I know I’ve said it before, but my goodness are there a lot of different Indian breads!
When I first started this crazy project of cooking through every Indian bread ever, I had a list. I have since crossed off at least as many items as were on that original list – but my list is actually longer now then it was then! So what’s the problem? It seems that the more research I do, the more I learn just how many types, and variations of types of Indian breads that there are. Needless to say, this has turned into a bit more of a project than I had originally anticipated.
But guess what. I’m loving it. I have learned SO MUCH in the last couple weeks! It’s opened my eyes techniques and methods that I didn’t even know I was missing out on. They say that one of the best ways to learn about a culture is through it’s food, and it’s so true! Food really is what brings us together, and I’ve had so many good conversations with folks from around the world who are willing to share their knowledge with this crazy Minnesotan girl who has a hankering for Indian cuisine!
One of my most recent discoveries (please don’t roll your eyes, I know this is probably common sense to many) is that roti, isn’t actually a specific type of Indian bread, so much as it is a generic term for unleavened bread. So all this time that I’ve been spending trying to figure out the exact difference between roti and chapati, it turns out that chapati is actually a type of roti! Go figure! The main thing that I have been able to find which makes chapati unique is that it is made with 100% whole wheat flour, and left a bit thick, like a thick tortilla. I actually used my tortilla press to make this with fantastic results!
Chapati should be soft, but strong enough to scoop up some hearty curry, and delicious on it’s own smothered in ghee, or stuffed with paneer, palak or lehsun. I’m still working on getting a good method down for stuffing rotis (and chapati’s) and you can believe me that when I do, I’ll be sharing it asap! But until then, if anyone has a good method that they have used to stuff rotis without making a huge mess, I would love to hear your tips!
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour, Sifted to Remove Bran
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3/4 - 1 Cup Luke Warm Water
Whisk the salt and sifted flour together. Make a well in the flour and pour in 3/4 cups of water. Use your fingers to combine. Add more water if necessary. The dough should be soft, but workable.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 5 minutes until a smooth, soft dough ball forms. Cover with a damp towel and set aside for 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each piece into a smooth ball by cupping the dough in the palm of your hand and pressing down gently on the counter as you roll. Pinch the seam at the bottom shut, and set the dough balls aside, seam side down. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest another 15mn,
Heat a cast iron skillet or non stick pan over medium high heat. Working with one chapati at a time roll out to a little under 1/4" thick. A tortilla press works great for this! Place the chapati in the hot pan and press down with a spatula while the first side cooks. It may puff up a bit in places, just press down on the air bubbles gently when they appear.
When the first side is splotchy brown, flip the chapati over and finish cooking the other side, until it is also speckled with brown. You may need to adjust the heat to get an even golden brown, although a few darker spots are fine!
Take the chapati out of the pan and place on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining chapati, layering paper towels between them to soak up any moisture. If desired you can brush with ghee right after removing from the pan!