Whlemeal flatbreads

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

It is very difficult to give an absolute recipe for chapattis. It is merely a matter of experience and how well you understand the dough you are preparing. Persevere. Here is a basic one to work with. But remember all flour differs in how it behaves. Keep experimenting and you’ll eventually get a ‘feel’ for it and know when the dough is right. In hotels and restaurants throughout India where you see chapattis on the menu, there is always a specialist employed to make them!


Quantity Ingredient
250g wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sunflower or rapeseed oil, warmed
cold water, to mix
a little melted ghee or butter


  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and stir in the warm oil. Add water a tablespoon at a time and knead into a firm smooth ball.
  2. Knead well for a few minutes until the dough does not stick and feels firm to the touch but not hard. Cover with another bowl or clingfilm, and set aside for an hour or two.
  3. Re-knead then form into a smooth ball and dust with flour. Divide into 2.5 cm balls.
  4. Brush a griddle pan or tava with a little melted ghee, butter, or oil and place over a medium heat. You do not want it smoking hot or the chapatti will brown instantly and not cook through.
  5. Place each ball on a floured surface and flatten with your palm or fingers, then roll out as thin as possible into rounds (do remember that even the big chefs and people such as myself with twenty years of experience cannot always roll out smooth, round chapattis as well as our mothers or wives can – this will give you some confidence when you end up plotting the world in different shapes!).
  6. Dust off any excess flour on the chapatti and place it flat on the griddle or tava. Flip it over after about 30 seconds, brush with melted fat or oil on one side and flip over again. A good chapatti is one which does not show burn marks but cooks through and is lightly browned.
  7. When done, fold over into half and place on a clean cloth or paper towels in a container with a lid.
  8. Serve the warm chapattis with most savoury dishes as an accompaniment.
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