CHAPATTIS for FRYPAN or BARBECUE PLATE
Makes 8 small pieces, enough for 4 serves.
Allow 10 - 15 minutes for preparation the first time you make them, but you will get faster with practice.
1. Put ½ cup (120ml) lukewarm water, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a bowl. (Oil helps when rolling the dough).
2. Add - all at once - 2 cups white self-raising flour or 1¾ cups wholemeal self-raising flour, and stir together with an ordinary bread-and-butter knife. (“Cutting in” wet and dry ingredients keep dough light.)
3. Finish mixing with one hand, squeezing the dough to incorporate as much flour as the mix will take in.
4. With both hands, form a ball. Divide the ball in half; then each half into four. Rework each back into a ball. Place back in the bowl and cover with cling wrap or damp cloth while you continue.
5. Sprinkle a little flour on a bench or board; pat a ball of dough flat; then roll with rolling pin or old bottle until as thin as you can get it. Repeat for all.
6. In a very hot dry pan, cook until brown and blistery on underside, then flip. Should take 30 seconds or less on each side, with the second side giving you the ‘classic’ speckled chapatti look.
A *TWOFROGS* TIP ABOUT ROLLING DOUGH
- Make sure bench top is perfectly dry.
- Have spare flour to sprinkle.
- Rub the rolling pin or rolling bottle with flour before you begin, and during rolling.
- Don’t push down on the rolling pin; push away. As if the dough is a clock, start in the centre and roll outwards, ONCE, toward 12. Then put the rolling pin in the centre again, and push out in the opposite direction, towards 6. Repeat, pushing out toward 3, then 9. After four rolls, you will have begun to shape an even circle. Lift the dough and sprinkle a little more flour underneath if needed.
- Continue until the dough is thin. (Rolling with a back and forth action will make dough tough and sticky)
- Its easier to roll out 2 small balls of dough, than to roll 1 larger circle.
LET’S TALK ABOUT CHAPATTIS (or Chapathis)…
Traditionally made with hand-ground wholemeal flour (because refined white flour did not exist), chapattis were cooked on the stones of ovens or on cast-iron flat pans. The flour was mixed with water, without any raising agent. Unleavened flatbread. It is found in early cooking traditions almost all around the world. In Australia, before motor cars and Tupperware came to the bush, cattle drovers and camel herders made Johnny Cakes the same way, cooking the wholemeal dough on flat stones in the coals of a fire. Then, when bicarbonate of soda and baking powder could be transported great distances and stored without getting damp, unleavened breads began to rise.
AUSSIE JOHNNY CAKES - a chapatti alternative
Mix wholemeal self-raining flour (or ½ wholemeal and ½ white flour) with ½ teaspoon salt, enough water and 1 tablespoon oil to make a soft dough. With floured hands, shape dough into flattened balls and drop onto a hot barbecue plate. Turn after 5 minutes.
SOFT CHAPATTI ROLLS for curry and lentils.
Mix self-raising flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon oil with enough water to make a soft dough. In the bowl or on the bench top, form into a ball, then divide into fist-sized pieces. Place 3 or 4 in a hot pan, flatten slightly, cover the pan with a lid and cook 5 minutes or until bottom is brown. Turn and cook 5 minutes more. Serve warm.
Soon, from Town Frog, a light lunch with curry, beans and eggplants. Before that, limes....
Written and compiled by two frogs.