Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chapati (Indian Flatbread)

We have been teased this past week with shockingly cold weather and biting wind. I wore my down jacket at recess and still shivered every day this week. It really doesn't seem like summer break will be here in six mere weeks. Yet soon enough, slow-cooked wintry meals will be just a foggy memory.  In the meantime while the weather is a bit confused, I'll be cooking up some warming saag or dal and serving it with this chapati.

I enjoyed chapati for the first time at a killer Indian restaurant in Portland called Bollywood Theater that serves authentic street food. If you find yourself in the Northeast neighborhood, you must go there. Their chapati, also known as roti, is dripping in ghee and is spectacular (like most everything else on the menu).  

While I love to take the time to make a fresh batch of naan every once in a while, chapati is much easier and healthier. It's made with 100% whole wheat flour and is somehow still light and chewy. The trick is to brush a little bit of melted butter onto each freshly grilled flatbread and to eat them while they're still warm.

It's recipes like this one that make me appreciate good flour. I use Montana whole wheat flour from the bulk bins at the Good Food Store. The flavor is strikingly sweet and nutty. If you are unable to acquire Montana flour, then use King Arthur

from Flatbreads & Flavors

makes 8 chapati

2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
about 1 c warm water

ghee or melted butter

Sift together the flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Slowly add the warm water and mix to form a sticky dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes until silky and smooth. Place back in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and roughly roll each into a ball. Place a towel over the dough balls to keep them from drying out.

Heat an ungreased 12-inch cast iron or griddle pan on medium-high heat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a dough ball until it is about 7 inches wide or about the thickness of a tortilla. Gently place on the hot pan. Cook for 10 seconds and then flip it over. Cook on the second side for about 1 minute. Flip back to the first side and cook for about 1 minute, or until bubbles form. Set aside and brush with butter.

Repeat with each dough ball, keeping the finished chapati warm with a towel or foil. Serve while still warm with curry or dal. 

*Note: If you are not planning on serving all 8 in the same day, then place the remaining dough balls in the fridge and use within a couple of days. 

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