The Satiating And Longest Relationship Of Indians: Chapati

This is a story of the best and long lasting companion of Indian household meals, Chapati. It has not only made its place in the plates on dining tables but also in our hearts.


Maybe the most common food we have in India is Chapati. Have you ever thought what’s there in Chapati which has made it an integral part of our daily meal?In any case since my hostel days, If I am continuously eating any different food than chapati for a few days, I come home or visit any restaurant and ask for chapati and sabzi. Generally, we get tired of some dishes or food if we have eaten it constantly, but there’s some x-factor in Chapati that we aren’t bored of it since ages. This one thing that hasn't changed since years. Yes, I had many curious thoughts about Chapati, and that’s why prepared some write-up to deep dive into some astonishing facts and recipes of Chapati. Definition And Evolution: The term chapat means "flat", "pat" that describes the traditional way of forming the round and thin shape of dough by patting it between wet palms. With every patting, the round shape of dough is rotated. Chapati is mentioned in the 16th-century document Ain-i-Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, wazir of Mughal Emperor Akbar. The carbonized wheat grains are discovered at the excavations of Mohenjo-Daro. The Indus valley is one of the ancestral lands of the cultivated wheat. A chapati is a form of rotta (bread) or roti. But we use the name Chapati and Roti interchangeably. Chapatis were introduced to other parts of the world by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, especially by Indian merchants who lived in southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Caribbean islands. Why Do Chapatis Puff Up? Many of us are familiar with the way to prepare a perfect Chapati or roti: (i) roll flat a piece of moist dough evenly, (ii) heat one side on a pan, (iii) flip and heat the other side, (iv) then put it directly onto the flames. Let's not discuss it in detail I just want to talk about the scientific approach for puffing up of the Chapati. It puffs up like a balloon. Once a Chapati is heated, water in the dough comes together to make minute bubbles which then forms one large bubble. As more dissolved moisture is converted to vapour, the bubble arises, pumping up the Chapati and pushes the malleable dough outside. Rather than growing big as it does, why doesn't the water vapour bubble just escape by perforating the back or front surface? The surfaces are readily available to the bubble less than a millimetre away! Take the hottest side of the Chapati- the bottom surface which is in contact with the hot pan, Water vapour that has formed within an escape depth of the surface leaks out through the back. This water denuded outer side of dough now firms, losing the malleability & making it harder for a water vapour bubble to punch through. Now the top surface needs hardening too-that is why for best-puffed Chapatis you need to heat it from one side, then flip it over to heat from the other side. When both surfaces have been hardened, the escape routes from the top & bottom have been sealed, the growing bubble is frustrated and forced to expand laterally. Health Advantages of Eating Chapati: The number of calories in Chapati is also on the lower side that is good if you want to lose weight. Chapatis can be a part of a diet plan for losing weight and also it can keep you satiated for a while. The high protein and fibre content in chapati makes it an integral part of the diet. Following are some of the benefits: 1. Enhanced with Nutrients: A (Chapati) is a powerhouse of nutrients. You can get it all - Vitamin B, E & minerals such as zinc, copper, iodine, silicon, potassium, manganese, calcium and other mineral salts. Thus, a single piece of Chapati (wheat) could unquestionably do wonders for your health. 2. Good for the Skin: Chapati is one of those meals that are good for the skin. With the goodness of zinc & other minerals, eating it every day can be proved great for your skin. Adding a touch of brightness to your skin is one of the best health benefits of Chapati that you could reap. 3. Energy pack: As whole wheat contains carbohydrates, Chapati also is a valuable source for Carbohydrates. This can give you ample fuel for the day. Chapatis are not only consumed to energize you by boosting your mood. 4. Chapatis prevent Diseases: The whole wheat contains a good nutritional value. A lot of chronic diseases require a diet with foods like Chapati into it. It helps in preparing your body & immune system to deal with various sorts of diseases. 5. Control Haemoglobin Levels: Since Chapatis are loaded with iron, the haemoglobin levels in your body are equitable. The risks of anaemia or iron deficiency drastically decrease. Your body is able to generate a composite number of Red blood cells and white blood cells when you start having Chapatis. This helps in snacking up on foods too often which in turn decreases the calorie intake. The Healthy Choice: Rice Or Chapati? No Indian meal is complete without rice or Chapati or both. So, in a way, Rice is a rival of Chapati. When I was a child, I and my brother used to fight for it. Whenever he chose eating chapati with the sabji or dal I put my rice aside and attack his chapati-sabji mixture. Every time out of humiliation I used to do same as bhaiya. For me, it’s a nostalgic moment but I really think that it is the best way, and so I I like Chapati more. Let’s count on the healthy elements this Indian cuisine offer to us. Also the pros and cons they come up with. Both food items have related carbohydrate levels and calorific value, but different nutritional value as Chapati contains more fibres and proteins than rice. Rice is easier to digest because of its starch content, whereas chapati digests slowly. However, because of slow digestion chapati keeps you full for longer, that is a big plus for weight watchers. Vitamins: Both rice & Chapati provide Folate, a water-soluble B-vitamin. Rice is a better source of Folate than Chapati. Minerals: Each serving of Chapatis gives you calcium, potassium, iron and phosphorus, whereas rice provides the same amount of iron but less phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. It doesn’t contain any calcium. Verdict: Chapatis hold more fibre, protein, sodium and micronutrients. Rice doesn’t contain sodium. If you are watching your sodium intake, then the rice would be a better option. So, don’t just withdraw rice, only watch the portion size. The Difference Between Phulka and Chapati: Phulka and Chapati are not two completely different things as we regularly use the terms like Phulka roti or Phulka Chapati. They both are prepared by the same flour, the key difference reclines in the mode of cooking and sometimes in thickness and size. 1. Size: Chapati is generally bigger in size & diameter than a ballooned Phulka. 2. Cooking: Chapatis are typically cooked on a tawa. Once roasting of a side is done, it is turned over with a pair of tongs and the other one is placed to roast on the pan. Phulka is a tinier round bread, made from wheat dough whose one side is roasted on a tawa and the other side is on the flame directly. The phulka puffs up in a ball due to the accumulation of steam into it. 3. Serving: Both the Phulkas and Chapatis are expected to eat as soon as they are prepared. Phulka especially, if not served instantly can lose all its flatten and puffiness, while Chapati is already flat. Phulkas are traditionally served 'sookha', as in without any added grease like ghee as Phulkas were meant to be served immediately. 4. Thickness: As the rolling pin is used for both Chapatis and Phulkas, some people further use their hands to 'pat' the chapati between the palms to even out the dough. It helps the chapati have an even distribution of dough. A regular-sized phulka or Chapati has around 70-100 calories as per the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). Northern states have more consumption of both. Who Should eat Chapati: Whole wheat has an element called gluten that makes the dough sticky. Gluten is a type of protein that is naturally found in wheat. People those who are allergic to gluten should avoid having Chapatis. Also, they could eat Chapatis prepared of Bajra and Jowar. Chapati recipes made of Bajra or Jowar are remarkably healthy for those who are planning to begin a weight loss diet. The fibre content, protein, complex carbohydrates and low fat make these Chapatis one of the best meals for Diabetic patients. Recipe - Leftover Chapati to Halwa: All these years, I have tried to do something out of the leftover food. The leftover Chapati to halwa is one of them. We have been talking about our all-time buddy and health companion Chapati, but now see what the capabilities it has to make some extraordinary recipes. Here, I used 8 leftover Chapatis and that is enough to share with 4 people. Ingredients: Leftover Roti - eight pieces Clarified butter - 3-4 tbsp Sugar - 6-7 tbsp khoya (Coagulated milk) - ½ cup Sliced Dry fruits - 3-4 tbsp Doodh (Milk) - two cups Hari elaichi (Green cardamom) powder - ¼ tsp How to prepare Leftover Roti Halwa: 1. Put Chapatis into a blender jar & grind it thoroughly. (Texture would look like Dalia). 2. Add clarified butter in a vessel & roast the Chapatis for five to seven minutes. 3. Next, pour milk & simmer it until milk dries completely. 4. Now add sugar & allow it to cook until sugar melts thoroughly. 5. Then pour coagulated milk and cardamom powder. 6. Finish it with the sliced dry fruits. 7. Have it hot, and believe me the kids would be amazed by it. Recipe - Chapati Noodles Total Time: 25m Preparation Time: 10 m Calories: 188 Servings: 2 Ingredients for Chapati Noodles: Chapatis - four Green chilli - one Soy sauce - 1/2 tsp Sugar - 1/4 tsp spring onions - 1/4 cup coriander leaves - two tbsp vegetable oil - two tbsp Garlic - one tsp red chilli sauce - one tsp salt as per taste black pepper - 1/2 tsp For Main Dish: Onion - 1 Capsicum (green pepper) - 1/4 cup Carrot - 1/4 cup Cabbage - 1/4 cup How to prepare Chapati Noodles: Step 1) Stack Chapati or Roti one above the other. Cut into thin strips with a sharp knife or by scissors. Put it aside. Meanwhile, peel & slices the onion in a vessel. Then cut the veggies (capsicum, carrot and cabbage) in thin strips. Assure that the spring onion, coriander leaves and garlic are well chopped. Step 2) Heat oil into a vessel. Add properly chopped garlic & saute until the raw smell goes off. Add chopped onion & slit green chilli. Saute well on a high flame for one min. Step 3) Add the veggies and saute again for a few mins in a high flame. Keep sauteing to avoid sticking to the bottom of the vessel. You can also add egg alongside the veggies when sauteing. It would give a different taste to the Chapati noodles. Step 4) Put some soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper powder. Mix properly. Step 5) Now add the Chapati strips & mix finely. Toss properly so that the masala gets coated finely on the Chapati stripes. Cook for 2 to 3 mins on a low flame. Step 6) Add finely chopped spring onion & coriander leaves, mix properly. Switch off the flame. Chapati noodles are ready to enjoy. Having such innovative and crazy recipes out of the Chapatis or making different types of chapatis would be in a way, a tribute to your daily companion which makes our day relishing. It’s the recipes which make us feel that all the other items are derived from Chapati and Sabji experiments only. If we name a few it would be Dosa, Pav, Frankie, etc. It makes Chapati a centre point.


Editor’s Pick

Recipes of the Day


Want more? Click on the tags below for more videos and stories