Chapati is a pita-like flatbread that originated in Asia and has become a staple in Kenyan homes and restaurants. Kenyans eat chapati as a snack, for breakfast and with dishes such as beef stew. Each cook decides how thick or large to make her chapati, which has a few basic ingredients and requires a hands-on touch with kneading.
Combine and mix 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp. of salt in a bowl. Use 1 cup of white all-purpose flour and 1 cup of sifted wheat flour, or 2 cups of wheat flour, if you prefer.
Create a small hole, or well, in the center of the flour mix.
Pour ¾ cup of hot water gradually into the well you created in the flour and salt mix and mix with a spoon or your hands. Continue adding the water and mixing until the consistency is such that you can begin to knead the dough.
Add 2 tbsp. of a healthy oil, such as olive or canola, to the dough mixture and continue to knead the dough until it is smooth textured. If you prefer, omit the oil.
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and continue kneading to reach a total kneading time of eight to 10 minutes .
Cover the dough with plastic or a damp towel and allow the dough to sit for about 30 minutes. You can allow the dough to sit for up to two hours, if you prefer.
Dip your fingers into flour and divide the dough into eight balls. Divide the dough into fewer balls for smaller chapati.
Flatten the dough balls using a rolling pin on a lightly floured board or surface and roll each ball out to the thickness and size you prefer, but avoid rolling the dough out too thin. Eight inches in diameter is a good width for chapatis.
Add a little oil to a heated skillet or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add a little additional oil during the cooking of the chapatis if necessary to prevent burning or sticking. You can also cook the chapati without using oil.
Place one chapati in the pan and cook both sides until they are golden brown. Cook each chapati and use a spatula to flip them. Remove the chapati when done and stack them on a clean kitchen towel large enough to fold over when done.
- Alford and Dugold, writing for the FoodNetwork.com, recommend cooking the first side for 10 seconds, cooking the other side until bubbles form and flipping back to the first side for another one minute of cooking. The chapati will balloon during cooking. You may also cook the chapati until the first side has brown spot and cook the other side for 30 seconds.
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