Indian food questions

I love Indian food, and have made curries and tandoori chicken several times with fairly good success. My main problems seem to involve recreating Indian breads, though! I’ve had the most success with chapatis or pooris, but sometimes they don’t turn out right and I’m not sure why. I had some “chapati” flour from an Indian food market, but that’s all gone–the best breads I’ve made were using that particular flour!

Does anyone know what “chapati” flour is? I’ve tried using all purpose or whole wheat flour, but it just doesn’t work out very well. Anyone have any chapati/poori recipe that they’d be willing to share with me? Or cooking technique? I usually use a griddle and oil, although sometimes I’ve actually made ghee and used that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :slight_smile: I am planning a trip to an Indian market sometime this weekend, so probably will pick up some more chapati flour - I wish I could remember what type of flour it is, but I just ask for chapati flour and they know what I mean.

According to Pat Chapman’s Curry Bible, chupatti flour is ata or plain wholemeal flour. To translate that from British English, I assume it is similar to American whole wheat flour, but probably of a slightly coarser grind. Ask for ata and they should know what you mean.

Chapman’s chupatti-cooking technique must be a bit subtle, because I tried it myself and ended up with uncooked dough in the middle. FTR, he doesn’t recommend oil or ghee at all–he suggests just cooking the chupatti right on the griddle. Don’t ask me how he keeps it from sticking, that was the part I thought was a bit subtle.

Chapatti without ghee? Different strokes…I guess

If the griddle’s hot enough, the chapati’s never stick. Don’t ask me why :smiley:

thanks for the input, though it seems a bit … conflicting. :wink: IIRC, the flour from the Indian market was marked “Atta” - the whole wheat flour from my local grocery, though, doesn’t seem to work as well. Maybe I should try the health food/coop next time I can’t get to the Indian market.

Thanks again. :slight_smile:

Don’t bother trying. The indian breads are cooked at really high temperatures on the side of a tandoor. They just chuck it on the side of the oven and cook it.

Use tortilla (preferably wheat) from people like Old El Paso. Just warm them quickly for a minute or so in hot ghee in a frying pan. They puff up a little and are an able substitute that no-one except a real prick will bother mentioning. If you don’t cook for Indians no-one will know or care.

I should add that I have passed this tip on to Indian and Pakistani friends and they use it.

Akkck apologie’s for the misuse of apostrophe’s :smiley:

Thank you so much don’t ask for the suggestion of using tortillas as a sub for chapatis. While I was unable to find whole wheat ones, the regular flour ones worked just fine. And yes, they did puff up nicely. Thank you again. Now I’ll see if I can persuade the local Safeway to carry whole wheat tortillas–they’re better for you than white flour ones anyways.

One of the Indian cookbooks I have (Julie Sahni, I think) recommends substituting half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour for chapati flour. I’d look it up to make sure, but the cookbook is in storage.

I’ve used this combination and they cooked just fine (cooked dry in a non-stick frying pan and then puffed over the open gas flame.)

Has to do with the breakdown of the fat and subsequent caramelization. If you place a steak in a hot pan or on a grill, it will stick initially; after browning for a period, it will loosen on its own with a little shaking of the pan.

My mother has regularly used Golden Temple atta flour from Canada to prepare chapatis. I think it’s basically just flour, water, mix, roll thin, flour and cook in an ungreased/unoiled pan or on a wire cooking rack placed right on the burner itself.

I tried once to make chapatis and was very frustrated, mainly at my inability to get them to roll out as thin and circular as she does. However, as I have now done pretty well making baguettes, which my mother does not know how to make, I may have another run at it and swap secrets.