Chapati

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One of the most delicious labors of love I have ever made is chapati, an indian flatbread.  It is phenomenal with ghee and honey, or eaten with meals.  Here are the simple ingredients for basic chapati:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Ghee

Kitchen supplies:

  • 2 big bowls
  • wooden spoon
  • surface that can be floured
  • rolling pin, round glass jar, or empty glass bottle for rolling
  • 2 big plates
  • stove
  • wide, shallow pan
  • spatula (for flipping in the pan- wooden spoon can work here too)
  • loving hands 🙂

For the rehearsal dinner, I made two batches of about 65 chapatis each.  The first round took nearly 4 hours to make by myself, and the second batch I had some help so it took about 2 hours.

When making chapati, and cooking in general, I like to experiment with different flavors and flour combinations.  You can use any combination of flours- whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, coconut, rice, mesquite, etc.  Because of the nature of the different flours, I find it best to use about 2/3 whole wheat flour and 1/3 other flours.

Coconut flour adds a delicious coco-nutty flavor but is very dense and dry and likes to crumble.  Rice flour is fine and light and also doesn’t like to stick together.  Mesquite flour adds a wonderful smokey kind of flavor, and only a very small amount is needed.  Whole wheat flour is the best base flour, and the gluten will help to keep everything together.

The spices used below are great combinations, but feel free to experiment knowing that some spices, such as ajwain seeds, nutmeg, and clove, for example, are much stronger than others and only a very small amount is needed.  You can use cooked vegetables in your chapati, knead them into the dough!  You can substitute tea (herbal teas like rooibos and chai are fun), or liquid remaining from cooked vegetables, for the water!  Have fun with it.

Here is an estimate of the recipe I made (~65 chapatis):

  • 5-6 cups whole wheat flour (plus extra for rolling)
  • 3 cups coconut flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • about 2 1/2 t salt
  • 2 very generous handfuls shredded coconut
  • “Sweet” chapati:  2 T cinnamon, 1 t nutmeg
  • “Savory” chapati:  2 T fennel seeds, 2 T cumin seeds, 1 t ajwain seeds
  • Water
  • 3 T ghee, plus extra for cooking
  1. Mix the flours in a big bowl, add the salt, spices and coconut and continue mixing.
  2. Mix in the ghee and slowly add the water, beginning to knead and adding more water til mixture is slightly sticky and doughy.
  3. Knead for about 7 minutes for a nice dough that you can roll into ping-pong or golf-ball sized balls, and place them in your second bowl.
  4. Flour a flat surface and your rolling tool, and roll each ball into a nice thin circle, being sure to flour the roller and the surface often.  Place your little chapatis on a plate or tray, being sure they don’t stick together (you can sprinkle flour on them to prevent this from happening and avoid stacking).
  5. Put ghee in a pan, just to thinly cover the bottom, and get it nice and hot (a sprinkle of water will immediately sizzle and evaporate).  **ghee will burn and smoke, so be careful to turn the temp down to medium or med-low later on while cooking**
  6. Cook each chapati about 2 mins on the first side, flip it, and about a minute or so on the other side, til the chapati looks dry and bubbles or just begins to brown.  I usually do 3 in a pan at once, making sure to sprinkle a few drops of ghee in the pan each time I place a new chapati in or flip one over.
  7. Place cooked chapatis on another tray and keep them warm with a cloth over the top.
  8. Enjoy with gratitude!

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