Well, sort of. Apart from the fact that I didn’t have any fresh or even any dried methi. (Fenugreek) so ground it was.
Fenugreek is a herb that has staying power. It clings to you. Your hands, your clothes, your kitchen and your whole house if you use a lot of it, and don’t open the windows enough. For me, it’s the smell of my Indian friends'’ houses as I was growing up. It was all pervading, but you just got used to it. I admit, I like it, as it means something GOOD is cooking. I have enduring memories of ladies in elegant saris making roti, one perfect circle after another, time after time, almost without looking. It was a production line of one until the kids got old enough to do the roti flipping part.
When I saw these on Carla Tomasi’s Instagram, and remembered eating them as a kid and not being too sure about the greenery. Nobody could explain to me what it was, so I just ate it anyway, and enjoyed it very much so when I saw it on Carla’s feed, finally I knew what the green was! I didn’t have any in the house, but I decided to make the breads anyway. Anything with chick pea flour has a tendency to draw me in and their yellowy goodness was calling. Off I went.
Chapatti flour is made from hard Gehun (Indian wheat, or durum) flour. It is more finely ground than most western-style wholewheat flours so I decided to whizz my flour in a food processor first, to see if I could get it a little more fine. While it was in there, I thought I might as well do the whole recipe in there too! Saves on washing up.
100g wholewheat flour
100g plain white flour (If you have proper chapati flour then use 200g of that)
50g chick pea flour
1 tsp oil (I used sunflower)
1/2 tsp chilli
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh methi leaves or 1 tbs dried (I only had ground fenugreek)
Warm water (you add this bit by bit until the dough comes together, so go slowly.)
Extra oil or melted ghee for brushing the thepla in the pan (I admit, I love the flavour of ghee)
The wholewheat flour went in first, and I blitzed that for a few minutes, then added in the other two flours and blitzed it all together for another few minutes, just to mix.
All the spices and the salt went in, quick pulse to mix, then the teaspoon of oil. If you add an extra teaspoon of oil, it makes them as bit more pliable for longer.
With the mixer on low, I added the water slowly until the flour started to come together as a ball of dough and stopped as soon as it did. I’d add it a tablespoon at a time, just to be sure.
Gather it all together on the work surface, and give it a good knead. If it seems a little dry, wet your hands and continue kneading until it’s all smooth and you can shape it into a disc.
Cover it and leave it to one side for 15-30 minutes to relax a bit.
Divide it into equal portions – I had eight of them.
Roll each one into a ball, and one by one, flatten them with the palm of your hand, and roll out into a 5-6 inch disc about 2mm thick. Perfect discs are not important.
Set out a clean tea towel.
Heat a dry flat bottomed frying pan or griddle on a medium heat until a drop of water on it scoots about a bit.
Place the first thepla on the hot pan. Leave it to cook for a minute, then flip it over. If it has brown spots on it, all good, if not, flip it back to cook some more.
When you flip it, brush oil or ghee onto the cooked side.
Flip it again to see if the second side is cooked, and if it is, brush that with oil or ghee also. I do I recall my friends’ mums putting the roti onto the open gas flame to give it a bit of extra puff, so I do it too. It gets a really nice toasted flavour. Obviously if you don’t have gas, skip that step!
Set them one by one onto the towel, and wrap to keep warm.
I recall my friend's mum putting the cooked roti into an empty round metal spice tin, and putting the lid on so the steam kept them soft. I don’t have one of those, so a towel it is. If they are to be kept overnight, I wrap them when they are still warm in a plastic bag. That seems to stop them going hard.
I was ridiculously pleased with these! So please, in fact, that I immediately wrapped two of them around some very crispy bacon with some brown sauce. It was DELICIOUS. I think I know what tomorrow’s breakfast is going to be…