The easiest way to a man’s heart (or a puppy’s, or mine, or anyone who wants love, really), is through their stomach. It doesn’t take too much of a strain on the cogs in the brain to figure out why. Hunger is physiological. We feel hungry in order to survive. If this hunger isn’t satisfied, we get grumpy. Or in most cases, like myself, get really angry.
An essential ingredient in every Indian home, regardless of your age, should be wholewheat flour, better known as atta. It’s healthy, easy to work with and will remind you of your mother’s cooking with each bite.
Chapathis have now travelled along their way from the north of the country, into homes as far south as Port Blair on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You can’t get anymore pan-Indian than that.
Here’s a fail-proof recipe guaranteed to make your future spouse’s mother-in-law proud. And remember, the trick to getting those rotis nice and round is … love.
Just kidding, I’ve got your back with the trick to round rotis in the directions.
1 cup (for measuring your flour)
1 large bowl for kneading
1 wet grinder with dough attachment (this contraption makes life much easier and kneading is much quicker, and washing this is fairly easy)
1 rolling pin (aka “belan”)
1 rolling board (aka “chakla”)
1 tawa (non-stick or cast iron pan. I use a good quality cast iron pan because it lasts much longer)
1 steel spatula (to flip your chapathi when it cooks)
Ingredients (8 chapathis)
1 and 1/2 cups wholewheat flour (or atta)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup wholewheat flour
2 tbsp oil
- Add all the dry ingredients meant for the dough into the wet grinder with the dough kneading attachment fixed and start the grinder so that the salt is incorporated into the flour evenly.
- Add the oil into the water and gently pour the water into the moving grinder. As the flour comes together to form the dough, oil the bowl.
- When all the flour comes together into a ball, turn the grinder off and transfer the dough into the oiled bowl. Knead the dough using the heel of your palm while your fingers fold the dough back on to itself until the surface of the dough becomes smooth.
- Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes while you wash the grinder and attachment.
- Bring out the rolling pin and board and lightly dust the surface with flour.
- Divide the dough into small spheres and roll them in the flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
- Roll the spheres out, taking care to lift the flattened dough and rotate the flattened dough at angles after every flattening to get the round shape. Liberally dust while flattening the dough so that the chapathi doesn’t stick to the rolling pin or board. Your chapathi should be about half a centimeter thick when ready to cook.
- Heat your pan on a medium flame and when the pan is hot (but not smoking), place your flattened dough on to the pan and wait for small bubbles to erupt all over the surface of the chapathi. Drizzle the bubbled surface with a few drops of oil and flip the chapathi over with the spatula.
- Repeat the drizzle of oil on the cooked surface and flip the chapathi for the second and last time.
- Repeat the process for all the dough spheres.
- Serve hot with a side of dal or curry. Bon appetit!
If your dough gets too sticky or watery, add more flour to it, one tablespoon at a time. The dough is ready to when the surface turns smooth and springs back up when touched. Your dough should be soft like playdoh.
For very soft chapathis, use warm water to mix into the dough.
Don’t cook your chapathis on low flame, because they will dehydrate and become hard, instead of being soft and pliable.
Don’t turn your chapathi over more than twice, because the surface will most likely crisp burn.
To make phulkas, skip the oil when cooking the chapathi, and place the cooked side on to direct flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn the puffed up phulka to cook the uncooked side. Be VERY quick, but gentle, when turning the phulka over so as not to burn or rupture the phulka. This takes loads of practice!
The dough can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Remember to add flour to the stored dough and knead for a few minutes so that the water that drains out of the dough doesn’t make it difficult to roll out.