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Origin of Chapati
The word chapat means “slap” or “flat,” and it refers to the traditional method of forming rounds of thin dough by slapping it between wetted palms.
It’s an unleavened flatbread that’s popular in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Caribbean. They are made with whole-wheat flour water, oil, and salt in a mixing utensil called a parat and cooked on a Tava.
It is a popular dish in the Indian subcontinent and among Indian expatriates around the world. Immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, particularly Indian merchants, introduced chapatis to other parts of the world, particularly Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Caribbean islands.
Is Chapati Good For Your Health?
Because of their high fiber content, they are a great food for your digestive health. Constipation and other digestive problems can be avoided or reduced by eating a high-fiber diet. Even if you don’t have indigestion, your body requires fiber to remain healthy.
Is Chapati Good For Weight Loss?
One or two of this dish might give you around 75-300 kcal each. This amount of calories should not bother your weight loss journey, and it should be okay for weight loss.
But if you only eat the one made with wheat then you should consider chapatis made with oats, barley, millet. These grains are way healthier than wheat.
The East African Chapati is very similar to the Indian Paratha (one of the most popular unleavened flatbreads in India). However, culture might have played its role in the slight difference in its mode of preparation compared to the Indian variety.
It’s all about techniques when making it. In the recipe below, you will learn the exact techniques to make your homemade chapati bread soft, light, puffy, airy, and fluffy.
Chapati Side Dish
You can eat as it is, with some butter (my favorite), or with chutney or chicken biryani.
It’s also great to pair this dish with spicy foods or just to have with some refreshing drinks on a hot day. The base of this refreshing dish is cucumber, fresh mint, and Greek yogurt.
East African Chapati Recipe
- 3 cups white flour, plus a bit extra to dust the counter top
- 0.5 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup luke-warm water
- vegetable oil
- Combine the flour, salt and 2 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. You can add 0.5 tsp of sugar if you want to sweeten it a bit.
- Add water slowly over time and mix with your hands until well combined. If the dough is too wet or too dry, add a bit more water or flour as needed.
- Knead for 10 minutes the dough should not stick to the bowl, otherwise add a bit more flour. Leave the dough to rest for 1hr, covered with a damp cloth.
- Preheat a large frying pan/ skillet and brush the surface with 1 tablespoon of oil. Divide the dough into 10 equal balls.
- Dust work surface with flour and flatten the balls slightly between the palms of your hands , then place one onto a floured board and roll into large flat and round very thin sheets.
- Lay the rolled sheet on the griddle or pan and cook for about 30-60 seconds or until the surface is bubbling. Turn it over with tongs and cook the other side for 30 seconds or until brown spots appear. Repeat with the remaining balls flouring the board when necessary.
- Stack the cooked chapatis on a warm plate and cover with a plate or foil to keep them warm.