Making chapatis can be a very relaxing thing to do. In quite a short time
you can produce eight or ten breads, each one turning out a little bit
different from the others, but all of them attractive, nutritious, and
good. We've grown so accustomed to making chapatis that they now feel
almost like a convenience food, a household staple of the best kind.
2 cups Atta flour (or whole wheat, sifted)
1 teaspoon salt
Approximately 1 cup warm water
You will need a medium-sized bowl, a rolling pin, a castiron griddle or
heavy skillet, and a small cotton cloth or a paper towel.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the salt and the flour. Make a well
in the middle and add just less than 1 cup warm water. Mix with your hand
or with a spoon until you can gather it together into a dough (depending
on the condition of your flour, you may need a little extra water or a
little extra flour to make a kneadable dough). Turn out onto a lightly
floured bread board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth
or a plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes or for up to 2 hours. The
longer the dough stands, the more digestible the breads.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and flatten each with lightly floured fingers.
Continue flattening with a rolling pin until each piece is 8 inches in
diameter. Once you have started rolling, roll out each bread without flipping
it over. To keep the bread from sticking to your bread board, make sure
that the bread is lightly floured underneath. Cover the breads with the
damp towel or plastic wrap as you roll out others (make sure not to stack
the rolled out breads; if you don't have enough counterspace for the breads,
roll out just a few and begin cooking, rolling out the others as the breads
Heat a castiron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. When the griddle
is hot, place a chapati on the griddle, top side of the bread down first.
Let cook for only 10 seconds and then gently flip to the second side.
Cook on the second side until small bubbles begin to form, approximately
one minute. Turn the chapati back to the first side and finish cooking
(another minute approximately). At this stage, a perfect chapati will
start to balloon. This process can be helped along by gently pressing
on the bread. The bread is hot, so we find the easiest method is to use
a small cotton cloth or a paper towel wadded up to protect your finger
tips. Gently press down on a large bubble forcing the bubble to extend
itself wider. If the bread starts to burn on the bottom before it has
ballooned, move the bread (with the help of your paper towel) across the
skillet, dislodging it from the point at which it is beginning to burn.
When you are satisfied with your chapati, remove it and wrap in a clean
towel. Continue to cook the other breads, stacking each as it is finished
on top of the others.
Yield: 8 chapatis, 7 to 8 inches across, thin and supple.
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes