it will still cook through.

11: When fully puffed and flecked with brown, remove from the heat.

12:  The chapatti will sink quickly once out of the pan. Keep them stacked  and wrapped in foil until they are cooked and you're ready to eat them. They can be re-heated over a gas flame if you need to. You can be cooking a chapatti while rolling the next one if you concentrate. With practice, they take less time to make.










3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks- they are yummy, just a little time-consuming to make a whole stack of 'em- or it is if you're a relative newcomer like me! (In India one of the first chores of the morning is to make a stack of chapattis to last all the day's meals. The little girls will often help their mums and grandmas and they learn that way.)

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  2. this looks super soft and tasty

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