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Entered for ZWT. From Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian", this is quintessential Indian bread. Chapatis can be made in all sizes, but Jaffrey likes them small. Serve with beans or vegetables. You may also roll foods inside them as you would a tortilla. Traditionally, chapatis are made without salt. If you prefer, put about 1/2 teaspoon salt into the dry flour. These are best as soon as they are made, but they can be made ahead and kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer. An assistant could form the next chapati while one is cooking to keep the process flowing smoothly. The chapati dough can also be cut into noodles, such as the traditional Dal Dhokli (Pasta in a Split Pea Sauce).
- Put the flour in a bowl.
- Slowly add about 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, just enough to gather the dough together and make a ball.
- Knead the dough well for 10 minutes.
- Make a smooth ball and put it in a bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes. It will turn quite soft.
- Divide into 12 balls. Keep covered while you work with the twelfth.
- Set a cast-iron frying pan or griddle on medium-high heat. Allow it to heat up. Make a small wad with a cloth or paper towel and keep nearby.
- Take a ball of dough and dust it well with flour. Now roll it out into a 5-1/2-inch round on a floured surface. Lift it up and slap it back and forth between your palms to shake off the extra flour.
- DO THE FOLLOWING STEPS FAST:.
- Slap the chapati onto the hot griddle. Let it cook for 45 seconds.
- Turn it over and cook the second side for another 35-45 seconds.
- Turn it over again and cook another 5 to 6 seconds, pushing down on it with the paper wad and rotating it a little with each push. Do this fast; it helps to puff up the chapati.
- Put the cooked chapati on a plate and cover it with a towel or another upturned plate.
- Make all the chapatis this way, making sure to wipe off the cast-iron pan with a paper towel after each one is made. If it takes you a while to roll out the next chapati, turn the heat under the cast-iron pan down to low while you roll it and then turn it up again. (Or have someone else form a chapati while you cook one.).
- Serve immediately.
- These can be made ahead and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer. To reheat them, wrap a whole bundle of them in foil and put them in a medium oven (350F/177C) for 15 minutes. You can also sprinkle a little water on an individual chapati and then either heat it in a microwave oven for 30-45 seconds or slap it onto a hot, lightly greased griddle for a few seconds on each side.