I guess I really PQ’d Elizabeth’s interest when I said I was slightly embarrassed to say what I put on my Chapatis. Elizabeth is our Kitchen of the Month (KOM), and she’s done a totally wonderful video of making these chapatis, don’t miss it. BUT she’s terribly worried that I may have Americanized my Chapatis by submerging them in ketchup with either a hotdog or scrambled eggs. I smiled then laughed when she took a poll for the babes to guess what I might have done to my chapatis. I kept pretty quiet. I didn’t put any ketchup or hotdog or egg on any of them. Promise
In the early mists of time when I started cooking, one of my favorite cookbooks was “Diet for a Small Planet” (see told you it was long ago). In that little book was a recipe for Plaka Paneer. I made it … but not the chapatis to go with it. If only I’d had this recipe and Elizabeth’s super video, I’d have been authentic! Even back then when our two boys were fairly little, 4 and 7, they enjoyed the Plaka Paneer and I made it often. It’s time again but it must wait as we’ll be traveling again and the fridge must be cleaned out and left empty.
These seemed intimidating, hot griddle, sliding them onto a wire rack over a hot burner … and the big question … will they puff!? Elizabeth’s “After struggling for months trying to make these…Do not get disheartened […] you will improve with practice.” Yes, I was intimidated.
Let me tell you, these little puppies puffed right up on my dry crepe pan like I actually knew what I was doing and had made these for decades. I squealed, I did a little jig. I went to town: roll out a disk, drop it on the crepe pan, turn and start the next disk rolling out, flip the one on the medium hot pan, finish the roll out on the one on the counter, turn and … PUFF, wow aren’t you a beauty … This is not hard. This has a lovely rhythm and a beat.
Funny thing was you could pick up a chapatis and it would start deflating, drop it on that wire rack and bingo it would puff all over again. As Aparna calls it “phulka”, all puffed up. Magic.
You will note: I reversed the all purpose and whole wheat amounts to use more whole wheat. I’m just trying to eat less refined flour. Also I used bread flour in place of the all purpose as I was out of AP. OH, and I was out of flax, so no flax in this batch but next time there will be.
This was easy and they are wonderful. I don’t want to improve with practice, these were just perfect. I can only hope this wasn’t beginners luck. Many thanks Elizabeth. My few comments below in italics.
CHAPATIS, AKA ROTIS (INDIAN FLATBREAD)
Recipe By: based on “Flat Wholewheat Bread – Roti” in A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffrey
157 grams whole wheat flour, 1 cup
77 grams bread flour, 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon salt
up to 1 c. just-boiled water, I had to add about 1 extra teaspoon
1. In a bowl, mix flours and salt. Add hot water gradually, stirring with a fork
until you have a soft dough. The amount of water will vary drastically depending on air temperature and humidity. You just have to play with it. You are aiming for dough that resembles silly putty. Silly putty: This is the kind of word(s) that I think are so helpful when trying new recipes making bread! At least for me, silly putty really communicates because I know what it feels like from experience.
Using as little extra flour as possible, knead on a board or in the air for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and silky.
Put the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or plate and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes to one hour.
2. Put the tava on medium heat. Do not oil it. Put the wire rack on another burner at the highest heat possible. Tava: I love the special tool, oh you know I do … but I also love multipurpose tools. I was tickled to find another wonderful use for my cast iron crepe pan. Now, my crepe pan can do crepes, pancakes, socca, and chapatis!
Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. It seems to me, these could be made smaller and used for little bites/appetizers. Lightly flour each one and put 7 pieces back in the bowl. Cover the bowl. Form the piece of dough into a ball and flatten it. Roll it out into a round till it is quite thin but not too thin (this is again is one of those infuriating things where you will just have to practice to find out what thinness works best for you) – about 2 mm?? As you roll out the dough, make sure it is not sticking to the board and that there are no holes. Keep the rolling pin lightly dusted with as little flour as possible and the board the same way.
3. Place the round of dough on the hot tava (griddle). As soon as you see little bubbles form, turn it over using tongs.
As soon as there are little bubbles on the reverse side, lift the bread off the tava with the tongs and place it on the wire rack. It should puff up. Turn it over once or twice to ensure that it puffs up completely.
Don’t be worried to see a few dark brown spots on it. (If you are lucky enough to have a gas stove, you can hold the bread directly over the flame.)
4. Put the finished bread into a pot and cover it with a lid. Keep it in a warm oven. Roll out the next piece of dough and repeat til you have 8 rotis. As you put a new roti on the stack, turn the finished rotis over to keep the bottom ones from getting wet.
Elizabeth serves this bread with green chili omelettes or Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese).
What to put on them? Palak Paneer would have been ideal.
I don’t think I Americanized them, I Italianized them with pepperoni and cheese 😉
Just for a snack don’t you know.
One I had plain with just butter; mighty fine indeed.
One I had with just a strip of bacon …
Now, How will you dress your Chapatis? Get your self belly up to that stove and bake ’em some Chapatis. Elizabeth our KOM will have one of Lein’s super-dupper badges for you and get you into the round up at the end of this month. Check out her web site for details.