Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Indian Flavor - Chappati

I purchased this 25lb bag of Chappati flour quite a while ago when I found it at COSTCO.     I did not read what the label said, but I thought this maybe the secret ingredient to make my favorite NAAN.    I can eat 2, 3, 5 NAAN before I even start eating the main dish.    NAAN is such a great comfort food.   But the sack of flour sat there for many months.    My kitchen lab project wondered off to do all other things, except this bag of Chappati flour.    Then, during my Mediterranean food adventure in my class, the flat bread idea starts to warm up again.    After doing some research and learning how this Chappati flour is used for, I got my hands in making this new simple bread called Chapati.      The ingredients are so simple.   Chappati flour and water with a bit of salt.       
 The rest is all in the kneading and rolling technique.    With some gods' interventions, the thin flat dough would puff up - separating itself from the bottom and top layer as though I have intentionally rolled two pieces of doughs together.   

It is a perfect accompaniment to serve with a bowl of chicken curry, etc.    Unfortunately, I did not have anything to dip it into.     Remembering one of my favorite old movie "Thief of Baghdad" and my favorite actor - SABU eating one of this hot stolen bread or the pancake with honey, I did the same - brushed it with clarified butter and honey from the local bee farm - orange blossom honey.  
   Cooking it was a bit time consuming as I did not have the particular flat iron pan to make it in.    I used my iron skillet, instead of the tawa.   As soon as the dough starts to show some tiny bubbles, it's a sign that the dough has become a bit stiffer - within 30 seconds -  I transferred it directly over the gas flame.     

The heat builds up steam within the dough and starts to separate itself from each other and balloons up.     What a fun to watch them puff up like a inflated hot air balloon.     Out of the 24 chapati, I managed to have one chapati that puffed up pretty much all the way around.    

If I find a burnt hole with steam escaping, I placed the flat surface of a wooden spatula or large spoon with long handle and place it over the hole.    Immediately the steam distributed to the other part of the dough and started to lift the rest.     I've seen other bloggers with a perfect spherically risen chapati.    The key is truly as many  bloggers pointed out is to roll the dough out completely flat and evenly  -- "EVENLY" is very important.     You see what a difference it makes when the dough is rolled out evenly or unevenly.                              (Unevenly rolled dough)

                                       (Thin and evenly rolled out dough)
Serve it as soon as it comes off the stove.   

I noticed, it would change to 'cracker' like crumb when it cools and bit tough to bite into --- this maybe because I am not doing it right?  or the dough mixture needed bit more liquid. . . . . . . .back to the kitchen lab and test some more.    The next time, I will try to make the Poori - fried bread. 

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