Seems the Israelites fleeing Egypt weren’t the only ones eaten unleavened bread. Chapati, as its spelled here, is ubiquitous throughout East Africa, served for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a variety of stews, salads and meals. A flat bread made of flour, the chapati looks like an enlarged Mexican tortilla, or a blinz, or roti, or a pita or…well you get the picture.
Not traditionally an African dish, chapati was most likely brought to East Africa by Indian Ocean traders and like so many things absorbed into the local culture. It’s most often served as a side dish to help you scoop up the rice and stew (cutlery is not traditionally used here), chapati is rather bland itself. Just flour, water/oil and salt, it’s fried on a skillet and served fresh on street corners all over Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. We’ve seen it made into southeast asian flavored pizzas, rolled with seafood and served almost like a burrito, stuffed with salads and beans, as a snack with some sweet chai and well you get the picture.
Here’s an easy to make chapati recipe from Kenya Recipes, let us know how it turns out!
2 cups of Flour
1 teaspoon salt
Sift the flour and the salt into a mixing bowl. Add some water to make a fairly stiff dough, moistening your hands frequently to ease off the bowl. Shape dough into a ball, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it stand for at least ½ hour. Divide dough into 4 or 5 balls and roll each out into a flat, round disk. Heat a large creased griddle or frying pan over medium until it is hot. Cook each chapati until golden; when you see tiny bubbles it’s time to turn them over. It should take about a minute for each chapati. Press them down with a wide pancake turner or a clean towel to cook evenly. Serve hot.