375 g/12 oz/3 cups atta flour or roti flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup lukewarm water
Put flour in a large mixing bowl, setting aside about half a cup for
rolling chapatis. Stir salt through the flour, then add ghee or oil and
rub in with fingertips, as though making pastry. Add the measured water
all at once, moisten all the flour and mix to a firm dough. Knead dough
for at least 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Since
there is no leavening agent in these breads, kneading is used to
develop lightness. Gather dough into a ball, put into a small bowl and
cover tightly with plastic food wrap. Leave for 1 hour or longer. This
resting period is also vital for making light, tender breads.
Divide dough into balls of even size, about as big as a large walnut or small egg. Roll each out on a lightly floured board, lightly dusting board and rolling pin with reserved flour and keeping the shape perfectly round if possible. Roll out the chapatis to be cooked, and when starting to cook them, start with those which were rolled first, since the short rest between rolling and cooking makes the chapatis lighter.
Heat a tawa, griddle or heavy frying pan, put the first chapati on the hot pan and leave for 1 minute on medium heat. Turn it over and place second side down. After a further minute, press lightly around the edges of the chapati with a folded tea towel to encourage the disc of bread to puff up and bubble. Do not overcook or the chapatis will become crisp and dry instead of pliable and tender. Wrap the cooked chapatis in a tea towel. Serve warm with butter, curry or other dishes.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998).