I love, love, looooooove chapati, and if I wasn’t watching my waist I’d probably eat them every day for ever. Chapati is the beautiful unleavened flat pan- grilled bread eaten in the Eastern African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, and Mozambique. Though they originated as an import from the Indian settlers, chapatis have become part of the East African’s culinary heritage. The best ones are light and soft and can either be plain of flaky. My mum makes the absolute best ones and whenever I visit my parents, am always looking forward to a chapati feast.
I am still on the journey to make the perfect chapati. I’ve come from making them too crunchy, too chewy, too hard and now they are at least soft and tasty. I’ve picked up a few tricks that I’d like to share with you below:
• I use hot water to mix the dough and I found that adding oil to the water will brown the chapati faster during the cooking process and prevent it from losing excess moisture.
• The dough must be soft and supple, to the point where it’s almost difficult handle but not quite. I use oily hands to make handling the dough easier and quite a bit of flour when am rolling it into rounds.
• Leaving the dough to rest for 20-25 minutes after forming the dough into balls makes the rolling step easier.
• Kneading well will allow the dough to develop its elasticity ensuring that the chapati will be soft and supple.
• Cook the chapatis on medium to high heat and for not more than 60 seconds to avoid moisture loss.
The chapati dough freezes well for up to 3 months. Simply form balls out of the dough and place them 1 cm apart on a tray. Flash freeze this before transferring them to freezer bags. You can take out only what you need and defrost them at room temperature. Roll, fry and enjoy.
Chapatis can be paired with almost any dish and are most often served with stews and curries, are eaten on their own or used as wraps for eggs, chicken, meats, vegetables and much more.
In this recipe, I flavored the dough with onions, carrots, cilantro (coriander), black pepper and mixed spices for another exciting taste which I hope you will enjoy.
CILANTRO CHAPATI BREAD
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
7 cups Wheat flour
1 Large onion, finely diced
1 Large carrot; grated
¼cup *Cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp Mixed spices
1 tsp Black pepper
3 tbsp Sunflower oil
3 cups Water
Salt to taste
Sunflower oil for frying
*cilantro is the same as coriander or dhania or chinese parsley or coat meal
• In a saucepan, combine water, salt, diced onion and the 2tbsp of oil. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
• Add the carrot and coriander when the flavored water has cooled enough to handle then add the wheat a cup at a time as you knead the mixture. The dough should be soft and a little sticky
• Form into balls using oiled hands. Place the balls on a tray and leave to rest for about 20-30 minutes.
- Flatten dough into rounds with a rolling pin, fry and serve.