Me Versus the Chapati

In millions of Indian homes around the globe for many centuries, chapatis are made on a daily basis and are a staple of their diet.  In more traditional times, it was common for a bride to be judged by her new family by her ability to make them round and soft.  In my husbands family, most of the women were taught at an early age to know their way around the kitchen including making a perfect round chapati.  As a result, my mother-in-law is the best cook I have ever met.  While my mom was also cooking full dinners by the age of 8, she decided not to raise her daughters the same way.  My parents made our education our first and only priority and I was often shooed away from the kitchen.  It should come as no surprise that when I first stepped foot in my future inlaws home at 19 years old, I instantly felt out of place.  It was so intimidating to watch all the women know exactly what to do and how to do it.  Even if I wanted to help, I was nervous about doing something wrong.  Fast forward 15 years, I have come to accept that I will never “fit in” with the expertise around the kitchen but my inability has always made me self conscious in my culture.

Recently I have felt  the desire to be able to cook.  For a few reasons: being able to cook mine and my husbands favorite meals, feeding my kids healthy meals, and being able to teach my children.  I have been slowly learning a few dishes here and there and using frozen ones to complete the meal.  Last weekend I decided that it was time to learn this ancient art of chapati making and give it a try.

I opened up my PC and started googling.  I have helped rolled them a few times and certainly seen my mom and mother in law make them often enough but never made the dough.  I choose the video with the most hits and figured I am smart enough, I can figure this out.  I started following the recipe.  After all it is just flour and water, how hard can it be?  1 hour later, I am calling every expert indian cook I know.  I finally got a hold of my sister-in-law who tried to help.  I tried to roll one out and it was an gooey sticky mess.  My husband thought with his pizza expertise he could figure it out.  No such luck.  They all went into the trash.

Point – Chapati

Luckily we had the frozen ones as back up.  I opened up the pack and started them on the pan.  Unfortunately even those would not work for me.  Every single one was hard as a rock and just did not have the taste of a home cooked chapati.  We grudgingly ate them as I felt defeated.

Point – Chapati

I started instead looking for the ad I had seen sometime back about the automatic chapati maker and how to get my hands on one.  I found it and watched it again.  It looked awesome but unfortunately is sold out.

Point – Chapati

I was determined not to give up.  This week I Facetimed my mother in law to walk me through it from start to finish.  After watching my dough take shape, I finally was able to roll out the chapatis with my daughters. They were far from round but I was on the right track.  After the first few, they actually even started to fluff up.  Paired with the an eggplant sabji they were absolutely delicious.  Next time I will cheat like my other sister in law who cuts around a lid to get those perfectly round circles!

Game – Anjali!

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