Asian Dishes, Bread and Batter


I can’t believe it has been two years since I last made chapati. At that time, Mustafa Centre was really at my disposal. Whenever I finished work early, I’d pop down to, in my opinion, the best shopping mall in Singapore, and get my monthly fix of Indian/Arabic foodstuff. I’d walk down the ‘aisle of saffron’ and look longingly at the beautiful precious scarlet threads. I’d saunter to the ‘Arabic’ isle and gaze at the tubs of creamy white halwa tahina topped with emerald pistachios. I’d grab a few ready-to-eat cans of foul medammes and then walk to the frozen section of the supermarket.

If you have been to Mustafa Centre, before you enter the supermarket, you have to pass through a narrow lane stacked high with basmati rice, pulses and flour. I would look at the different kinds of flour available and one day, looking at a packet of atta (wheat) flour, I decided to purchase a small packet and bake some chapatis.

I’ve never made chapatis before but I had bought a cookbook by Sanjiv Kapoor when I was in Chennai and thought that it was high time I try out one of his recipes. So one weekend, I decided to try his recipe with the help of my daughter.

Making chapatis is dead easy. The trick is to making it ultra soft. I first put in flour in a bowl and mixed it with tepid water and some oil to form a smooth dough. Oh, and some salt. Now, the recipe called for ghee or butter. I couldn’t bring myself to use ghee and at that time, I was pregnant and had to watch my blood sugar level. So I used olive oil. Extra virgin. After I had formed a nice ball of dough, I left it to rest, covering the bowl with a piece of damp cloth. An hour later, I formed little balls out of the big mass of dough and left it to rest again. When it was time to roll out the chapatis, I sought the help of my willing assistant. After you flatten the dough, add more oil. Roll the dough into a thin circle and then pop it into a hot pan. Cook on one side, flip and let it brown on the other. The dough will puff up.

The chapatis were soft and delicious! However, according to my mother in law who is an expert at chapati making, to make it even softer, leave the dough to rest overnight.

Try making some chapatis one day as they are cheap and easy to make. I guarantee you children would love it! And if you have older children, they can join in the fun too! 🙂

Rolling the chapatis. Not easy to make it round!

The end product. Not very round but soft and very good eaten with curry.

Happy cooking! 🙂

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