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Chapatis


Schielke
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The other day I decided to buy some atta flour (Indian Wheat Flour) for chapatis. I had never made them before, but they sounded fun.

I used the recipe on the side of the bag since I was too eager to go look up Suvir's recipe in the Archive. The recipe called for 1/3 C of water to every 1 C of flour. I went with 2C of flour and 2/3 C of water. The dough turned out pretty good and was easy to work with.

In order to get a ~5 inch chapati, I had to take dough balls a little smaller than Golf balls and roll them out.

When you make chapatis, do you roll and cook them one or two at a time or do you roll all of them out and then cook them?

To cook them I got my large nonstick skillet out and put it on high heat. I tossed a chapati in there and waited. Slowly it turned slightly opaque and then little bubbles started to fill with air. I turned it over when there were golden brown spots on the one side. I let the other side cook as the chapati filled with hot air. I took it out of the pan with tongs and then put it to an open burner. Poof! It filled up with air and was nearly as thick as it was wide. Success! I kept the finished chapatis warm on a plate covered with a towel.

The result was very nice and fun to eat with the Turkey Masala I made. Next time I think I will salt the dough for some more flavor. I was thinking that even a bit of ground Garam Masala in the dough might work out too.

Any other chapati tips or tricks out there?

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Ben, you seem to be the Chapati expert.

What you describe is the perfect rendering of the process of making chapati.

Kudos to you Ben. Next time, will you take some pictures for us please.

I never add salt to my dough, since the dishes have plenty. You could add salt, you could add a pinch or two of garam masala, or even a little ghee or oil. In most homes, chapatis are made with plain dough. The finished chapati is most often rubbed with ghee or butter. And some, like my grandfather, eat is Khushk (urdu word meaning dry).

It is kept simple because it is enjoyed daily and for that simplicity.

Chapatis are most often treated like an implement that helps you eat the food and also gives you a compliment to the food that does not compete with it, but simply adds to the experience.

You seem to have done intuitively everything that an Indian home chef would have done. You should be very proud of yourself. I do not know many young Indian chapati makers. It is a dying art. I am serious. I am eternally grateful to all those Indian home chefs that have fed me chapatis with a meal. I bless them everytime I meet them.

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You could also now dabble with making parathas. If you want, I still prefer chapatis for a meal that is simple and sublime. There is something really soulful about chapatis.

But yes parathas are fancy and special, but one cannot eat them everyday or with everything.

Email me if you need recipes for breads. I would be happy to share some with you. I have recipes of all kinds of flatbreads and other home made breads. My email is chef@suvir.com.

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Thanks for the kind words Suvir, the one thing that confused me was your reccomendation for no salt. After I made the chapatis, I checked out the recipe archive listing for chapatis to compare notes. The recipe here listed 1/2 tsp salt for 2 C flour. I can see how it would bring more flavor out of the bread, but is this untraditional as you said?

After experiencing how easy chapatis are, I plan on making them more and more until I can make perfectly round ones every time!

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Welcome to the chapati crowd!

We make them weekly. Here is what I do (according to boyfriend's mother's recommendations).

3/4 water plus 1 tbspn. 2 C flour. One capful of olive oil, a pinch salt... gather into ball. Knead.

If possible, I would recommend cooking the chapatis on a cast iron skillet. Most Indian cooks cook dosas and chapatis on cast iron skillet. My method is a little different then yours but yours seems to work :smile:

Edited by nerissa (log)
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Ben, I add salt to mine sometimes, and I know some professional chefs that do so.. .but I hardly know any home chef or mother that adds salt.

I think it has something to do with the fact that Indian food has plenty of salt in dishes, salt is something Indians know how to use and how much to use. They never shy away from it.

But adding a little salt should hardly be an issue. It is more about what one gets used to.

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I add salt and oil when I prepare parathas. And I work with more wet dough, but that can be tough to work with but makes the best chapatis. Soft and thin. But it is better to work with drier dough, get the hang of it and then use more wetter dough.

The trick is to knead the dough a lot. Makes it really better to work with and you get tastier chapatis.

Ben, Dosas are much easier to work with, and soooo much fun. They are amazing. If you can make chapatis, you can make Dosas. We have experts (Prasad and Indiagirl) who can guide you. I have made enough Dosas in Denver for a lifetime, and they come out really well. Has inspired me to come back to NYC and do a Dosa dinner.

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chapati dough with a touch of ajwain seeds (caraway, i think it is in english) lovely - and i use salt to although i make them too rarely for my own happiness

must fix that

I add carom seeds (ajwain/ajowain) into my paratha dough.

I add salt and carom seeds to Haath Kee Rotis (thick hand rolled chapatis), some also call them Jail Waalee Roti (chapatis prepared as they would be in a prison).

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