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October 24, 2007

The best bread 4-how to make chapati

OK, so you've read enough about the best bread to want to know how, here's the basics. I'll write up some troubleshooting in another post.

I can't give you exact quantities or time because it depends on the air humidity, the quality of the water, how strong your kneading arm is, how hot your stove are just gonna have to play around, it won't work the first time (if it does you are a genius!) but don't give up.


Atta flour (alright, brown flour if you must, but use hard flour, not cake flour)
Ghee (optional)
salt (optional)

In a wide shallow mixing bowl put one khobo of flour per chapati. I usually make between two and four chapati per person, depending on age, dosha, appetite etc. Add a little pinch of salt if you like, but usually this is only needed if the chapati will not be eaten with salty food. Rub a little ghee through with your fingers to make crumbs. This will make a more tender, flaky chapati, and it will keep a little longer (maybe a couple of hours instead of a couple of minutes!) More ghee will make a chapati into a paratha.

Make a well in the flour and add water, a little at a time, and get your hands stuck in. You need to make quite a wet dough. Give it as much water as it will take without getting sticky. Then turn out the dough onto a clean (not floured) surface and knead it briefly.

Then put the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel and leave aside for 15 mins, or an hour if need be. This is when you will know if you put enough water in, if you haven't the dough will dry out and have cracks on the outside. If this happens throw away the outside bit.

Now knead it good and proper. You will know when it is kneaded enough because it will stop being tough and the dough will become more stretchy and elastic. To test this pull a handful off and see if the dough stretches or breaks and cracks.

Heat a heavy based fry pan to a medium heat. Put a handful of flour in the bowl next to your dough. Take a small amount of the dough, one muthi is plenty, and roll it into a ball. Dip it in flour and shake off the excess. The idea is to use just enough flour that it doesn't stick, but not enough to dry out the dough.

With a rolling pin roll it out into a circle. Keep turning the circle between rolls, when it begins to stick dip it into the flour again, and keep on rolling. Make sure it is not thicker in some parts then others. It should be quite thin, like pitta bread, and about 9 inches in diameter.

Wow, I think this is my longest post ever-but such an important one! Soldier on...

Put the rolled chapati on hot pan. (When you are good you can roll out the next chapati whilst the first one is cooking-requires good concentration!) Turn it over as soon as it is sealed or a little bubble appears, cook it just enough to hold together at this stage. When the second side is barely sealed take the pan off the heat and put the chapati directly on the open flame, turning it often, with a little luck it will blow up like a balloon. The steam inside the chapati will cook it through. Wrap them in a teatowel, and serve as soon as possible.

Congratulations, this is your first chapati! Serve it hot with a little ghee.


ANJALI J. said...

thats a fluffy chapati.. looks amazing!

Julia said...

oh no-you've caught me out! I nicked this photo from elsewhere. I currently have an electric stove (which I hate!) and so my chapati don't look much like that!