New to chapati making? In the following article, we will tell you various factors to keep in mind while making chapatis. But at the end of the day, practice makes a man perfect! Chapati or Roti is an Indian flatbread that’s made out of wheat flour and is eaten along with vegetable curries, dals or other vegetarian/ non-vegetarian side dishes. 

Now, let’s have a look at the ingredients we are going to be needing: Two cups of wheat flour with an additional half cup which we will need to sprinkle on top when we start rolling the dough out. You also need one cup of lukewarm water and a pinch of salt. It is optional, but you can also add two tablespoons of olive oil. A lot of people might say that they don’t add oil in chapatis. If you are planning to make a bunch of chapatis and retain their softness until the next day, then this is the perfect solution. You can also add a little bit of homemade ghee instead of olive oil.

We’ll begin by grabbing a skillet. To this skillet, add wheat flour along with the salt seasoning, and incorporate this using a whisk. We’ll add one tablespoon of vegetable oil followed by 400 milliliters of water.

 Now there are a couple of things that you need to remember:

Tip number one: Knead the dough. The first step is to add water little by little and not all at once. 

Tip number two: Not to press the dough very hard in between your fist. In the initial phase, when you press it too hard it’ll become like big lumps and your dough will not be smooth. Make sure that most of the dry wheat flour in your skillet is used by you. To incorporate more moisture, dip your knuckles in water and continue kneading. Knead until dough is smooth and crack-free. Then, cover it with a damp cloth by smearing a little water on the cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes. After five minutes, gluten will be released and your dough will become more elastic. Follow this by kneading it again for at least two to three minutes or better for five minutes. Keep folding the dough over itself vigorously. A soft, pliable dough adds on to the softness of the chapatis. 

Tip number three: The more you knead the dough, the softer your chapatis will blow up. Only then will they be considered to make good chapatis.

Grab a handful of the dough in the size of a plum and rotate this to create a nice ball. Divide into 40 grams portions. Roll into small discs in your palm. The rounder and smoother the discs at this stage, the easier it will be to roll round chapatis. Follow this by rolling it into a flatbread. If you’re not experienced, sprinkle a little dry flour so that your chapati doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once you become experienced, you may use very little dry flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the round dough balls firmly and evenly into a thick diameter round circle. The key to getting a round shape is to keep the disc rotating on the rolling surface. A good way is to use your index finger, middle finger, and thumb every time to twist the chapati dough into an anti-clockwise direction of 45 degrees so that it is rolled evenly from everywhere. 

Experienced chapati makers can do it with their wrists. Beginners must rotate manually. Roll in short gentle strokes. Keep the disc well dusted to avoid pinching or sticking of dough. The disc should slide easily on the surface of the rolling table. For perfectly round chapatis, roll along one side and not the center. Once it is done off, dust off the extra wheat flour. 

Now, you’re ready to put it on the hot pan. Heat pan thoroughly maintaining medium-high heat. A thick pan is ideal for chapatis as it can retain heat and cook evenly. Roast the chapati for 40 seconds on one side and then twist it over on to the other side by flipping it up. Cook the other side at a low flame for five seconds. You will observe small droplet sized bubbles erupting on the surface of the chapatti. When they do, put it directly on the flame and it will bloat up like a balloon. Maintaining the correct heat level is key:

  • Too low: the chapatis will become crisp like papad. 
  • Too high: It will develop burnt spots in some places and remain wet in others. Sometimes for various reasons, a chapati will not puff; don’t sweat, it will still be soft. 

You may smear some homemade ghee on the chapati, especially the corners since it has a tendency of drying out than the middle portion. Try to avoid excess ghee as it may drizzle on to the plate. Time to take it off the fire, serve it with some side dish and enjoy it with your family members and friends.

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