I have been experimenting with making indian breads over the past few weeks and have discovered a few techniques to making different delicious varities. With a basic dough recipe you can make both chapatti bread (which is a wholemeal flat bread) and layered paratha (which has more flaky texture and oil)
You will need: (makes about 20 chapattis)- I make a batch for two days, the rest i wrap tightly and keep in the fridge.
6 cups chapatti flour
3 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons oil
a hot plate or non-stick pan for cooking
In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together, then add oil and water (first 2 cups and mix well, then add as much as is needed of the third cup to make a sticky dough.) Knead to form a smooth dough adding flour if necessary. The dough should just have enough flour to come together, do not add too much when kneading.
Cover well with a towel or in a plastic bag and allow dough to rest for at least 15 mins. You know it is ready to use when you can handle it without being too sticky. If after 30 mins it is still sticky you may add some more flour, a handful at a time, until it is less sticky.
Resting the dough is really important. Do not skip this step.
Divide into approx lime size pieces and smooth out to form a round ball. Dust it with flour if necesary to make it easier to work with.
Dust your work surface with flour and flatten the ball out either by hand or using a rolling pin. Make sure chapatti is evenly flat.
roll out to about 2 mm thickness. Dust off excess flour and place on a preheated hotplate on medium heat. I use mark 4 out of 6 on my electric stove top. Cook on one side for about 40 seconds then flip over. Some light colouring should be seen. Repeat this.
Get a clean paper towel and press down on the chapatti so it an puff up. Press on the formed airbubble so it can spread throughout. Once fully puffed up and all the rawness is gone, it is ready.
To make a layered paratha, add about a tablespoon of oil and spread well on the surface.
Make a slit up to the centre of the dough.
Roll the dough over it self, stretching as you roll, untill you have a long roll.
Twist this roll to form a coil and tuck in one of the loose ends under this coil.
Roll out again to form a circle.