How to Make Perfect African Chapati

Home 9 Baking World Tour 9 How to Make Perfect African Chapati

It is debatable where chapati originate from, but regardless of the origin, those little flaky flatbreads are a perfect accompaniment to a hearty stew.

It was Burundi’s turn in the Baking World Tour and this was the perfect recipe for it. Finding unique breads in eastern, western, and southern African countries is difficult as other starches are more common than wheat-based ones. Although flatbreads like chapati are popular all over the place.

The bread is super simple as it only contains flour, salt, oil, and milk (water can be used instead). The flaky texture is achieved by rolling the dough thin and brushing it with oil, then rolling up, twisting, and rolling out flat again. This may be the simplest and most convenient way to get those nice layers.

I decided to serve a vegetable and bean stew alongside the chapati. Continuing with the theme of simplicity this stew is a one pot deal that takes no more than 40 minutes from placing the pot on the heat to tucking in.

Full of delicious veggies, coconut milk, curry powder, and finished with spinach and a good squeeze of lemon. It will make any vegetarian drool. And it may just convert a few meat eaters too. I for one did not miss the meat in this one. A filling, fresh, tasty stew with a couple of chapati to soak up the juices is a perfect meal in my book.

This recipe is for two portions. To make more simply multiply the amount of ingredients.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.

Ingredients

For the dough

200g (7oz) strong white bread flour

117g (4.1oz) milk or water

4g (0.14oz) salt

10g (0.35oz) vegetable oil

 

For the bean stew –

200g (7oz) cooked beans. I used borlotti beans, but kidney beans are used commonly. You can certainly use any beans you like.

100g (3.5oz) onions, sliced

15g (0.5oz) garlic, sliced

150g (5.3oz) tomato, sliced

100g (3.5oz) cabbage, chopped

300g (10.6oz) coconut milk

150g (5.3oz) potato, diced

2 bay leaves

8g (0.3oz) curry powder

7g (0.25oz) salt

100g (3.5oz) spinach, sliced

Lemon wedges to serve

 

Vegetable oil for layering and cooking the chapati and for cooking the stew.

Method

  1. In a bowl combine the salt, oil, and milk. Mix well to dissolve the salt. Add the flour and mix to a dough. Tip the dough out on your table.
  2. Knead for 7 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape into balls.
  4. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll a dough ball thin. Brush lightly with oil all over. Roll up the dough into a tight roll. Twist it around itself tightly. Tuck the loose end of the dough into the middle of the roll and if none of this made sense watch the video.
  6. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes. You can start making the stew at this point to have everything ready at the same time.
  7. In a medium sized pan on medium-high heat cook the onions and garlic in a little oil for around 5 minutes or until softened and browned. Add the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, cabbage, bay leaves, salt, curry powder, and coconut milk. Basically, everything except the spinach.
  8. Bring up to a simmer, turn the heat down and cook for around 30 minutes. Stir through the spinach once the times is up.
  9. Cook the chapati. Place a non-stick pan on high heat. Roll out the dough until it is nice and thin. The thicker it is the longer it will take to cook.
  10. Place a chapati in the preheated pan. Brush the top with oil all over. Flip the chapati and immediately brush the other side with oil too. Keep flipping the chapati every 20 seconds. They should not take more than 2.5 minutes of cooking.
  11. Cover with cling film as soon as they come out the pan to keep them moist and pliable.

 

Plate up the bean stew, give it a good squeeze of lemon and tuck in with the chapati. And with this we have made something from every country whose name starts with the letters A and B.  

Watch the video here

Understanding the principles of bread making will let you be in complete control every time you make bread. It will reduce the failure rate and turn you into an even more confident home baker.

I highly recommend you check out the Learning page where I have detailed, easy to understand explanations on each step of the bread baking process and the principles behind it.

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