EAST AFRICAN CHAPATI/PARATHA
SERVINGS: Makes 10-12 Parathas/Chapatis
Kenyan chapati is actually an (Indian) 'paratha' but called chapati in East Africa. A Paratha is an unleavened flat bread (originating from Indian subcontinent) that can be eaten with any meat or vegetable dish.
Serve it to 'mop' any wet sauces like curries, pulses, and stews or eat on its own at any time of the day. Usually served for breakfast with chai/tea or yogurt. The best chapati (Kenyan version) has to be soft and flaky (referred to as 'chapati za mnyambuko' OR 'chapati za ngozi'). Below is our chapati, cooked the East African way, Kenyan style. Try the recipe to get the perfect chapati, each and every time!
HOW TO COOK KENYAN CHAPATI
Chapati is a very easy flat bread to make, but as any beginner can say, also the most hardest to get right! I have therefore gone into specific one to one detailed steps so that you can be assured to get the best soft layered chapati, each and every time!
STEP 1: MAKING THE DOUGH
You can use a kneading machine to make the chapati dough. Make sure you use the dough hook/attachment.
STEP 2: DIVIDING THE DOUGH
STEP 3: FOLDING THE CHAPATI/TABAKI
CREATING THE LAYERS OF THE PARATHA/CHAPATI/TABAKI
Work one ball at a time.
STEP 4: HOW TO COOK EAST AFRICAN CHAPATI
When you are ready to cook, lightly dust your rolling surface with flour and roll each individual ball into a circle again( about 8inch).
Cook one chapati at a time.
Cook all the balls like this, pile each cooked chapati on top of the others on the plate, and cover. The chapatis are ready to be served at this stage. Enjoy!
STEP 5: CRUSHING THE CHAPATI/PARATHA.
'CRUSHING' THE CHAPATIS
This is an optional step and can be left out. You dont have to do it, but you will be glad you did! Because it really makes the chapati fluffy and flaky, also known as the soft layered chapati!
It is done at the end, once all the chapatis are cooked.
It is a process of gently 'crunching' the chapati to make them flakier.
So this is how we do it...Be careful though, the chapati are still hot.
MORE INFORMATION & TIPS
1) These African chapatis can be frozen fully cooked for upto a month.
After cooking, make sure they are cooled down completely before storing them in a freezer.
Use a suitable freezer safe container that has a tight lid( to prevent the chapatis absorbing smells from other items in the freezer). To soften again, microwave for 1-2 minutes in your microwave, depending on the power of your microwave. Please make sure the food is pipping hot.
Make sure it has cooled down before eating as it will be is pipping hot from the microwave. DO NOT REFREEZE AFTER THAWING.
2) VARIATIONS (These are optional ingredients in addition to the basic ingredients above. They are not essential and you can do without them. However, when added they make the chapati more soft and fluffy. These can be added in the Step one: MAKING THE DOUGH, with the basic ingredients).
When you become more confident and quick in rolling your chapatis, you can roll each ball in between cooking the subsequent ball. i.e while one is cooking, you roll the next one.
4) If you are going to be cooking chapati regularly, invest in a heavy bottomed frying pan/skillet, preferably a cast iron type. The heavier the pan, the better the results as a heavy bottomed pan retains more heat and cooks the chapati evenly without burning too quick.
5) Did you know? Paratha and chapati are different! Paratha is richer, flakier and more filling than the basic version-Chapati. Paratha requires more cooking steps hence require a longer preparation time compared to chapati. However, in East Africa, the paratha is referred to as the chapati! Also known as 'CHAPPO' (Plural- Chappos) in the Nairobi slang kinda way!)