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firstrolloutOur son lived in South Africa for two years and learned to make this staple Indian flatbread.  Since his return to the States, we’ve enjoyed them as a treat from time to time.   They are actually more nutritious than tortillas because no shortening or lard is required.  Most of the recipes I’ve seen also call for whole wheat flour, which is a good thing!  I adapted the recipe from the website: All Things Kenyan.  I chose this one because it seems most like the one my son makes — with the same “jelly-rolling” techniques.  That added step makes them particularly fun to pull apart as you eat them.  During Christmas break, my son and his wife fixed them for us with chicken, vegetables and a “Red Hot Sweet Chili” sauce that we picked up at the local grocery store.  They were a hit!

Chapatis are delicious with curry, all kinds of vegetables, chutney, or anything!  They may also be served warm with butter and cinnamon sugar.  The bread itself doubles as the utensil.  Pull it apart in pieces and use it to pick up the other foods.  It is filling and fun!


  • Yield: 4 chapatis
  • Prep: 30 min (including “rest” time for dough)
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Ready in: 40 minutes


  • 2 cups flour – white or whole wheat, or parts of each
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • oil
  • water


  1. Mix dry ingredients well.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp of oil to the flour mixture and mix in with your hands until flour feels a little bit like sand.
  3. Add enough water to form an elastic dough (it took less than a cup).  Knead the dough a little until smooth.
  4. Divide the dough into four parts.  Roll each ball into a circle and spread 1/2 tsp. (or less) of oil over it.Oil on chapatis
  5. Roll each circle up, like a jelly roll, then roll up the resulting strip.  They will resemble snail shells.firstrollchapatichapatissecondroll
  6. Let the rolls sit 20 minutes or more.  Roll out each ball until thin.firstrollout
  7. Cook on a hot skillet or cast iron pan until brown and flip to cook other side.  They will bubble up, but are more dense than tortillas.
  8. Serve with desired accompaniments or toppings (shown here with chicken, cabbage, peppers, onions and seasonings, and sweet chili sauce).chapati final


NOTE:  I talked to my son and discovered that he skips the extra “roll-out” step in the above recipe.  He simply rolls out all of the dough at once, spreads on the oil, cuts it into strips, and rolls up each strip (that’s him in the photo below).  Then he rolls out each “roll”.   We tried both ways, and decided we like his the best.  It pulls apart better when you’re eating them.

Daniel chapatis


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