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When I was trying to think of what to make for dinner for Mike and I the night before we left for a recent vacation, I noticed a jar of spicy cashew and cream sauce in the pantry that sounded pretty tasty (which it was, especially with chicken and a few veggies added in).  To go along with it, I gave Mike a choice between rice and homemade bread.  He’s so sweet, at first he said whatever is easier… 

Then he got a pensive, far-off look and asked if I minded making bread.  I laughed, thinking that I’d much rather be making bread than cleaning/packing/doing laundry like I should be doing to get ready…so bread it was! 

When it comes to Indian breads, Mike prefers chapatis but I prefer parathas (excluding naan of course…that’s both of our favorite, but I didn’t have time for that!).  Chapatis are unleaved and taste like fresh flour tortillas.  Parathas are like chapatis, but due to the addition of butter and a little bit of folding (kind-of like making croissants), parathas are flaky and buttery; of course, parathas are also a bit more work to make.  In the end I chose to use chapati dough but add a bit of ghee (clarified butter) as a wink and a nod to parathas.  

Chapatis (Adapted from the Best Ever Indian Cookbook’s recipe for Chapatis; published by Hermes House) 

Makes 8 chapatis 

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons melted ghee (clarified butter), plus more to brush on top once they’re cooked (optional) 

Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Mix with your fingers as you gradually drizzle in the water; once all the water is added, mix in 2 tablespoons melted ghee (if using).  Knead the dough until it’s supple and when poked with a finger the indentation remains, about 5 minutes.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest 20 minutes at room temperature. 

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Use a rolling pin to roll out the pieces 1 at a time.  I like to roll out a piece to a circle about 6 inches in diameter, then I gently lift up the dough (you can use a thin metal spatula if necessary) and very gently stretch it while rotating it, as if I were stretching pizza dough.  Then I put it back onto the countertop and roll it out again, this time to a circle about 8 inches in diameter, and after that it’s ready to cook.  (If you added the ghee to the dough, you shouldn’t need any flour to roll it out; otherwise, use a bit of flour.) 

To cook the chapatis, heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle over high heat; once it’s very hot, turn the heat down to medium-high and add a chapati.  Turn the chapati over when it starts to bubble; cook until lightly browned in spots on the second side, then turn it back over onto the first side and cook a few seconds until the bubbles puff up.  (This entire process for cooking 1 chapati should take about 2 minutes or less; if it’s taking longer, your pan probably isn’t hot enough.)  Repeat this process with the remaining 7 chapatis. 

As the chapatis are cooked, transfer them to a wire rack and lightly brush them with melted ghee (if using).  Cool completely before stacking the chapatis.

To Reheat:  Wrap the chapatis securely in foil and place in a 350F oven until warm, about 10 minutes.

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  1. says

    That’s so sweet for you to ask Mike :) I usually just make whatever’s easiest for me hehe and what I feel like so poor Mr Bao ends up eating sweet muffins and cupcakes when he wants something savoury hehe

    These chapatis look lovely ~ I didn’t know parathas were more buttery because I usually just have naan :D

  2. Annie says

    I can’t believe this recipe only takes THREE ingredients … all in my pantry!

    I typically run away from making anything bread-y, but *this* I will have to try out.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. says

    I’ve never had either (but I have had naan…..mmmm!).
    Thanks for the education–I’m now prepared when I (1) decide to make indian food or (2) go out to an indian restaurant!

  4. says

    Yummy! I’m seriously a carb fiend and I love any kind of flat bread(although naan does win out usually :D) I love that these are 100% whole wheat – definitely trying them some time soon!

  5. says

    I rarely have the patience for even quick flat breads like this on a week night, so they’re often the highlight of ordering takeout. It’s silly when they really are so simple though… And like you, I’d much rather make these than tend to the other chores! ;)

  6. says

    I do love chapatis, but I’ve never had Parathas before! Your description sounds marvelous and I will have to hunt down a recipe. :-)

  7. says

    One of my favorite things to do is heat a tortilla in the microwave and smear it with butter for a snack. Doing it with homemade chapatis would be even better! What a sweet wife you are, I wouldn’t have even offered the bread-lol!

  8. says

    I love all Indian breads pretty equally, and like you I’d rather make bread than pack. In fact…I’d rather do almost anything than pack. :P

    These look so good and I love how easy they are!

  9. says

    Mmmm….love your chapatis. They look perfect to me. But like you, I prefer parathas too. I love the flavour and the layered texture. But agree with you, it’s more work. They are just so good with curry, my favourite way of eating them….mmm. Hope you have a great week. Take care. Mary.

  10. says

    About Indian breads…Naan has certainly been our favourite. However, if rushed to soon run towards vacation…these Chapatis would certainly be the choice bread of the day ;o)
    BTW…my Hubby always tells me to do what’s quicker and easier (also very sweet…however, he appreciates when I push for something greater ;o)

    Ciao for now and have a great week,

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