Indian style Chapatis and Roti, cooking on an India style cast iron Tawa pan

Cast Iron Tawa

cast iron tawa
cast iron tawa | Source
dough ready to roll out
dough ready to roll out | Source

Indian Style Flatbreads

One of the essential ingredients of any Indian meal is the chapatis which accompanies it.

Sometimes called rotis these unleavened bread are eaten across India except a few states where rice is the staple food.

They are made from a very basic dough mixture, 1 cup of wholemeal flour, warm water to mix, 2 tsp ghee.

I use a clever Indian rolling pin which is tapered at both ends so as to allow you to roll a circle, it's quite ingenious and works very well. The only other utensil is a flat pan, again there is a pan called a tawa which is a slightly concave pan designed to go on the oven top and cook the rotis.

Mix the flour and water in a bowl kneading it into an elastic dough. I usually dip my fingers in the oil as I do this. This stops the sticky dough sticking all over your fingers. Make sure that you get plenty of air into the kneading which is why I never use my mixer. Stretch the dough flour it and then fold it over, and then knead again; repeat this over and over again until your dough is pliable and very stretchy.

Divide the dough into small pieces and then roll them out on a floured board.

Once you have the dough you can let it rest; cover with a damp cloth and leave for an hour or so.

Put your pan on a medium heat and let it get warmed before you add your dough. Once up to heat add your chapati and with a wooden spatula apply a little pressure. Flip the chapati over and again add pressure, if you have kneaded it right then the chapati should begin to blow up. Keep your pan moving to prevent burning.

In our society of plenty the humble chapati is just something to mop up the curry gravy, but for millions of people the chapati is the meal and any gravy is a huge bonus. So it is hardly surprising that there are many variations and regional preferences.

flip over as they brown
flip over as they brown

Flat Breads of India


Phulka.

this is a terrific variation; you do however need an open flame. Cook your chapati as usual, but then carefully hold it over the open flame until it puffs up completely . Stack them and eat immediately.

Pooris

This is one of my favourites and reminds me of a great holiday in Kerala southern India. I used to go for my breakfast to a sweet centre in Bradford that made great pooris with chickpea curry.

Make your usual chapatis and then carefully place them in a deep fryer or deep frying pan, but make sure there is sufficient oil to cover the chapati.

Parathas

Make your usual chapati mix, but you can mix in chopped mint leaves, or paprika, whatever takes your fancy. I roll out my chapati and then spread with soft butter, fold the dough over twice and roll out again. This can be repeated for a really rich paratha.

Add some butter to your pan or tawa and heat, place your dough on the pan cook a few minutes, brush with butter and turn it over, remove when cooked.

To make a stuffed paratha, roll out the dough and place cooked mince meat, fish, or cooked vegetables in the middle, next fold the dough and roll out again.

This makes a complete meal rather than just an accompaniment to a curry.

fast food Indian style

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Cook Time

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 6-8 chapaties

Tony's 1st published book

Guilty of Honour
Guilty of Honour

Young Ben Stone is fleeing for his life over the bleak Yorkshire Moors. From being a child, he has been besotted by the local landowner’s daughter Ruth, but after her wicked brother is accidentally killed, Ben fears that he will be blamed. Ruth convinces him he should go on the run; otherwise, her father who is also the local magistrate will probably have him hanged for murder.

Trying to keep out of the way of the law, he runs into a wandering band of thieves. They take him as a prisoner and he is forced to endure a desperate winter in their secret lair. When he does escape their clutches, his fortune changes, and he is taken in by a friendly parson. The parson runs a small orphanage in Cartmel, where Ben recovers his health and spirits.

A brief spell working at a chandler’s shop in Barrow in Furness is rudely interrupted when Ben is pressed into the navy. The year is 1801 and the Royal Navy is desperate for men.

Despite this poor start, Ben takes to life in the navy, and quickly gains promotion. He is set for a promising career, when his past returns to haunt him, in the person of Ruth the landowner’s daughter, who has been married off to the new Governor of Jamaica and needs transporting out to the Caribbean on Ben’s ship. During the voyage, Ruth takes the opportunity to revive Ben’s feelings for her.

When he returns to England, he is confronted by his past and has to face a court-martial over the death of Ruth’s brother. Can he clear his name? What part will Lady Ruth play in his future? Ben is in for many varied adventures before his life is settled.

 

Swashbuckling Adventure

Sea Dog's Revenge
Sea Dog's Revenge

Thomas Sladdin is from a simple yeoman family background, but as a child, his family is evicted by bloody Queen Mary’s henchmen, and he is forced to take cover with a family friend: Sir Francis Drake. Under Drake’s guidance, Thomas learns the art of navigation and sails around the world with Drake. Thomas is ambitious and driven on by the need to reclaim his family’s lands and fortune. After sailing with Drake for several years, he is able to afford his own ship and begins to build a reputation as an adventurer and to enhance his fortune by plundering the Spanish Main.

However in 1587, Protestant England is on the brink of disaster; it is financially bankrupt and under threat of invasion from Spain. King Philip of Spain who is determined to add England to his empire, and restore it to Catholicism is prepared to go to any lengths to subdue his enemy.

The greatest legacy Henry VIII left his heirs was a modern and strong navy. Elizabeth Tudor, armed with this weapon prayed that she could thwart Philip’s ambitions. In particular, she relied on a band of sea captains that she nicknamed her ‘Sea Dogs’.

Thomas Sladdin was now one of those captains; a privateer and adventurer, fiercely loyal to Elizabeth and the English cause, and he was prepared to put his life on the line to safeguard his country and Queen.

However, there were a number of surprises waiting for Thomas, and he could not help being taken aback by the twists and turns his life was to take, because he had not anticipated becoming part of Sir Francis Walsingham’s spy network, or meeting the mysterious and beautiful Princess Sabina of Portugal.

 

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Comments 4 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Hi, Tony

Love chapatis and you communicate very well just how easy they actually are to make. I honestly don't know why so many people believe them to be complicated. Hopefully, people who read this will take your advice and find out for themselves just how simple it is to prepare this authentic Indian classic foodstuff at home.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 5 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Thanks Gordon

yes I don't find them a problem and you can add lots of things to them to make them more interesting, herbs and spices.

cheers

Tony


Derdriu 4 years ago

Tony, What an appetizing and attractive but hugely practical recipe! In particular, I like the way you explain the parathas, phulka and pooris variations on the chapati. Also, it's incredible how fast the chapati-maker goes, just as was the case with the world's amazingly fast pizza maker.

Thank you for sharing, voted up + all.

Respectfully, Derdriu


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Derdriu

chapaties, and pooris are two of my favourite breads.

One time when I was in India I had a favourite breakfast place. The cafe had a small lagoon and it was possible to sit on a balcony and overhang the water. There were egrets and waders on the far bank, but what I loved was; near where I sat was a small twiggy thing stuck out of the water which was the favourite perch of a kingfisher. It used to join me for breakfast, it with a small fish from the lagoon and myself with a chickpea curry and pooris. What a breakfast that was.

thank you.

Tony

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