Friday, April 13, 2012

Indian Chapati Bread

I love Indian food. 

There are an endless number of different cooking styles around the world, but few can compare to the marriage of simple method combined with delicious complexity that is the hallmark of Indian fare. The dishes range from fiery curries to cooling yogurt sauces; bitter greens to sweet fruit chutneys. There is something to please just about any palate and if you've never tried it, you are definitely missing out.

It may seem odd to those of us living in the Western world, but in many cultures around the globe the concept of eating with utensils such as forks and spoons just never caught on. Because of this, cooking styles in these regions have developed such that large chunks of roasted meat, thick stews, dipping sauces, and spreads are dominant. The most common method of successfully getting these tasty items into your mouth is to scoop it up with another tasty item; bread.

The following recipe will produce one of the most common flat breads of the South Asian region: Chapati. There are many different incarnations of this flat bread, based on where you look (Turkey, China, Tanzania, Kenya and many other countries have there own versions), but this particular unleavened delight will resemble the favored style of the Indian sub continent.

Indian Chapati
1 cup All-Purpose flour
1 cup Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup boiling water
A few Tbs Ghee (butter will suffice if you can't find Ghee)


1. Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl.
2. Using a wooden spoon incorporate the oil and hot water into the flour to make a loose dough that is slightly stretchy; when the water is fully incorporated, turn the dough out onto a well flour surface and knead it until the dough is smooth.
3. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts; meanwhile heat up a large flat skillet with a small amount of oil.
4. Use a rolling pin to flatten the portions of divided dough into thin flat rounds; when the pan begins to smoke, place the flattened dough, one piece at a time, into the pan and let them cook until the bottom begins to form brown spots (about 30 seconds depending on the thickness). Flip the bread over to brown the other side.
5. As you remove the bread from the pan slather a small amount of ghee on the them and lay on a plate until ready to serve.


This bread is the perfect companion to stew, curry, yogurt dips,  hummus, rice, or mango chutney.


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