By Mitchelle Wamahiu: East African Society
Similar to Naan, Parantha, Roti, Safati, Phulka, and Roshi, chapati is a very well-known dish eaten anytime of the day, but most often during social gatherings and holidays.
Originally from India, or parts of Egypt, the recipe was first discovered on the coastal shore lines of Eastern Africa.
The recipe is different from the usually parantha or naan, where instead of yoghurt, the recipe calls for milk or water, as this will not dry up the dough, and a substantial amount oil, that aids in the multi-layered flatbread. Fried on a skillet accompanied by plenty of oil, I would say it’s like making a pancake.
Holidays are never missed with chapatis as the dish plays a big role in social settings, where everyone is always excited to share this meal as it signifies happiness and unity of people, especially family.
Whenever you would have a Christmas dinner and Chapatis are left over, you know for sure you’ve scored the jackpot for breakfast
They go well with stews, vegetables such as fried spinach or just a cup of tea. It’s a meal for any time of the day
140g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar (optional)
90 ml milk
Oil or Ghee
Preparation and Cooking
- In a large mixing bowl, add water, oil, sugar and salt and mix well. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon till the mixture comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface
- With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for about 15 minutes until smooth – when it doesn’t stick to your hands. If it does, add 2 tbsp of flour and continue to knead till smooth. The longer you knead, the softer the chapati will be.
- Poke the dough with your finger, if it slowly comes back, then your dough is ready.
- Lightly flour your working surface and roll the dough out to make a large, even rectangle then gently brush the dough with melted butter or ghee and start cutting into strips
- Take your strip and roll the dough like you would a yoga mat. Coil the mat-like-dough and tuck the end in the middle of the coil. Repeat the process with all the dough. This is the process that will ensure layers in your chapati.
- Cover the dough once more and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes
- Working with one dough at a time, lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough using a rolling pin to a thin 20cm circle (slightly thicker than a tortilla)
- Heat a skillet/pan over medium-high heat, add some oil and place the rolled out dough
- Cook for about 30 seconds till bubbles appear on the upper side, at this point, brush some oil on the chapati and flip. Gently press against the skillet for 15 seconds as you turn it. Flip once more and press the other side gently against the skillet too. Remove from the pan, place in a serving dish and cover with the lid
- Served with, beef stew, curry, and fried cabbage or spinach