It’s interesting how I could easily make so called complicated meals like filet mignon and Penne Carbonara but I struggle with simple dishes like Ugali and chapati. To be honest those two dishes have given me so much grief. Dear Lord! I actually learnt how to make both just this year!
Growing up, chapo was my favourite dish. It is what we used to eat on Sundays with chicken. We had a nanny who made the best chapos. She’d add some sugar to them, much to my mothers chagrin. I think she felt they were unhealthy but I would always get a way to convince to add some sugar. Her chapos were so soft. Mum had trained her well. They’d pull apart in layers. My mouth is even watering just thinking about them. On the days we did not cook chapo, our neighbours “Kina Mathenji” Would sometimes have cooked. Those days neighbourswere like family, I’d go sit with them as they cooked, I kept them company and ate chapos fresh out of the jiko.
Despite all these influences, my chapatis used to be so hard. Hehehe yaani, it was like a cardboard box. They’d be kinda soft immediately after they are cooked then they would turn hard, I tried everything even storing them in polythene bags. The green ones, you know them right? apparently they had a certain charm. But that still never worked for me. One day I tried making chapo with pumpkin (butternut variety) welele, si things changed. They were actually quite edible. They were soft and they tore easily. I have been making my chapos like this ever since and they have not dissapointed me. I guess pumpkin is my secret power.
Other than the ingredients the other trick to making chapatis or any bread for that matter is in the kneading. You have to get it just right. The kneading activates the gluten that makes the dough elastic and therefore makes the chapos super soft. You need to knead for a while, at least 20 minutes. I am lazy I use the dough hook option in my hand mixer. Works like a charm.
But after the dough hook, I still punch the living day lights out of the dough to just he dough even better.
After kneading comes the rolling to get the layers in. I roll out into a large rectangle, apply some oil then pleat the dough like you would when making a paper fan, Then make a long roll then roll it tnto a ball. Sounds like many steps but it really is worth it.
I also can not roll chapos into a circle to save my life, so I use one of this bases that you can get in any supermarket.
It really is simple. I hope you like it. I also like to add things to it, like dhania and onions or just carrots. You can totally leave this out tho. Doesn’t change much.