Indian Chapatis Rotis 印度扁面包
By Ellen L.Published: 2015-04-17
I looove Indian breads! I always make my 老公 annoyed when we go to an Indian restaurant because, in the end, all I really want to eat is the amazing bread! Hey, I can't help it if the darn bread is so yummilicious, amiright?! To go along with our home cooked mini Indian feast which so far has included the delightful Spicy Indian Potato Cauliflower Aloo Gobi and the meatilicious Indian Spicy Baked Chicken Masaledar Murghi, I decided to make homemade Indian Chapatis Rotis 印度扁面包. I can't tell you how much fun we had at our Indian feast, each of us eating our fresh warm chewy (homemade!) chapatis wrapped around choice tidbits of tender tasty curried meats and veggies! Plus it's easy to make these delicious flat breads!
The chapati does not use yeast, you just need flour and water. The recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery (my favorite Indian cookbook!) uses a mix of wholewheat and white flour but I just used white flour and it turned out just fine. It's really simple to make these once you get the hang of it!
Use the method of kneading a few times and then allowing the gluten to relax that I describe in the recipe below to knead the dough and you will save your wrist a lot of work. I discovered this method of kneading dough a while ago and have been using it ever since. It has helped me be able to make more breads because I don't have to knead myself to death every time I want to make bread! Trust me, once you try this method of kneading your dough you won't ever go back!
Please get yourself a silicon mat if you don't have one already, cuz it really is a most useful item to have in the kitchen. I roll out anything that might stick on my trusty silicon mat nowadays. I've been so happy with these after I finally discovered them! (Ten years after everyone else, I'm sure!) It make the process of rolling out dough so easy whereas it used to be so tricky. Flour the board, roll out, oops! not enough flour, dough gets stuck, painstakingly scrap dough off board, do over. Remember that? Well nothing will stick once you use the mat. You still need to flour a bit but, seriously, I don't know what I would do without the silicon mat.
The best pan to use is your trustworthy naturally non stick cast iron pan. I love my cast iron pan! It has a wonderful way of heating up hot and holding that heat making it easy to cook the chapatis evenly. Once the pan is hot you will want to turn the heat down a bit. The chapatis cook at low heat, if too hot the bread will easily burn. You can see the chapati puffing up a bit in the photo above. Once the underside has white to light brown spots on it you can flip it over. Once the other side has also developed white to light brown spots you pick it up and put it directly over a low gas flame. It's really cool at this point cuz the chapati will puff up like a blow fish! My little girl loved it!
If you don't have a gas flame to use just keep it on the cast iron and use a clean cloth to gently press down at different spots until the chapati puffs up. Do note that the chapatis will deflate again as they cool.
Indian Chapatis Rotis Recipe 印度扁面包
(adapted from recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery)
2.5 cups all purpose flour (or 3/4 cups all purpose mixed with 1 3/4 cups wheat flour)
3/4 cup water (175 ml)
Mix the flour and the water in a bowl until the dough comes together. Cover and wait 10 mins. Knead the dough 10 times. Cover and wait 10 mins. Repeat this step a total of 4 times. (By allowing the dough to rest and relax the gluten you will end up with the same result as if you had kneaded for 6-8 straight mins.) After the last knead the dough will be nice and smooth. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 mins.
Divide the dough into 15 parts. Spread out your silicon mat, sprinkle some flour on the mat and roll out your first chapati. (If you don't use the mat, sprinkle a lot more flour on working surface.) Sprinkle flour on top of dough before rolling to stop it sticking to your rolling pin. To end up with a round chapati, start with a flattened ball, then each time after you roll the dough you need to turn the chapati approx. one quarter way around. Just keep rolling and turning the dough and you will get a round shape. It takes practice, but you will quickly get the hang of it.
Heat your cast iron until hot then turn to low heat. Put your rolled out chapati in the pan and wait until the underside develops white spots with some light brown spots. This will not take long. Flip over and let cook until white to light brown spots appear. Turn on your gas flame to low heat and lay the chapati directly on the flame. The chapati will quickly puff up to a ball. Flip over and hold over flame for a few seconds. Remove to plate and cover with a clean cloth while you are making the rest of chapatis. Enjoy your fresh homemade chapatis!
More Breadilicious Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:
New York Crust Pizza Dough
Best Banana Bread 香蕉麵包
Sea Salt White Pepper Crackers 海鹽白胡椒脆餅