Makes 30+ cookies depending on preferred size. Total cooking time, 2 hours.
Chapati (also known as roti, safati, shabaati, phulka and roshi) is a kind of unleavened flat bread that is most strongly associated with Indian cooking and is also popular in Nepal, The Caribbean, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They are quite popular in East Africa, Zimbabwe, South African and other African countries with a significant Indian population or cultural history. These were first introduced into my life by my step-mother at the time in Zimbabwe, who had familial ties to the local Indian communities, though not Indian herself. As someone who enjoys eating with their hands (and much prefers it over using cutlery) flatbreads are great for adding starch and texture to a savoury dish while doubling up as a great way to pick up sauces, curries and gravies. When made well they are light and fluffy with loads of flakey layers, much like puff pastry.
This week I was playing around with the idea of making a sweet chapati stack cake (think of a pancake cake stack) that uses milk instead of water, more sugar and seasoned with some warm spices. What I learned from this meander was that they actually can turn out resembling a crispy wafer more than a fluffy stack of soft pancakes and decided to lean into this new direction.
After a few tweaks I've landed on a thin crispy wafer that snaps as you bite into it, releasing a viscous amber of chewy caramel and spice. This was certainly a happy little accident that didn't last very long in my cupboards. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out.
1 cup sifted cake flour, extra for dusting
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
1/3 + 1/8 cup warm milk (110 ml)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup melted butter or cooking oil
non-stick pan, non-stick spray, wax paper, oven, mixing bowl, clingfilm, rolling pin, cooling rack
1. Mix flour, brown sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl with a fork.
2. Make a well in the flour and add the melted butter and warm milk.
3. Slowly stir the flour into the liquid mix with a fork, until a sticky and wet dough forms.
4. Empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface (counter top or a large wooden chopping board) and hand-knead the dough for 10 - 12 minutes until a smooth ball forms. You can dust your hands with flour as well to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Once the dough feels soft and elastic, wrap it in clingfilm and rest it on the counter for about 30 minutes.