As our kids were growing up, our Sunday’s were always spent with the Grandparents. We would have lunch at one parents house and dinner at the other. This would rotate every Sunday, I don’t know how we all didn’t end up the size of townhouses as both grandma’s were good cooks. It was a great way for my siblings to see each other and our aging parents, but also for the kids to spend time getting to know their Grandparents with the bonus being they also got time to spend with their cousins. Neither Rain, snow, sleet nor hail, would keep us from this tradition.

When mum’s health started to deteriorate, dad became her sous chef and became quite effective at it. Under mum’s guidance (okay sometimes – ahem, loud directions), he learned to make the food we grew up with. There was no difference in taste, you knew that although mum wasn’t actually stirring or baking it, her direction was always front and center. I think this came from her background as a Teacher. So, that’s the story behind how mum taught dad how to make the best chapatis, so the grandkids came to always say “Grandpa makes the best chapatis”.

I tried to make these in vain for many years and finally gave up. They could either pass for frisbees or cardboard. But a couple of weeks ago, determined not to be beaten by this chapati-phobia, I bought some Atta flour (I finally had to throw out the barely used bag of Atta flour sitting at the back of my freezer for the last 10 years), and made some chapatis. Although mum wasn’t there to help me, dad was. His guidance in frying technique was very helpful, and at 92, he can still roll a pretty round circle (putting me to shame actually). Here’s the recipe (really from the package of Atta flour). Sorry no pictures this time, too intensely focused on getting them right.  But I will post pictures next time I make them.

  • 2 cups Atta Flour
  • 3/4 cups water (more or less – enough to make a soft, not sticky dough)
  • Salt
  • 2 tblsps Vegetable Oil for the dough
  • 2 tblsps Vegetable Oil for the pan
  • 2 tblsp’s Butter melted with 2 tblsp’s Olive Oil (for brushing the cooked chapatis) – referred to as BOO from this point on

Mix the flour and salt together. Mix the oil and water together.

Slowly add the liquid to the flour mix forming a ball of dough.

Knead for about 5 – 8 minutes, you need a soft dough, that isn’t sticky so use additional flour if you need to when kneading, conversely add more water if your dough is too stiff.

Cover the dough and let it rest (the package says you can keep it in the fridge for a number of days, mine sat on the counter for about 2 hours.

After resting, roll the ball into a log shape, divide into even sized pieces – about 14.

There are two ways I know of to roll chapatis. One is to form a ball and roll it flat using a rolling pin. The other is to take the individual piece, roll it “snake style” like when you were a kid with plasticene, and then roll it into a circle flattening out slightly as you go. I prefer the snake style as my chapatis remain relatively round. Both methods require you to know how to use a rolling pin. I also found my French Rolling pin (tapered ends) worked better than my marble one, this is purely preference.

Roll the chapatis into a 6″ or 15 cm disc, and about 3/16″ or 2 mm thick.

Keep the chapatis covered as you make them. Remember to flour lightly in between each chapati if overlapping so they don’t stick together. It’s a soft dough so they will stick.
Once all the dough is used up heat up your non stick frying pan. Grease the pan lightly with the vegetable oil, it should sizzle but not smoke (if it’s smoking, turn the heat down).

Put the chapati onto the oiled surface, brush the top with the BOO mixture, count to 10 and flip it over, brush lightly again with BOO – keep flipping every 10 seconds. You will know it is cooking in the middle as it puffs up (note, I could never get mine to puff up like a pillow, more like the surface of the moon – some puffs, some craters, but yet, very tasty). To increase the puffing, rub your spatula lightly over the surface. Remove when chapatis are browned. (Shouldn’t take more than 1 minute each – again this varies with the heat of your stove. If unsure try the first one fried before moving on to the next one).

Once cooked transfer to a plate, brush the surface with BOO, cover with a clean dry towel.

Continue until all are done – as always – enjoy!