While many start their day with a bowl of oats or cereals, sandwiches or idlis and dosas, wholesome and filling paratha, phulka or chapati do make a customary appearance if not for breakfast, then definitely in lunch boxes or even at dinner tables of many Indians. Versatile that the chapati is, these everyday staples are packed with the goodness of wheat flour or gehu ka atta and are considered wholesome and nutritious. Not only this, a chapati recipe also calls for a minimum of three ingredients (wheat flour, water and oil). Wheat flour is loaded with proteins and minerals like iron, calcium, selenium, potassium and magnesium, making the chapati a good option to start your day with. Healthy that the chapati already is, did you know that you can make your chapati healthier by just tweaking your regular chapati recipe a bit? Here are ways you can up your cooking game and convert the humble chapati into a vehicle of wellness and health:
Give water a break
Instead of using water to knead the dough for your chapati recipe, you could spice things up in your chapati recipe by substituting water with buttermilk, milk, yoghurt or even chicken/vegetable stock for that matter. Not only will this help improve the taste of your chapati but will also make them softer and healthier. Just like you would for your regular chapati recipe, mix a cup or two of any of these to your wheat flour. Just make sure your water substitute is lukewarm, especially if you’re aiming for softer chapatis. In case the dough gets too sticky, all you need to do is add more flour.
Sneak in veggies, spices or herbs
Incorporate the goodness of veggies in your chapati recipe by finely chopping or pureeing them. This not only helps add a bit of colour to your chapatis, but also helps pack a nutritious punch. Beetroot could come to your rescue here but you could also turn to other vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek (methi), sage, cabbage and cauliflower. You could further jazz up your chapati recipe by using a combination of powdered or whole spices and herbs such as jeera, garlic, fenugreek (methi), paprika, coriander, dill, fennel, turmeric and cinnamon into your regular flour. Herbs, fresh or dry, are known for their medicinal properties (they help treat digestive issues like stomach ache, gas, bloating and acidity), therefore, using herbs in your chapatti recipe not only helps enhance the flavour of your daily meals but also your overall health.
If your kids fuss over veggies when served separately as sabzis, you could play smart by using them as a stuffing inside the chapati, leaving them guessing what’s on the inside. Simply boil and mash the veggies or instead you could grate them to add some texture. Apart from aloo, veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, beetroot and green peas make for good chapati fillings. Stuffing your chapati with the goodness of paneer or cottage cheese helps up your calcium levels, which in fact is essential for bone development. Good news for non-vegetarians, you can use your previous day’s leftover meat or eggs by finely mincing them and using them as a filling for your chapati. In the chapati recipe, you could also sneak in some dry fruits such as almonds, walnuts, raisins and cashew nuts in powdered form or by finely chopping them. This helps add a sweet punch to your chapati, making them an instant hit especially among kids.
Why stick to wheat flour for your chapati recipe when you could get the wholesome goodness of multiple grains in a single chapati instead. All you need to do is add other flours such as bajra, jowar, makka and ragi to your regular wheat flour. This chapati recipe will open the door to a host of additional health benefits. Jowar or sorghum is rich in antioxidants, fibre, minerals and due to its low glycemic index, chapati made with the goodness of jowar takes longer to digest, keeping you fuller. Bajra or pearl millet too is an excellent source of gluten-free protein, fibre, vitamin B6, phosphorus and other essential minerals, making it another great addition to your regular flour. Besides, makkai ka atta or maize flour is high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamin B1 and phosphorus. You could also turn to buckwheat or kuttu ka atta for your nutritional needs as it is rich in amino acids and dietary fibre which help promote gut health, aid weight loss and keep your heart in good shape. As these grains are naturally gluten-free, it is recommended that you don’t skip wheat flour entirely as it acts as a binding agent. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you could substitute the wheat flour with xanthan gum, potato starch, rice flour or even cornstarch to make your chapati.
Top them with a spoonful of ghee
Studies suggest that ghee, when consumed in proportion, can help aid weight loss, balance hormones and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Besides, ghee can also help bring down the Glycemic index of your chapati recipe, helping you stay full, preventing bingeing. When spreading ghee on your chapati, make sure you don’t go overboard with the quantity, as too much of anything can do you more harm than good. A small teaspoon for one chapati is all you need to get your daily dose of nutrition and health.
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