Tonight, I wanted to go back to an idea I played around with last May, pairing Indian flatbread with an accompanying condiment. Last year it was dosas and chutney, and tonight, I tried my hand at making chapati. Chapati is an unleavened bread, distinguished from roti by the inclusion of whole wheat flour. Stay tuned for an accompanying sauce to serve with this bread.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup bread flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
2. Add the warm water and olive oil, and stir well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently just until smooth and elastic - you should only need a minute or two, as the dough is quite sticky. Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Note: don't expect the dough to rise during this period; it's not a yeast bread, and by definition unleavened ('chappa' means flattened in Tamil). I assumed this was more of a "rest" period for the gluten in the flour. Other chapati recipes online, however, don't include the hour rest period, so if you're in a rush I'm tempted to say you could skip it.
3. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Let rest for 5 minutes. Working with 1 portion at a time (and keeping the remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying), roll into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working with 1 dough portion at a time, cook for 4 minutes on each side; the chapatis should be lightly browned with dark spots. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Serve alongside any dal, curry, or other Indian entree. Tonight I served with a Madras curry made with Gardein beef.
8 servings (1 chapati), Calories 127
These came out so well I'm almost pinching myself. Soft and pliable, just lightly chewy, and perfect for scooping up curry. The bread is also delicious on it own, with a nice touch of saltiness. The cast-iron skillet gave a good charred flavor, like they'd cooked over an open flame instead. Quite a triumph, particularly since I worried my dough was too sticky at a point or two during the recipe process.
Update: as promised, I paired the chapati with my Spiced Yogurt Dip, a wonderful combination. The spiciness of the dip was offset by the salty flatbread - especially when the bread was lightly reheated and served warm.