Nelly's Chapatti Grilled Roasted Spicy Crab
Friday, 11 November 2016 17:28

Nelly's Chapatti Featured

The following recipes were written with the help of my friend Nelly. After her mother passed away in 2015, Nelly took over her job as a cook/cleaner in Kisumu, Kenya. She is an excellent cook and hopes to someday start her own restaurant.

 
Chapatti is perhaps my favorite Kenyan food. These circular flat-breads are often served as a side with lentils, beans or curry and can be used as a utensil to scoop up soupy main courses. Not to be confused with the Indian chapatti, which can be a bit thin and dry, Kenyan chapatti is a thick and chewy bit-of-heaven.

(makes 6-7 chapattis)
 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups corn oil (vegetable oil is also acceptable)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbs lukewarm water 

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and oil and mix until incorporated.
  2. Slowly add the warm water (¼ cup at a time) to the flour mixture as you knead by hand. This can be done by rotating the boil and alternately pressing and flipping the dough. Continue for 3-4 minutes until the dough is uniform and soft, but not too sticky.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and continue to knead on a lightly floured clean surface for 4 more minutes.
  4. Form dough into a ball and flatten slightly. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a large circle until it is about 1/8 inch thick and 12 inches in diameter. Dust the roller and dough with flour throughout to prevent the dough from sticking.
  5. Lightly brush 1 Tbs of oil over the flattened dough and, with a pizza cutter or large knife, cut it into 1 ½ inch strips.
  6. Roll-up each strip of dough width-wise until they resemble a bun and flatten them slightly on top. Each bun will be the dough for a single chapatti.
  7. Heat a large non-stick skillet on the stove over medium heat. With rolling pin, roll out a ball of dough into a circle until it is very thin and 10 inches in diameter.
  8. Place uncooked chapatti on the heated skillet. When the dough starts to bubble (~2 minutes) flip the chapatti and brush the exposed side with oil (about 2 tsps).
  9. After 1 ½ minutes, flip the chapatti and coat the newly exposed side with oil. Flip once more and cook for 30 seconds, or until both sides are lightly browned.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 for the remaining balls of dough, making sure to adjust the heat from the stove to avoid burning.

 


Re-imagining a classic: 4 different variations of Kenyan chapatti

While the plain chapattis are exquisite, here are also some great variations to play around with at your next dinner.

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet on the stove over medium heat. With rolling pin, roll out a ball of dough into a circle until it is very thin and 10 inches in diameter.
  2. Place uncooked chapatti on the heated skillet. When the dough starts to bubble (~2 minutes) flip the chapatti and brush the exposed side with oil (about 2 tsps).
  3. After 1 ½ minutes, flip the chapatti and coat the newly exposed side with oil. Flip once more and cook for 30 seconds, or until both sides are lightly browned.
  4. Repeat steps 7-9 for the remaining balls of dough, making sure to adjust the heat from the stove to avoid burning
    Savory & Sweet Chapatti (My favorite for a side with spicier curry): Add 1 tsp sugar to the flour mixture in Step 1. Continue as directed in steps 2-10.
    Brown Chapatti (A slightly healthier alternative): Replace 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Continue as directed in steps 2-10.
    Carrot Chapatti (for a bit of Vitamin A and a texture that is more moist): Peel and grate a large carrot and add it to the flour mixture in Step 1. You may require slightly less water to reach the desired dough consistency in Step 2.
    Fresh Coriander Chapatti (For a little pizazz): Finely chop ½ cup of fresh coriander leaves and add it to the flour mixture in Step 1. Continue as directed in steps 2-10.
     

Author

Jessica Londeree Saleska

Jess is a lifelong traveler and culinary experimenter.  As you may be able to deduce from her picture, she is not African. However she has a passion for traveling and meeting new people, and feels that the best means to connect with fellow humans is through sharing a meal together. Jess is also a PhD student in Epidemiology at Ohio State University, studying HIV and reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

When she is not conducting her research, Jess is working on starting Kulishana Cookbooks, a social venture that will publish cookbooks containing cuisines from developing countries. The primary mission of this venture is to create a ‘global community’ through cooking that fosters mutual respect across cultures and provides financial support to local women. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the books will support interventions that fight malnutrition within the featured countries.

Note from Jess: Some of the following recipes are for traditional dishes, while others are for dishes that are more of a reflection of the flavors within East African cuisine. All could not have been written without the guidance, creativity and culinary expertise of my friends in Malawi Kenya. I am so grateful for the generosity they expressed with their time and energy as they taught me how to make these dishes, and offered me suggestions in developing my own creations.

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