International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Chapati

Chapati (Indian, Pakistani wholewheat flatbread)

(Indian, Pakistani wholewheat flatbread)

Image Creative Commons by Rachel Hendrick

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Chapati, or chapatti, is a popular bread accompaniment to a northern Indian or Pakistani meal. It is a simple wheat flatbread typically baked on a hot griddle, or tava. Pieces are broken off and wrapped around food before it is popped in the mouth.

Chapati is also common in Kenya and throughout East Africa. The bread was brought there by Indian merchants and servants during the British colonial period. Chapatis can be substituted with whole-wheat Mexican tortillas if you like.

12 chapatis

Ingredients

  • Whole-wheat flour -- 2 cups
  • Oil or ghee -- 2 tablespoons
  • Warm water -- 3/4 to 1 cup
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon

Method

  1. Mix the flour and oil or ghee together well using your hands or a food processor.
  2. Stir the salt into the water and add the water, a little at a time, until you have a soft, kneadable ball. Remove to a floured work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If using a food processor, add water until the mass comes together and continue processing for 30 seconds more.
  3. Remove the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  4. Return the dough to a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a long log and cut it into 12 separate balls. Dust the dough balls with a little flour and roll each one out into a very thin round about 6 inches in diameter.
  5. Heat an ungreased, heavy skillet over medium flame. Add a dough round and press down gently all over with a spatula or the back of a spoon to help make chapati puff up. Bake until lightly browned, flip and brown on the second side. Repeat with all rounds. Brush each chapati with melted butter or ghee as it comes from the skillet if you like.

Chapati Variations

  • Puri, or Poori (Indian deep-fried puff bread): Follow the above recipe, but fry the dough rounds in 350 to 375°F oil, tapping gently with a spoon until they are puff up and browned on one side. Flip and fry till browned on second side. Serve immediately.

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