Indian Breakaway

No, not a summary of the enormously successful partition of India, nor the reversal of the Indian subcontinental  tectonic plate drift, but possibly the first time I have made chapati.

For the sake of ease, we took away some keema (beef mince and peas) and chickpeas on our camping trip. They were cooked by Shona as per Madhur Jaffrey’s classic, Invitation to Indian Cooking, which is about as old as me, a fine vintage.

We had a chopfest at the sophisticated campsite restaurant instead of Indian delights, so having made a 450km round trip it needed eaten or chucked.

Shockingly I didn’t look up her chapati recipe, but followed ‘Jimmy’ on the packet of the Atta flour.

  • 1 cup of Atta flour, and
  • water to make into a dough.

OK, this isn’t exactly it, but it’ll do, and I’m tired.

Mix until it comes together in loose bundles. Leave to rest 10 mins. Knead for a minute or so, and leave again. When it is smooth and becoming elastic, chop into six small balls. Roll these out into flat circles. This is easier said than done.

I’ve seen my pal Jules’ Pakistani mum-in-law do this with the flick of a wrist. Easy.

I squashed a lightly floured ball down with the base of my hand, then used my lovely Huon pine rolling pin to roll out from the centre to the edge in quick strokes, moving the dough around a few of hours (on a clock) each time until 6-7″ across.

I have a cast iron griddle which I heated until the bread pretty much instantly cooked on one side. I found if you turned it as soon as you had a couple of charred craters or starts bubbling, that the thing would puff up wonderfully when you do the 2nd side. Magic.

I imagine you could deep fry these*……

Anyway, the ‘break away’ was cooking eggs on top of the keema, so the meat stuck to the base of the half fried/ poached eggs. This went down rather well with the beasts who devoured an almighty helping. The chapati made very fine vessels for the chick peas (Maseladar- heavy on the garam masala, yum).

Washed down with an incongruous Timothy Taylors, this was the end of a rather fine day.

*of course, having looked in the ‘Invitation’ this is of course a ‘poori’.

And the chapati method she describes is pleasingly close to what I ended up doing. High five to me.


About willeats1

Primarily gastronomic explorer. Occasional father, emergency physician and mountain biker. View all posts by willeats1

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