Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Coconut chapati just like all the other chapati variations is a nice accompaniment to a nice bowl of stew, beans, squash and greens, or just to eat out of hand as is. I particularly like the textural elements it offers when I bite into its layers. I often refer to it as a flat croissant the way it separates when you tear into it. I'm always playing with traditional recipes and listening to what it says to me. This day the basic chapati recipe asked me to add coconut milk to it and so I did.
I had a feeling that coconut milk in the chapati would offer a mellowness to it that would give it more familiarity when it came to pairing it with other bold flavors. Whether with curries, tomato based sauces as in Italian cuisine, tart lemony sauces or the more pungent flavors, that coconut milk in the chapati creates a perfect blend and marriage in the dish.
Chapati can be found in many parts of the world, from Asia, Ghana, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Tanzania, India, etc. and can be used in the meal in a number of ways. Much like the injera of Ethiopia, your chapatis can be used as a utensil to pick up your food and eat, utensil and all, so it not only makes it convenient, but fun and tasty.
Here's my way of making this household favorite, convenient food, with a little twist from the traditional, that I know you're gonna love.
Coconut Chapati Recipe
1 sauce pan [large enough to hold coconut milk and water]
1 large mixing bowl
1 cup measuring cup
1 large whisk
1 clean hand without rings or jewelry
1 rolling pin
1 medium size to large cutting board [i prefer wood/bamboo]
1 skillet or flat cooking surface
1 small bowl of oil for basting
1 tortilla warmer, a plate with a towel to wrap them in or a large plastic food storage bag
1 14 oz can [preservative-free coconut milk - my favorite is Thai Kitchen brand, but Trader Joe's will do in a pinch]
14 oz boiling hot water
1 1/2 tsp sea salt [or to taste]
1/4 oil [we use extra virgin olive oil]
8 cups organic whole wheat flour
Step 1. Boil your water with your salt and add your coconut milk to your sauce pan heat through and transfer to your mixing bowl.
Step 2. Whisk in your oil and add, 1 cup at a time, your whole wheat flour. Continue to whisk, continue to add flour. Once it becomes impossible to whisk in more flour, you'll have to go it by hand from there on out to incorporate the rest of your flour.
Step 3. Knead your coconut chapati dough into a ball [I need it right in the mixing bowl] and then divide into quarters and then divide those quarters into quarters. Roll each piece into a ball and set aside in your mixing bowl for rolling out.
Step 4. Roll out each piece into a flat disc, baste the flat surface with oil and roll into a tube shape, then roll the tube into a disc, making sure to tuck the end of the disc back into the center and set aside [in the mixing bowl] for the final steps.
Step 5. Heat your skillet and roll out your chapatis [I usually do them 2 - 4 at a time and have at least 2 skillets going to speed things up for me.], place them, 1 at a time, on the heated skillet and baste the top surface with oil before flipping.
Step 6. Flip over, baste again and cook until it begins to puff and then flip the last time to get your nice golden, puffed peaks. Transfer to your holding vessel.
Step 7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have no more chapatis left and you're done!
Now you don't have to make as many as I do when you start... I admit it... I'm a bit of a chapati nut [and I cut this recipe down a bit for you guys! [LOL!!!]], but I like to make a lot at one time because they're great things to have around when you need'em, they store and freeze well and they taste great the following days on reheat [especially the coconut chapatis]. The aroma of the coconut chapatis reheating are the smells of comfort I remember growing up eating my Grams Coconut Johnny Cake. Vegetarian and tasty.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing my recipes with you. Until next time...