Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Okay, now I know how to make chapatis. They may not be the way all Indians make them, but they're the way my in-laws make them, and they're the way I make them, and I really like them and they're super easy. Remember the pages-long post I wrote a few months ago on chapatis? I learn things the hard way. I always make things way too complicated at first. So, here goes.

chapati flour
oil (I've used olive and canola)

scoop out some flour--maybe a cup and a half--into a bowl. Make a hole in the middle. Sprinkle with salt, not a lot. (I sprinkle the top with the shaker. Sometimes I go around twice. I kind of like them saltier, but of course that's not good for you if you eat them often.) Put up to a teaspoon of oil in the hole. Add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water (depending on the humidity in the air). Start with less, and add more if you need it. I just stick the bowl under the faucet and fill the hole I made, then mix around with my fingers, then add more water if I can't make a dough. You want to use just enough water--too much will make your dough unmanagably sticky. (You do want the dough to be a just a little sticky when you're first forming it, because it will become more managable after it rests.) Form a ball. (If you can't form a ball, you'll need to add more flour or water!) Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then knead it again and break off a chunk--a little more than a fistfull for my hands, but I have man hands. Form that into a ball in your hand, and then (still in your hands) stretch into a sort of disk. Then dip it in your flour on both sides and then roll it out on your surface (I think that's way less messy than sprinkling flour on your surface). Roll it into a circle, pretty thin, but not paper thin. Just uniformly thin, about the size of a dinner plate. Then fry it on a heavy flat skillet (mine's anodized, but I've used stainless steel, regular nonstick, and cast iron--all are fine, but I think the anodized is easiest to clean. Ie, I almost never wash it. Gross, huh.) Or, you can do like Daniel's family does, and instead of frying it at this point, instead spread a thin layer of oil on it (a few drops) and fold it into a triangle and roll it out again and then fry it. You can use oil to fry it or not. Your choice. Doesn't that sound easy?

We eat chapatis for breakfast. Daniel dunks them in his tea. (Black tea boiled with sugar and skim milk.) We also sometimes take them for lunch (they're great warmed up in a toaster oven--almost better than fresh), and eat them for dinner pretty often with currys. I like them with meat curries, but they really make some vegetables more palatable. Bell pepper curry, for example, is way better with chapatis than with rice, I think. They're also good for a quick snack. I don't know how long it takes to make--start to finish, maybe 20, excluding the resting time, which can be 5-10 minutes (longer if you cover the dough). You can keep dough for a day or two in the fridge, covered. You can even keep it out of the fridge for a while if it's not too hot--I've kept it overnight quite often and it just becomes softer and more manageable. Toss it if it starts to smell fermented. (Though I've eaten them at that point before and they tasted fine, but I'm not easily grossed out.)

So there ya go. They sell frozen chapatis at indian groceries and they're really good. You may want to try a pack sometime. You'd have to go there anyway to get the flour I think. I"m not sure about that, though.


Suze said...

mmmmmmm...chapatis. i finally learned how to make them after checking out "mangoes and curry leaves" from the library and now i almost never make curry with rice anymore!

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Thanks, Ann! I'm going to try to make these soon to see how Jamie likes them. Also, please see my post begging for recipes!

Becca said...

Are chapatis like naan? I've had naan with lamb dishes at work and at an Indian restaurant near work, and they are really, really yummy.

You wouldn't happen to have a recipe for Karahi Ghosh, would you? I don't know if I'm spelling that right--it's lamb with a garlic and bell pepper gravy-type sauce, and I absolutely adore it. It made my mouth very happy.

Mrs. Allroro said...

Becca, naan uses yeat and is baked in the oven. You can buy it frozen at the Indian grocery, too. I think Suze has a recipe that she's used...not sure. I have a recipe, but I've never tried to make it. I'm still gathering my strength to try yeast bread again. My first and only attempt was at making rolls, and they ended up as tasty golf balls. Anyway, I haven't heard of that lamb dish--maybe you can youtube it. I do have some good lamb recipes, though--one super easy one--and I'll post them. I love lamb.

Mrs. Allroro said...

Jenn--I think Jamie'll like them. I think, while they're cooking, they smell a little like pasta, so imagine that.