As to the origin of Chapati dough, while some agree that it is from the Egyptian Indus Valley civilization about 2500BC, others believe that it was first produced in East Africa and taken to India.
History also has it that Chapati had been a favorite meal to King Akbar in 1556.
Back then, the main occupation in India was agriculture and the people were only able to cultivate wheat and other grains but no other sources of food. So, by cultivating grains in bulk, grinding and mixing them, Chapati originated.
It was a satisfying way of eating their crops as it consists of wheat and other flours. The fact that Chapati was easy to prepare and it is also filling made it became a very important food for travelers.
It was an essential food for them to carry along because it was satisfying and made them travel farther while feeding on less. They could just eat once in a day and be satisfied.
Chapati reached other countries as a result of immigration because as these Indian families migrated to the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries; they took their cuisine with them.
Before long, the cuisine became popular and a lot of people even learned how to make chapatti dough in a food processor
What Is Chapati?
Chapati also called “roti” is a round flat unleavened bread very common in the Indian subcontinent and other emigrants from the Indian subcontinent throughout the world. It is made of whole wheat flour known as “atta”, oil (or ghee) and water.
The dough is divided into smaller balls and rolled into the perfectly-even flat dough.
Then the flattened dough is cooked on top of a forged iron griddle to have warm and toasted chapattis.
Chapatis can also be eaten with vegan and non-vegan curries or dry subzis. They also taste good with desi ghee. They can also be served with curries, dry vegetables, dals, and meats.
The fact that Chapati comes with countless health benefits and is enriched with nutrients makes it an inalienable part of the Indian diet.
Wholewheat chapattis are low in calories and contain a good amount of fiber making it great for people looking to lose weight.
This is because it helps fill you up and satiate you enough to stop frequent hunger pangs between meals.
Making the right chapatti is usually seen as an act that needs constant practice. A specific thickness must be achieved to enable the dough to rise enough to make the upper thin layer which is one of the main properties of the bread.
Because chapatis are popular in India and might be prepared twice daily, it becomes necessary to prepare the dough in bulk to be used for the day.
The common challenge that most women face when preparing Chapati has always been the kneading of the dough. It is usually tough mixing the wheat flour and other ingredients in a bowl with your hands – and you must get it right.
Not only is it tough, but it can also be time-consuming. Now to solve this problem, a food processor can be used. I will take you through the process.
Things You Should Keep in Mind Before Making Chapati
i. Be sure that the motor of the food processor is strong enough to knead the dough. Alternatively, you can check the manual to be sure that the dough can be made with the processor.
ii. Also, find out if the food processor comes with a dough blade. It will have blunt edges but at the same time, it will look identical as your regular chopping blade.
iii. You should have all your ingredients within reach before you start, to prevent running helter-skelter.
iv. To achieve smoother kneading, it is advisable to add more water than needed then you can go ahead to dust some flour on the dough and do the final kneading using your hand.
v. You can only make this recipe with the food processor and not a blender.
vi. This process takes about 10 minutes and it makes dough for about 8 chapatis.
Ingredients Needed to Make the Chapati Dough
i. One and a half cups of whole-wheat flour otherwise known as “atta”.
ii. One cup of warm water.
iii. One and a half teaspoons of salt.
iv. Two teaspoons of oil and ghee (optional).
Although these are the sole ingredients you will need to create a standard chapatti, you can also add a teaspoon of spices if you wish to create a variety of the current simple recipe.
How To Make Chapati Dough
Pour the wheat flour, salt, and ghee (if you are using it) to the bowl of your food processor to blend the ingredients.
After adding these ingredients, close the lid and put on the machine to mix them thoroughly. Start at a low speed to be sure that the salt mixes well with the wheat flour.
Now, while the machine is running, slowly add water through the lid. It is not advisable to add the water at once as it will make the dough a little bit tough to blend the ingredients.
So, make sure you adjust water to the quantity you wish. Though this will depend largely on the quality of the flour and the environmental humidity.
As you keep adding the water, you will notice that the dough will be forming slowly. Add water in batches so that you can control the consistency of the dough. You must be extra careful not to put in a lot of water.
Continue adding water until you have added the complete measurement. At this point, the dough will come together, forming a ball. Now, it is time to knead.
In kneading the dough, add oil or ghee to it and let the food processor work for a moment longer. Note that you can skip adding the ghee if you want to be health-conscious with the Chapati dough you are making.
But one disadvantage you will face is that the chapatis will not be very tasty. If you cannot find any ghee, you can use oil instead. It will not be quite as authentic, but it should do the trick.
Also, adding oil will make the dough softer. If the chapati is hard, it will not puff up. Likewise, be careful so the dough does not get too soft. It will be hard to roll and the chapati will not puff up too. It is important to pay attention and find the right balance such that it is not too soft or too hard.
Another reason why it is necessary you add oil to the dough while kneading is so that the chapati will get brown faster while cooking. You can equally choose to improve the quality by adding some milk or cream.
If after the previous stage, your dough is a bit sticky, you can take it out, knead with your hand and dust with wheat flour. After that, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before going ahead to prepare your chapati. But if the dough is not to be used immediately, you can choose to store it.
After making the chapati dough and you are not using it immediately, the next headache you might face is how to make fresh for a long time.
It is usually a problem keeping the dough fresh for twenty-four hours since this dough is at risk of getting moldy.
There is a possibility that it will turn to grayish-black, wasting all the efforts put in making them. Also, spoilt chapati dough will make your chapati dry, flat and tasteless.
Below are some of the ways you can store your dough to stay fresh longer:
i. You can choose to cover the dough with a cling film or an aluminum foil before refrigerating it or putting it in a container. Also, be sure to cover it completely and there are no air bubbles inside.
ii. Another way you can keep your chapati or roti dough is in an airtight container or a Ziplock bag before placing the dough into the refrigerator.
iii. Again, you can cover the surface of the dough with a thin film of oil before putting it in a container and then refrigerate it.
What this oil does is that it prevents the dough from blackening and drying, keeping it soft and fresh until you are ready to prepare your chapati.
This video explains how to store chapatis in a fridge.
It is not advisable to leave your chapati dough uncovered inside the refrigerator for a long time. It can lead to bacterial growth which will result in food poisoning.
To prevent this, store the dough in good airtight containers and keep it refrigerated always.