Food has a way of gathering us, and East African Chapati is the kind of homemade food that calls EVERYONE into the kitchen to help and eat! 

It is yummy unleavened bread that in Kenya is thick, layered, chewy, soft and downright delicious. I remember living in Kenya and the days when we would eat chapati. It was an exciting day for all of us. We would giggle as the children danced around shouting, “Today we will eat well!” And you know what, we did! We ate like kings and queens, savoring every bite ensuring one morsel did not get scooped up by the lingering mouth-watering dogs. At times we showed self-control and kept our second chapati for the morning where we would dunk it into our hot chai, lapping up the sweetness of the tea and the chewiness of each layered flake. 

A few months back, Grace Shaphan from Baba Nyumbani shared her story about her love of cooking. She gave her recipe and even demonstrated how to make a chapati. I remember when Grace first came to Horizon. I remember her shyness and sweet smile. Her joy of cooking inspires me to reconnect once again with this dear recipe. 

Grace flips the chapati in the pan

The Chapati recipe that I learned making while living in Kenya differs slightly from Grace’s by one ingredient; oil. This recipe, below, has oil within the dough. Both recipes will make delicious, soft and chewy chapatis and both recipes will have you gathering together in the kitchen! 

Give it a go, and tag us @horizonempowers 

Written by Nicole Scott, Creative Director

MAKE EAST AFRICAN CHAPATI 

500g All-purpose Flour 
50g    All-purpose Flour (kneading & dusting) 
280ml Lukewarm Water
125ml Oil
1 tsp Salt 
1 tsp Sugar (optional) 

Instructions 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add water, oil, sugar and salt and mix well.  Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon or hands until mixture comes together.  
  2.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes until it is smooth and supple.  
  3. Divide the dough into 12 to 14 pieces and form them into balls between your palms or between the kitchen countertop and your palm. 
  4. Cover the balls with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for at least 15 minutes. 
  5. Lightly flour your working surface and work on one dough ball at a time.  Gently press with fingers and roll out as thin as you can with a rolling pin. 
  6. Gently brush the rolled dough surface with Oil.  Follow by sprinkling some flour all over it. 
  7. Once that is done, roll the dough out, making a long snake.  After that, coil the snake-like-dough and tuck the end in the middle of the coil. 
  8. Repeat the process with all the dough balls.  This process ensures the wonderful layers in your chapati.  
  9. Cover the dough once more and rest for at least 10 minutes: 
  10. Working with one dough at a time, lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to a circle.  
  11. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and place the rolled-out dough.  
  12. Cook for about 30 seconds till bubbles appear on the upper side and flip. Cook again for another 30 seconds and flip to the original side.   
  13. Now, brush the original side with oil, flip, and using a flat spatula, press chapati gently against the skillet for 15 seconds.  
  14. Brush the upper side with oil, flip, and then using a flat spatula, press chapati gently against the skillet for 15 seconds. 
  15. Remove the chapati from the skillet and store in a container covered with a clean kitchen towel. Keep warm. 
  16. ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY 

 

See this crispy-yet-soft chapati sizzle in the pan and see if you can resist trying it out yourself!

GRACE’S SOFT CHAPATI: 

Ingredients: 

5 cups flour 

2 spoonfuls sugar 

1 spoonful salt 

warm water 

 

  • Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. 
  • Pour warm water into the dry ingredients and mix until a shaggy dough forms. 
  • Let the dough rest, and divide it into several pieces, rolling each one out into a round and slicing it into four strips. 
  • Roll each of these strip up into a ball, and then roll each one out into a thin round.  
  • Set a pan over high heat; when hot, add a spoonful of oil. 
  • Place the rounds into the pan one at a time, flipping when the underside is brown and toasty. Serve hot, alone or with a meal! 

Serves five, two chapati each. Recipe by Grace Shaphan 

 

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