These flat round breads are made with ata (sometimes called chappati flour). Three parts wholemeal flour with one part plain white flour may be used instead. Mix with water to a soft, slightly sticky dough and leave to rest at least 15 minutes before using.
Chappatis are cooked on a tava, that is a circular cast-iron plate with a long handle. A heavy cast-iron frying pan would make a suitable substitute.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to chappati making, so do not be put off if your first efforts are not as good as you would like. They will taste fine even if thy do not look immaculate.
Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes approx.
- 8 oz chappati flour with extra for dusting
- 4 fl. oz (110ml) water (very approximately)
Put the flour into a bowl. Add the water a little at a time and bring the flour together with the fingertips.
As the dough becomes stickier, draw it together with your hands, adding more water until all the flour is incorporated and you have a soft pliable dough.
Kneed the dough with wet hands for a minute or two. Fold into a neat shape, dampen the surface, cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Put the tava on the hob to pre-heat on a medium heat.
Roughly divide the dough into 8-10 parts without forming into balls.
Now dust your hands lightly with the extra flour and take a portion of the dough. Roll it between your hands into a ball. If it feels sticky use a little extra flour on your hands.
Put the ball of dough into the flour and press flat, dusting on both sides.
Roll out into a round about six inches (15cm) in diameter, dusting when required.
Pick up the chappati, pat between your hands for a few seconds to shake off excess flour, and slap it onto the hot tava.
Let it cook for about 30 seconds and turn it over. (If the chappati sticks to the tava, it is not hot enough. If the markings on the chappati are too dark, it is too hot. Adjust as necessary.)
Cook for about 30 seconds on the second side, lifting the chappati off the tava and replacing it immediately if half way through.
Turn over again, now lift the chappati off the tava and place it directly over a medium flame, moving it about all the time. It will puff up in seconds.
Place the chappati in a clean napkin, folding over the top to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining dough. Stack the chappatis in the napkin as you make them.
Ideally, chappatis should be eaten immediately, but if you wish to keep them for later, wrap them in aluminium foil and keep them in a refrigerator. Place, still in foil, in a hot oven for about 20 minutes to reheat. Alternatively reheat in a microwave oven.
Freezing. Chappatis freeze well. Stack and wrap in foil and freeze for up to a month. They may be thawed and reheated without removing the foil.
(Picture shows here not original)