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Making Chapati

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Chapati is a staple in much of India and Pakistan, and also in other parts of SE Asia and Africa as well. It is often made fresh for each meal and even children learn to make this basic and easy bread. Often, the finished chapatis are brushed with ghee (clarified butter). Variations include replacing part of the wheat flour with pearl millet or maize or flour. The chapatis are then referred to in Hindi as bajra roti or makke ki roti and in Marathi Bhakri. When a mixture of pearl millet, maize and gram flour is used, the chapati is called a missi roti. In the southern and eastern parts, one cannot have that option for all the terms roti, chapati, paratha or kulcha would imply majorly, if not exclusively maida contents. In some parts of Maharashtra, Chapati is called poli. In Gujarat and Punjab it is called rotli or phulka. Chapatis are usually eaten with cooked dal (lentil soup) or vegetable (Indian curry) dishes, and pieces of the chapati are used to wrap around and pick up each bite of the cooked dish. Chapati sizes vary depending on region and change slightly from kitchen to kitchen. In general, an Indian chapati is approximately 10in in diameter while in Pakistan a chapati or roti is somewhat smaller, usually 5in to 10 in diameter. In some regions of Pakistan, a chapati can be less than 5cm in diameter.
  Chappati flour 1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs) (in a large plate for dusting the dough while rolling it out)
  Ghee 2 Tablespoon (For brushing)
  Chapati flour 100 Gram (This is a blend of wheat and malted barley flours used to make chapatis. Look for it in Indian markets. Substitutes Sift together equal parts whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.)
  Butter/Ghee 1 Tablespoon (For topping) (Optional)

Method to roll out the dough:
Prepare the desired amount of dough from the Basic Dough recipe. After resting for 2-2 1/2 hours, knead well. Divide the dough into peach-size balls. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one ball of dough with your hand. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a thin,round patty, about 5 inches in diameter. Roll from the center, turning patty several times to prevent sticking. Try to make the edges slightly thinner than the center. As you cook the chappati/roti, one could be rolling out the next, rather than shaping all of the chapatis at one time.

Method of cooking the chappati or roti:
Preheat a cast-iron tawa (or griddle or heavy skillet) over medium heat. Place the rolled dough on the palm of one hand and flip it over on to the tawa (cooking surface). When the color changes on the top and bubbles appear, turn it over. When both sides are done, use kitchen tongs (chimta) to remove the chapati from the skillet.

Gas Stove: This is the way I make them. If you have a gas stove, hold the cooked chapati over a medium flame and it will puff up immediately. Turn quickly to flame-bake the other side. Do this several times, taking care that the edges are well cooked.

Electric Stove: If you have an electric stove, chapatis can be encouraged to puff by pressing them with a clean kitchen towel after the first turn on each side. Repeat the shaping and cooking process until all chapatis are cooked.

To keep the chapatis warm as they are cooked, place them in a towel-lined basket or container and fold over the sides of the towel. Serve hot, either completely dry or topped with a small amount of ghee or butter.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Side Dish
Vegan, Vegetarian
Everyday, Quick, Healthy
Preparation Time: 
5 Minutes
Cook Time: 
150 Minutes
Ready In: 
155 Minutes
A fourteen year old boy making Chapati. Video footage taken by filmmaker Chris McKee in India on a trip in January 2006. Editing and music by Robert Sarkisian. Once you taste these unleavened, unsalted simple breads - you will often crave them. This is simple, unpretentious home cooking but very satisfying, healthy and costs only pennies to make. These are also excellent for those with a yeast allergy. Rotis are made from small balls of dough that are rolled out and then partially cooked on a hot griddle and then finished directly over high heat. The high heat makes the rotis puff up into a ball. They are then lightly coated with ghee to keep them pliable until serving time. Allow 2-3 chapatis or rotis per person. This is everyday Indian bread made in most Indian homes daily.

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Nutrition Rank

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 118 Calories from Fat 64

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 7 g11.2%

Saturated Fat 4.4 g22%

Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 18.8 mg6.3%

Sodium 1.1 mg0%

Total Carbohydrates 12 g4%

Dietary Fiber 2 g8.1%

Sugars 0.1 g

Protein 2 g4.6%

Vitamin A 1.3% Vitamin C

Calcium 0.6% Iron 3.6%

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet


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Making Chapati Recipe