How to Make Round Chapatis

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Chapatis--also called roti and paratha, depending on regional variation--are staple breads in India. They're simple to make, delicious and can be as nutritious as you like, depending on what you put in them. The dough is pliable and easy to work with. However, the preferred shape for chapatis is round--something that can be difficult when you're first trying to make them.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups wheat or all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Melted butter or ghee (clarified butter; optional)
  • Rolling pin
  • Rolling pin rings (optional)
  • Large flat griddle (known as a tawa) or large frying pan
  • Combine flour, salt and water in a bowl. Stir until it becomes difficult. Oil your hands.

  • Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do not overknead. If the dough feels tight, cover it and allow it to rest, then come back to it in a few minutes.

  • Divide the dough into 10 balls of roughly equal size. Set them aside, covered, for two minutes.

  • Sprinkle flour over your work surface and roll out each ball to roughly 6 inches in diameter. Make sure to roll from the middle of the dough. If you have rolling pin rings, use them. Part of the reason rolling round chapatis can be difficult is due to the dough being rolled unevenly. Properly used rolling pin rings can help to alleviate this problem. Don't be discouraged if you don't roll perfect rounds on your first try. Just keep trying and you'll get it right.

  • Heat your griddle or pan over medium-high heat and brush it with vegetable oil. Test your pan's temperature by flicking a few drops of water across the surface. When they skitter, your pan is hot enough for your first chapati.

  • Put the chapati in the pan carefully. When it starts to turn brown, flip it. Each chapati should only take a minute or two to cook.

  • Put the cooked chapati on a plate. Cover it to keep it warm while you cook the remaining chapatis. Brush them with melted butter or ghee before serving.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't flip the chapatis when you're rolling them out. The dough will be very fragile after you've rolled it out. Be careful when moving it from your work surface to the pan. Watch the chapatis closely and be prepared to adjust your heat as you cook. Experiment by adding small amounts of seasonings or seeds to your chapatis. Try Madras curry powder, fenugreek seeds, sesame seeds, turmeric and garlic.

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  • Photo Credit Bryan
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