Making a chapati the easy way

The chapati is a flat bread recipe that is traditionally eaten with Indian meals and it is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of curries, sauces and dips amongst many other things. The chapati is a versatile flatbread and it is this quality that makes it so popular and so good.

An authentic Indian chapati recipe can be quite difficult to replicate at home, however there is an easy alternative to the authentic chapati recipe ideal for home cooking. This homemade chapati recipe requires no special ingredients, no technical culinary skills and takes very little time to prepare and cook. This chapati recipe really is something that everyone will find is easily achievable at home.

The ingredients used in this chapati recipe consist of no more than;

  • flour (self raising or plain)
  • salt; and
  • water

Depending on the cooking method, which is optional and down to personal preference, you may also need a small amount of olive oil. Most chapati recipes require you to accurately measure and weigh the ingredients, however my homemade recipe is different as there is no need to measure out or weigh any of the ingredients.

My homemade chapati recipe requires you to add some flour in to a mixing bowl. The amount of flour depends on how much chapati you want to make. Obviously, the more chapatis you want to make the more flour you need. Next, add a pinch of salt and then add a small amount of water. With the ingredients in the mixing bowl it is then time to get your hands in there and start mixing the flour, water and salt together. It is important to add the water in small amounts to get the chapati dough to the right consistency. You have to remember that you can always add more water but it is impossible to take it out again, so slow and steady is the way.

Once the chapati dough is at the right consistency it needs to be rolled out. The thickness of the dough depends on personal preference, i.e. whether you want a doughy chapati with a bit of substance or whether you want a crispy chapati. The thinner you roll out the chapati dough, the crispier the final chapati will be once it is cooked.

The chapati dough rolled out and ready to be cooked. A thinly rolled out chapati like this is probably best cooked on the griddle or in a frying pan or under the grill.

Chapati dough

With the chapati dough rolled to the desired thickness, the next stage is to cook the chapati. There are three ways you can cook the chapati and the best method will depend on whether you want your chapati nice and crispy or doughy, i.e. whether you have rolled the chapati dough nice and thin or left it a bit thicker.

If your chapati is to be thin and crispy the best way to cook the chapati is on a griddle or in a non stick frying pan on the hob. If you cook your chapati in this way you need to smear a little olive oil over the griddle or bottom of the frying pan and pre heat the griddle or the frying pan until it is hot. The oil is not used to fry the chapati, it is used to stop the chapati sticking, so you need to ensure you don’t add too much oil. Once the griddle or frying pan is up to temperature add the rolled out chapati dough and cook for two to three minutes before turning the chapati over and cooking the other side. When cooking a chapati in this way you need to stand over it and monitor the cooking throughout to ensure you don’t burn it. When cooking a chapati in this way you will get small brown spots over it. Don’t worry about these as these are perfectly normal. You will also find the chapati dough will start to expand as the air inside it expands.

If you don’t have a griddle or a non stick frying pan you may wish to cook the chapati under the grill. Before grilling the chapati you need to pre heat the grill to a medium temperature. Before placing the chapati dough under the grill you need to lightly brush the chapati dough with some olive oil to stop it burning during the grilling process. You should grill the chapati of five two or three minutes on one side before turning it over, brushing it with olive oil and then grilling it for a further two or three minutes.

If your chapati dough is thick and has a bit more substance the best way of cooking the chapati is to oven bake it. Cooking a thick chapati on the griddle or under the grill doesn’t work very well as these methods are best suited to a thin and crispy chapati. Oven baking a chapati involves pre heating the oven to a hundred and eight degrees, putting it on a tray and then putting it in the oven. After two minutes you need to remove the chapati from the oven and sprinkle a little water over it before returning to the oven for a further six to eight minutes. After six to eight minutes the chapati needs to be taken from the oven, turned over and placed in the oven for two minutes. After two minutes the chapati needs to be removed from the oven, sprinkled with some cold water and then placed back in the oven for a further six to eight minutes. It is possible to cook a thin and crispy chapati in the oven you just need to reduce the cooking times accordingly.

In addition to Indian food a chapati also works very well with Turkish cuisine, where it can be used as a starter on which you can spread garlic butter, ezme, yogurt and mint or any other type of Turkish meze. A thick and doughy chapati can also be used as a low calorie and healthy pizza base on which you can put any of your favourite toppings.

The final chapati cooked and ready to eat with whatever side dish you want.

The finished chapati

As you can see the chapati is a great flatbread and with my chapati recipe you will be able to make these great flatbreads quickly, easily and very cheaply.