Ah, the Devil's pancakes. OK I made that up. But they are seriously tasty when you get them right.
And seriously evil when you don't.
Makes 12-15 Chapatis
It's surprisingly easy to produce something more in the nature of coarse popadoms than soft fluffy chapatis.
The things I've learned that might help you with that:
- Don't make the dough too dry - it should be just a little bit sticky or the chapatis will be dry too.
- Don't skimp on the kneading. Really work that dough - you need to develop the gluten or your chapatis will be dry.
When you're done it should have the consistency of chewing gum.
- You really need to let the dough rest for at least half an hour. Preferably an hour. Overnight is good too.
- Although you can substitute a 50/50 mixture of white and wholemeal flour, real chapati flour (atta) is much preferred.
- Don't overcook your chapatis - get the griddle or frying pan good and hot and the chapatis should cook in 30 seconds or so per side.
- 2 cups chapati flour (atta) or a mixture of plain and wholemeal flour
- 1 cup water
- salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon oil or ghee (or butter)
Sift the flour into a bowl and gradually stir in water until you have a soft and sticky dough.
Add a teaspoonful of oil or ghee.
Knead enthusiastically for 5 or 10 minutes until you have an elastic dough that can be pulled and stretched like chewing gum.
Roll the dough into a ball, coat with a thin layer of the oil or ghee, and leave to rest for an hour (preferably).
When you're ready to cook, put a griddle or frying pan on a high heat until it is very hot - just below smoking.
Lightly knead the dough again, then tear off a piece that fits in the palm of your hand.
Roll into a ball, then press into a flat circular disc. Coat the disk with a little flour then roll it out as thinly as you can manage
(it should be translucent).
Carefully lay the chapati flat on the griddle in one smooth movement and cook for 30 seconds until the colour darkens and small bubbles start to show.
Flip over and cook for another thirty seconds.
You can use a damp tea towel to lightly press the surface here to help the chapati cook evenly and encourage it to puff up.
You may need to flip again and cook each side for another 10-30 seconds just to get rid of any raw spots.
You can have small brown spots, but no large ones - and no burning!.
Wrap the chapatis in a tea towel as you cook them to keep them warm and soft until you're ready to serve.
You can coat them with a little ghee, and you can store them folded up too, if you like.