The final part of our Indian meal was made by my husband, Mark. After we’d finished, I told him “You made them, You write the article!” So here it is, the fourth installment of my taste of indian cuisine – Jen
It has to be said, I normally keep well clear of cooking in our house. Primarily because the excellent culinary skills of Jen mean that anything I do is going to be very poor by comparison, but also because I’m a danger to myself and others in the kitchen. The other day, for example, I rashly offered to make our evening meal, (a just-add-chicken Katsu Curry kit, I can’t cook from scratch! ) and in the course of an hour or so, I had deep fried a plastic spoon to oblivion and set fire to our halogen hob.
Anyway, while Jen was making our delicious Indian meal, Chicken Korma with Mushroom Pulao Rice and Indian Spiced Beetroot, I just happened to say that it would be nice to have some Chapatis to go with it. I was shot a withering glance by my wife who was busily juggling several pans and ingredients. “Not to worry,” I said, “I’ll make them!” I was shot another withering glance. “Go on then”, she replied, calling my bluff.
It turns out that chapatis are the ideal food for me to make. There are only two ingredients and they are supposed to catch slightly! How hard could it be?
4½ oz/125g chapati, wheatmeal or bread flour
3fl oz/90ml water
Makes about 8 chapatis
Put the flour in a bowl. slowly add the water to form a soft dough. Knead it for about 5 or 6 minutes until it is smooth.
Put the dough into a bowl, cover and leave for half an hour.
Put a frying pan on a medium heat without any oil and leave it to heat up for about 10 minutes. A heavy cast iron one works best.
Knead the dough again and divide it into eight pieces. the dough is quite sticky so you’ll need to dust it with a lot of flour when working with it.
The traditional way to form the bread is to flatten it out with your fingers, spinning it and pinching it out between your thumb and forefingers. I tried this and ended up with something with the look and thickness of an elephant’s ear. So my advice is, forget the traditional method and just use a well floured rolling pin. form it into a ball then roll it out until it is very thin.
Take each chapati and slap it into your hot frying pan. cook it for about a minute then turn it over. the underside should start to have white spots on it. Turn it over and cook for another thirty seconds or so on the other side.
Now comes the fun bit. You take the chapati out of the pan, move the pan off the heat and place the chapati straight onto the heat source. If you’re using gas then you place it over the flame, which would be the traditional way to do this. However, as I’ve previously mentioned, we have a halogen hob, so I placed it straight on to the ring. I was a little sceptical as to whether this would work, but it did. What happens is that your chapati should puff up after a few seconds. turn it over and do the other side on the heat source. This should give you a nice bit of colouration.
Wrap your cooked chapatis in a cloth or some kitchen towels to keep them warm and fresh while you cook the rest.
The great thing about chapatis is that you use them as an edible eating implement. Scoop up some Korma and Rice with it and pop it straight in your mouth. Now I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but I do think that they were perhaps the perfect finishing touch to our meal. And if you ever need any Chapatis making, I’m your man!