A soft Indian flatbread made with wheat flour, chapatis are very quick to make and pretty easy to master. As with most things, practice makes perfect so go easy on yourself if you’re trying these for the first time. Especially as I’m not putting measurements here. For chapatis, go by eye and texture and feel. After a few tries, you will be a master and making these will be no more daunting than making toast.
– Atta flour (finely ground wheat flour). *If you can’t find it, use whole wheat mixed with white flour. I find Trader Joe’s white wheat flour makes a soft chapati. If you decide to use American Whole Wheat flour, these will probably be stiff and dry rather than soft and pliable.
1) Add flour into a bowl with just pinch of salt and mix in a bit of oil with your fingers. A good place to start would be about a cup of flour which should make about four to six or chapatis.
2) Gradually–DO NOT dump in–add in water, mixing with your hands and adding water as you go until you have a nice soft dough. It shouldn’t be so wet that it is like glue. But if it feels soft and yet tears a bit when you knead it, if it doesn’t stick together when you fold it over, then it is too dry. The texture you want is lovely softness, like new playdough. Watch this video to see Chetna do it like a boss.
3) After you have kneaded the dough for a couple minutes, cover with a drop of oil, some clingfilm and leave to sit for about ten minutes.
4) Pinch off a golf-ball sized bit of dough and roll into a sphere in your palms. This helps it keep an even circle shape when you roll out. Dust with flour and roll, turning as you go, to a thin circle about the size of a tortilla but ever so slightly thicker.
5) Get a cast iron skillet or non stick frying pan and heat to medium high. When hot, put the chapati on and cook for about 30 seconds, then flip. You will flip the dough again (and again) as it cooks to brown both sides and not let them burn.
6) When it begins to puff up, press a folded tea towel around the edges (not the center!) to push the hot steam toward the middle so that the chapati puffs up like a pita. When both sides golden brown, it is done. Only about a minute or two really. They cook fast.
7) Put cooked chapati on a plate and spread a bit of oil (if vegan), or ghee or salted butter on it. Continue with the rest of the dough until all chapatis cooked.
8) Keep chapatis warm on a plate covered with a tea towel. They will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be microwaved to warm up.
Serve with curry, sambal, chutney, daal of your choice.