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What is Chapati?

The humble chapati is a nutritious and much-loved form of unleavened bread that is part of the staple diet of India and found in many other cultures around the world. The ingredient mix couldn't be simpler, with a combination of wholewheat flour, water, and salt (and often oil or ghee.)

These round breads are not usually larger than 15cm-18cm in diameter and are partially cooked in a special griddle and then puffed up over a fire. Once cooked, the chapati is often spread with butter or ghee.

Chapati flatbreads are an excellent accompaniment to lovely curries, and their bland flavor balances out spicy Indian cuisine. Although traditional chapatis are challenging to replicate, you can make a tasty version yourself in your kitchen using a skillet.

The History of Chapati

Chapati bread is a simple wholewheat flour unleavened bread with a history stretching back thousands of years. Archeologists found carbonized grains similar to the wheat still used today in India in excavations at Mohenjo-Daro. The ancient Indus Valley site is once housed a major city and was built around 2500BCE.

Chapatis are aslo known as rotis and are a staple dish of the Indian subcontinent. The humble roti has spread throughout the world, and each culture has made this flatbread its own. A simple dough made of wholewheat flour and warm water, the chapati ids are a great accompaniment to the characteristically spicy dishes of India.

Chapati is the Indian word for 'flat' or 'slap," which refers to the manner in which the roti is prepared. The dough is slapped and shaped between wetted hands and then cooked on a flat skillet called a Tava or roasted on an open flame.

Ingredients in Chapati

Traditional Indian chapati is made with a wholewheat flour called atta which has a naturally high gluten content making them ideal for making bread. Atta flour has a more delicate texture than our Western versions of wholewheat flour.

Although the traditional recipe does not call for oil or ghee, many use this Indian clarified butter to make a richer and more filing chapati.

Chapati ingredients are typically:

  • Wholewheat flour or atta
  • Salt
  • Oil or ghee.

Chapati Nutritional Information

Nutritionix rates one medium chapati as being 120 calories and 18 carbs. The average fat content in a chapati is relatively low at 3.7g of fat, of which 1.3g is saturated fat.

Obviously, the modest chapati is not the ideal dieter's choice. Still, the high iron content 0f 4.9% of an average daily value and the high fiber content of a whopping 16% of your daily needs make it somewhat healthier than other breeds.

The chapati also has a 0% cholesterol rating which is a bonus.

How to Make Chapatis

There is an art in making such a seemingly simple bread, and in Indian culture, bakers usually use a special mixing tool called a parat, a large flat plate traditionally made of brass or steel.

Chapatis are cooked on a special griddle called a tava, a type of metal pan of which bakers use the convex side to bake their flatbreads.

You can make your own version at home by mixing a dough of wholewheat flour and water and a dash of salt. You then add a dash of oil poured into several holes in the dough.

You then leave the dough to develop its gluten for an hour or so.

Then all you have left to do is knead your dough until all the dough is incorporated and section into several balls.

Roll out each individual ball, flatten it into discs between your hands, and then roll into the required shape. Brush with oil and bake each side on a non-stick skillet until they are browned and cooked through.

Chapati Recipes

Indian chapatis traveled far as people migrated, traded, and colonized the Indian territories, and many nations embraced their own version of a chapati. Besides the traditional chapati, you may explore several other versions of this tasty flatbread.

  • Mullangi or radish chapati has grated radish and turmeric in its dough.
  • Paneer chapatis are delicious flatbreads with Indian cottage cheese called paneer grated into the dough.
  • Vegetable chapatis hold an assortment of vegetables such as potato peas and fenugreek and are then sauteed in marsala gravy.
  • Aloo paratha is a form of chapati stuffed with boiled potatoes and onion.

Chapati FAQ's

What is a chapati?

Chapati is a type of unleavened flatbread that is popular in South Asia. It is made from wheat flour, water and salt, and cooked on a hot griddle or pan.

How do you make chapati?

To make chapati, the dough is first prepared by mixing wheat flour, water and salt. Then, it is flattened into a disc shape and cooked on a hot griddle or pan until it is crispy and golden brown.

What can I eat chapati with?

Chapatis are usually eaten with curries or other dishes, but can also be eaten plain with just a little bit of ghee or butter.

Where does chapati come from?

Chapati is thought to have originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is a popular bread in countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

How many calories are in a chapati?

A chapati generally has around 70-80 calories.

Is chapati gluten free?

No, chapati is not gluten free as it is made from wheat flour. However, there are now many brands that offer gluten free chapatis for those who are unable to eat gluten.

What is the difference between a roti and a chapati?

Roti and chapati are both types of unleavened flatbreads that originate from the Indian subcontinent. The main difference is that rotis are made with whole wheat flour, while chapatis are made with maida flour, which is a type of white flour.

Can I freeze chapati?

Yes, you can freeze chapati. Just wrap them tightly in cling film or aluminium foil and place them in the freezer. They will stay fresh for up to 2 months.

How do I reheat chapati?

There are several ways to reheat chapati. You can either place them in the microwave for a few seconds, or heat them up on a hot griddle or pan until they are warm throughout.

How long does chapati last?

Chapatis will last for 2-3 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

What is chapati made of?

Chapatis are made from wheat flour, water and salt.

Is chapati healthy?

Yes, chapati is a healthy bread option as it is low in calories and fat. It is also a good source of protein and fibre.

How many carbs are in chapati?

There are around 15 grams of carbohydrates in one chapati.

Can diabetics eat chapati?

Yes, diabetics can eat chapati as it has a low glycemic index which means it won't spike blood sugar levels. However, it is always important to speak with a doctor or dietitian before making any major changes to your diet.

Is chapati fattening?

No, chapati is not fattening as it is low in calories and fat.

What are the benefits of eating chapati?

Some of the benefits of eating chapati include: it is low in calories and fat, it is a good source of protein and fibre, it has a low glycemic index, and it is easy to digest.

Are chapatis vegan?

Yes, chapatis are vegan as they do not contain any animal products.

What is the best flour for chapatis?

The best flour for chapatis is Maida flour, which is a type of white flour.

Can I make chapati without oil?

Yes, you can make chapati without oil. Just use water to knead the dough and cook the chapatis on a dry griddle or pan.

Do I need a special pan to make chapati?

No, you don't need a special pan to make chapatis. Any flat surface will work, such as a griddle or frying pan.

Shane Jones

About Me

Hi, I'm Shane the person behind bakesomebread.com

I've been baking bread for about 10 years now and ever since mastering sourdough bread in 2020 I've decided to branch out into discovering every type of bread imaginable.

This website will document all of those bread types along with recipes as and when I've made them.

If you're a pizza fan check out my other site Make Some Pizza