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Unleavened vegan stove top Indian flat bread. We really enjoy this with garlicky hummus and an herb salad. I learned to make it from Manjula on YouTube (http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/). If you have chapati flour and are good with a rolling pin, you can whip 4 of these out 15-20 minutes or less because they do not have to rise or rest. With regular flours, 4 will take an hour including 1/2 hour resting time. I am not sure the exact origin because so many peoples claim them as their own. I have seen many good ideas for adding herbs/spices to these on this website that I will be trying... Yummm!
- Heat iron skillet or no-stick skillet on medium flame.
- Sift flour and salt into bowl. (If no sifter, fluff with fork.).
- With a wooden spoon, stir in oil, if using, and 1/4 C water, continue to slowly add water until enough water to form a ball.****.
- Turn onto floured surface. Knead for 20 strokes or until dough is elastic. Use only enough flour to keep dough from sticking.
- Divide dough into 4 golf-ball sized balls.
- Roll each in flour.
- With a rolling pin, roll out one ball into about an 8" thin circle. Keep a pile of flour beside you and dust the dough often but only enough to keep it from sticking.
- When skillet is hot enough to immediately sizzle dry a drop of water, put chapati on.
- When bubbles form on top of chapati (1-3 minutes), look at bottom. If it has a few brown spots, flip it over.
- The second side takes much less time, and when it has a few brown spots, remove the pan from the fire and toss chapati directly on the burner (With a gas stove--leave roti in pan and pan on burner, use spatula to massage roti and it will puff up -- Manjula shows how on YouTube). In a few seconds, it will puff up like a balloon. If it doesn't, the dough was not kneaded/rested long enough or there was too much flour worked inches.
- Remove from heat to plate. (Some people slap the air out first.).
- Brush with oil, if desired, to keep soft.
- Cover with towel to keep warm.
- Repeat with next ball. The second and later chapatis always seem to cook faster than the first.
- Serve warm.
- By your third batch, you'll be fast enough to roll out the next one while one is cooking!
- *chapati flour available at Indian food markets, chapati flour does not need to rest to come out properly, other flours do need to rest.
- **chapati flour substitute: 1/2 C whole wheat plus 1/2 C enriched white flour or 3/4 C, 1/4 C respectively (my favorite). Or 1 C all purpose white flour. If using this, after kneading, lest rest for 30 minutes in a warm place--or up to an hour if in cool place, until when you press your finger into it, it feels elasticky and springs back a little. Refrigerate now or continue with dividing into balls, etc.
- ***you can also make it up as much as 5 days ahead of time and store refrigerated in a ball wrapped in plastic. It's best to remove it from the fridge an hour or 2 before using, but if not, it'll just be a little more difficult to roll out.
- ****For flatbread beginners: If you get too much water, just add some flour. If you're new to this, as soon as all the flour is gathered in little balls go ahead and put it on a pile of flour on your work surface and if necessary work water into it a little at a time. It will not hurt the dough no matter how much you work with it -- it will only make it better because it activates the gluten which is what makes the layers you should see after cooking the chapati if you tear it apart -- if you do not see these after cooking, the dough was not worked long enough. Other than burning them, these are foolproof enough to always be edible!