Chapatis, made fresh everyday, are a type of unleavened bread from northern India. The wholewheat dough is made from a flour that is predominantly ground in stone mills known as chakkis. The grinding of the wheat with stone, breaks and damages the starch which releases extra sweetness. The dough is rolled into flat circles and then cooked on a hot, flat griddle called a lava. In an Indian meal, chapatis are used as a scoop to pick up vegetable and lentil dishes.
Makes 8 chapatis
450g medium atta or chapati flour
250ml cold to tepid water
Butter for spreading (optional)
Set aside 200g of the flour and reserve for shaping the chapatis. Place the remaining flour in a deep bowl. Fill another bowl with the cold water.
Add the water to the bowl of flour, a little at a time, kneading as you go, until you have a soft, elastic dough. The longer you knead the dough the softer the chapatis will be Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto a flat surface or board.
Divide the dough into eight and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly, then place one onto the floured board. Roll it out into a flat disc approximately 15cm (6 inches) in diameter, flouring the board when necessary. Heat a griddle or a shallow frying pan.
Lay the chapati on the griddle or pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until the surface is bubbling. Turn it over with tongs and cook the other side for 10-15 seconds. As soon as brown spots appear on the underside, the chapati is done.
Repeat with the other seven balls, using the remaining flour to roll them out. Stack them up as they are cooked, placing a sheet of kitchen towel between each one to absorb any moisture. Spread butter over one side, if you like.