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Chapati (Flatbread)

These breads are made every day in India, and are served with everything.

Serves: 12-15 breads | Ready in: 1 hour | Suitable for vegetarians

Chapati (Flatbread)


Mixing the dough

  1. Mix the flour and the salt. Pour in the oil and rub with your fingers- like making pastry - until it is evenly combined with the flour.
  2. Start adding in the water, bit by bit, to form a soft dough, which is fully combined with no dry bits and slightly tacky. Don’t worry if it is still sticking to your hands slightly.
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or a (unused!) shower cap, and leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead briefly for 4-5 minutes. Try and avoid adding any more flour at this stage. Once kneaded, the dough should be soft and smooth. It may still be a little sticky, but you should notice that it is much less tacky than when you first mixed the dough.
  5. Cover the bowl and leave to rest again for 30-40 minutes. This resting period is very important, as the flour will continue to absorb moisture from the liquid and it allows the dough to relax, becoming more elastic.

Shaping the dough

  1. Turn the dough out again (you should notice now that it is less sticky and easier to handle, as well as being lovely and soft). Divide the dough into about 12-15 balls (depending on the size you want), rolling them between your hands. Cover these with your towel or, if it is big enough, you could use your upturned bowl. This stops the balls from drying out and forming a skin whilst you are rolling and cooking the breads.
  2. Take the first ball and dip it all over in the bowl of flour, gently pat off any excess flour. Flatten the ball between the hands into a disc shape.
  3. On the work top, give the dough a couple of rolls forward and back using a rolling pin, then give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Leave it to rest for 30 seconds ??“ 1 minute and then repeat the action. Depending on how thick or thin you want your breads, this action could be repeated again. (If possible try not to add any more flour at this stage; if it feels like it’s going to stick, give a light dusting over the dough or on your rolling pin).

Cooking the dough

  1. Heat a frying pan until it is nice and hot, then turn down to medium-hot heat.
  2. Dust off any excess flour (as this can burn when cooking) and carefully lay the rolled-out dough in the pan.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles start to form on the surface. Turn it over and cook the other side for a further 1-2 minutes. Use a spatula to press the edges to encourage it to puff and get steam inside the bread. Give it another turn and cook briefly, making sure there are no uncooked bits of dough.
  4. Remove from the pan and either wrap in a clean tea towel or cover with foil to keep warm. 5 Repeat the process with the rest of the dough balls.