Friday, May 23, 2014

Coconut Milk Chapati (Chapati Za Nazi)



Serving Size
: Feeds 4-6 people sufficiently.


Equipment:

-Rolling pin.

-Clean,damp kitchen cloth.

-Large mixing bowl.

-Baking sheet that's been lightly floured, or covered with parchment paper (optional).

-Turner.

-Large frying pan, tawa pan or chapati pan. You can also use a round cast-iron griddle.



Ingredients:

-4 cups all-purpose flour.

-1 cup of flour on a flat plate (you'll need this when rolling out your chapatis).

-1 cup coconut milk (warmed).

-3 tablespoons ghee OR coconut oil for cooking (melted).

-1/2 cup oil (for cooking the chapatis).

-1 teaspoon salt.



Instructions:

-In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.

-Add the warm melted ghee and warm coconut milk gradually as you knead the mixture into a dough (knead for about 20 minutes. This will activate the gluten in the flour, resulting in soft chapatis. The dough should be soft and smooth, but not sticky. If you feel your dough is too stiff, add a tablespoon of warm water to dough at a time until you reach the right consistency.


NOTE: You can use a stand mixer to knead this dough. Just use the hook attachmeant and remember to scrape the sides of the bowl as you go.

-Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth or a bowl cover, and allow it to rest for 25-30 minutes. Please do not skip this step! This step will further help your chapati to be soft.

-Divide the rested dough into 8-10 balls of equal size (depending on how big you like your chapati).


-Lightly dust your clean work surface with some flour. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out the dough to about 1/4 of an inch in thickness and about 8 inches in diameter.


-Using a tablespoon or a pastry brush, smear about a tablespoon of oil (from the 1/2 cup of oil) over the surface of the chapati facing you. Make sure you brush the oil all the way to the edges of the chapati.


-Using your rolling pin, drape the oiled chapati over the rolling pin (ungreased side touching the rolling pin) and carefully move it to the plate with the flour (place it oiled side down on the flour). 


-Gently lift your chapati to shake off any excess flour (only the oiled side is the side that should also be floured).


-Return your chapati to your work surface and using the center of the chapati as a guide, start folding it like you would a paper fan or accordion (starting from the center, going to the edge) then use the palm of your hand to gently press down on the folded half. Repeat this same process with the other half that is unfolded. These little folds will end up being the layers on your chapati when you cook it. In my house, we referred to them as, "pages".


-Now, stand the folded chapati up on its length (to where you can see the folds if you look down on the chapati).


-Starting on one end of the folded chapati, coil it tightly, but gently inwards to resemble the picture below. 


-When you get to the end length of the chapati, lift the tip and push it into the center of the coiled chapati. Keep doing this to the remaining balls of dough. As you make these coiled rounds, place them on a lightly floured surface or baking sheet, cover then with a damp cloth and allow them to rest for another 25-30 minutes.


-Heat your chapati cooking pan over medium heat. TIP: To know that the pan is hot enough to cook on, if you sprinkle some water on the hot pan, the beads of water should dance around the pan until they evaporate. 

-Also, create a double boiler by placing about 3-4 inches of water in a small pan and heating it over medium-low heat. Place a bigger pan with a lid (I used a sauté pan) over the smaller pan. This is where you'll put your chapatis as you cook them, to keep them warm and keep them from drying. Just remember to flip your batch of chapatis every time you add in a newly cooked one, that way they all stay soft and warm.

-On a lightly floured surface, roll out your coiled up dough into a circle, about  8 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch in thickness. Transfer the rolled out dough by draping it over your rolling pin and gently laying it on your pan. Allow the chapati to sit on the pan for 1-1 1/2 minutes until you see golden brown spots appear on the side of the chapati that's touching the pan.


-Using a turner, carefuly flip the chapati over. Now using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush, apply about 1 teaspoon of oil on the surface with the golden brown spots. Make sure to spread the oil around all the way to the edges.


-Flip the chapati over again and oil the other side just like you did the first side (this side should now have light golden brown spots on it). If an air bubble appears on the chapati as you're cooking it, make a small incision at the base of the bubble and use your turner to press out the air. Be careful to avoid this hot air as it can scald. Once both sides of the chapati have the light golden brown markings, carefuly place it in the double boiler you prepared. Continue doing this until you've cooked the whole batch.

-To serve, you can pile the chapatis (in batches that are manageable enough to cut through with a sharp knife) and cut them in half. You can then roll each half into a cone like I did. Alternatively, you can cut them in quarters (make the cut in the shape of a cross) or you can roll them up like a cigar and make a diagonal cut. Whatever look floats your boat. They are best served hot. I served mine up with some stor-fried cabbage, some beef stew and carrot rice. Yuuuuummmmm!!!!! Enjoy!


TIPS:

-For soft chapatis, make sure your oil and coconut milk or water for kneading are hot but not too hot to the point where you can't stand to touch them with your bare hands.

-I've found that the folding method I use here, gives me the best layered chapatis.

-Allow your dough to rest!! This helps your dough "relax" and this ultimately results in soft chapatis.

-To warm your chapatis the next day, you can use the double boiler method again. Just make sure to flip them often so they get warmed up evenly. Alternatively, you can sprinkle them with a little water and heat them up in the microwave on high for 45 seconds-1 min 15 seconds.