The BBBabes' January 2015 project was to make chapatis. For the project, we used Madhur Jaffrey's North American flour recommendation (part all-purpose, part whole wheat flour) to make them. However, chapatis are traditionally made with atta, the Indian word for finely milled whole wheat flour. It turns out that atta is readily available at several stores in Toronto, so we decided to give it a try. We learned that there's a good reason that Indians prefer to use atta when making chapatis.
Aashirvaad atta, from India, is 100% whole wheat with zero additives (ie: chemical preservatives) and is "made from the choicest grains - heavy on the palm, golden amber in color and hard in bite". We aren't the only ones fascinated by the flour bag....
The flour is very finely milled and in texture, is reminiscent of corn starch.
Once water is mixed in, the dough almost immediately appears to be smooth. But for good chapatis, the gluten has to be developed; the dough must be kneaded for about 10 minutes and then formed into a ball and left in a covered bowl to rest for at least 30 minutes. Once it has rested, it is divided evenly and the chapatis are rolled out. I was amazed that no flour was required on the board. The dough refused to stick!
Chapatis are cooked in no time: put disc on hot tava for the first part of cooking, then directly on a rack over top of the burner to puff up. (Please see more photos and information, including a how-to video, about making BBB January 2015 chapatis.)
We served the chapatis with palak made with spinach. The chapatis were amazingly soft. But almost immediately after being removed from the lidded pot where they were being kept warm, they hardened to become like delicate crackers. They were delicious but the cracker quality was disappointing. (Please see more photos and information about palak.)
A couple of nights later, we tried again. This time, I added a little more water to the dough - enough so that the dough DID want to stick when I was rolling it out. The chapatis were perfect! Once again, they were amazingly soft and stayed amazingly soft throughout dinner. The palak that was made with rapini was equally wonderful. Oven roasted sweet potato was a delicious extra to go with fabulous curry. Yes indeed, we dined like kings. (Please see more photos and information about palak made with rapini.)