Sunday evening found Beth and I all set to cook. She made salad, and I made Chapati, an Indian flatbread which I made using whole wheat flower and water:
1.5 cups flour
2/3 cup water (or enough to make elasticky)
I sifted the flour into a bowl, dug a hole in the middle, and poured in the water. Beth’s housemate suggested using his KitchenAid, but I adore working dough with my hands, and kneading it for a while until it felt right.
I did find it to have too much water, and added a bit more flour, but it was guesswork as this is my first attempt at Chapati. Then I let it sit for 2 hours. It’s unleavened, so it doesn’t really rise, but this softens it a bit.
I rolled them out one at a time, thinner on the edges, about 5” wide; and then sprinkled some curry on them before cooking (how fancy!)
I fried them as I went, in a dry pan (smoky!) on medium heat, until I started to see darkening spots forming, then flip.
It seems that you can get them to puff up a bit if you have a flame, just put the hot cooked Chapati over it briefly. With an electric stove… well, my recipe said to press it down briefly after cooking both sides. I had minimal results with this “pressing down” theory, which is likely more my skill than anything. Since making it, I’ve read a few more recipes which say to turn the pan on high. Is this a better option for an electric-stove puffing process? Don’t know. I’ll need more practice to decide my own choice of method.
It’s a somewhat tough dry bread (again, unleavened), especially with using the whole wheat flour. But that makes it excellent with curries and the like. Quite a few recipes recommend Ghee or oil (added by various methods), which would yummy it up a bit. Beth and I simply dipped it in plain greek yogurt when eating.
Beth made a huge salad for dinner (and for the next few days of lunches). Lettuce from her garden, quartered artichoke hearts, cooked black beans, cooked potato pieces, onion, walnuts, organic cherry tomatoes, apple pieces, sharp cheddar cheese cubes, and Quorn (made of a mycoprotein fungus) imitation chicken pieces. Dressed it with lemon juice.
Some tangerine soda, and it was a splendid meal. But what was most lovely about it to me was the cooking together.
There’s something so nice about a kitchen in use with good company. The past few years I have regularly gone to a potluck with friends in Olympia, where we bring ingredients rather than pre-made dishes. And it gives me such a sense of community and companionship and even purpose: I have a role, I am contributing, I feel loved (and I ensure the meal has a dessert, thank god!).
Yeah, call me sappy, but I love cooking in the kitchen with good company. Simply love it.