I’m a big fan of Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks (her vindaloo paste is one of the bestÂ recipes I’ve ever triedÂ -Â just heavenly).Â Â Â We tend to cook a lot of Indian food around here.Â Â On Thursday, I hadÂ planned to make a Madhur red lentil/spinach dishÂ and a side dish of spicy tomatoes/eggplants andÂ IÂ assumed I’d make a pot of basmati rice to go with it.Â Agh!Â We wereÂ out of rice!Â No problem, I’d whip up some naan instead.Â I check my fridge and whatÂ do you know – no yogurt!!Â Â Real naan has to be made with yogurt, soÂ we scrapped that idea andÂ decided to try something newÂ – chapati bread.
The recipe couldn’t be any more simple – chapatis are an Indian unleavened bread, sort of like a tortilla.
You’ll need – 1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted, and 1 cup white flour, sifted (Sifting is important, otherwise you end up with an overly dense and tough chapati – alternately, you could use a specialty chapati flour from an Indian grocer).Â
Combine these with 1 tsp salt and enough waterÂ (close toÂ 6 oz) water to make a soft dough.Â Turn out and knead forÂ 6-8 minutes untilÂ dough is smooth.Â Cover and let rest 30 min.Â
Â After 30 min, knead the dough a few more times.Â Divide into 16 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.Â Cover all pieces, removing only 1 at a time to cook.Â Heat a heavy skillet on high heat until quite hot, and then reduce the heat to low.Â
Roll out the chapati until very very thin.Â Firecracker, who is 4, was actually really good at this – she rolled out all of the dough without any help – the pieces were small enough for her to handle, and the dough wasn’t delicate at all.Â Â WeÂ had a little assembly line goingÂ – Little Hen handed the dough balls to Firecracker, who rolled them out andÂ passed them to me, who cooked them.Â Â
Cook on the skillet for 1 min on one side, and flip, cooking 30 seconds on the other.Â Then set directly on the burnerÂ to brown (Yes, this works best on a gas range, but I haven’t got one, so I make do). The chapati will puff up and brown in spots.Â Remove and cover with a towel until ready to serve.
The final result – dinner for 4 plus more than enough for Hubby to take for lunch the next dayÂ -Â vegan, not so local (except the onions, garlic, spinach, tomato), but I estimate it cost about $4 total.Â Biggest bonus – the girls loved it and ateÂ it all upÂ with compliments to the chefs.