Gluten Free Chapati/Sorghum Flatbread
Chapati/ Roti/ Poli - Different names for a simple flat-bread made in most Indian homes on a daily basis. Its usually made up of whole wheat which is freshly milled at the local flour mill.
The most common carbohydrates consumed in an Indian diet are rice and wheat. Interestingly potatoes and corn are considered more as vegetables than carbs. In fact you can segregate the Indian populations geographically with North India relying heavily on wheat as opposed to South Indians being rice eaters and a whole segment in between who need both rice and the wheat chapatis in each meal.
My daughter grew up preferring to eat chapatis even though my husband and I were born rice eaters. All hell broke loose when she was diagnosed with gluten allergy. Meal times became a struggle as she pushed away every meal with rice. Desperately i searched the internet for help. I tried many different mixes with starches and gums added but I still wasn't getting the soft pliable texture of a chapati. i struggled to roll it as my daughter struggled to eat it. One fine day i discovered a simple rustic bhakri, a millet flat-bread, mainly cooked in rural Maharashtra,India. Farmers preferred millet as it provides them with the strength and nutrients for the arduous lifestyle. Also millet's are cheaper than wheat and rice. Now science has proven that Millet's are healthier alternatives as carbs.
I usually make this recipe with Jowar/Sorghum but you can do it with any gluten free flour like black millets(bajra), buckwheat(kootu), rice flour.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of Jowar/Sorghum Flour + 1/4 cup for rolling
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of oil
- Bring a cup of water to a rolling boil in a saucepan.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil, salt and flour. Switch off the heat.
- Stir the mixture till all the water is absorbed by the flour and it forms a loose dough. Leave aside to cool.
- Once its warm enough to handle, collect the dough in a bowl and knead really well for about 3-4 mins.
- Add the 2nd teaspoon of oil and knead it for about 5 mins. The dough will be soft and pliable at the stage.
- Heat a flat pan or tawa on medium heat. Cover the rolling surface with wax or parchment paper. Dust flour on it.
- Make small lemon size balls of the dough and pat it on extra flour.
- Coat the ball nicely with flour and roll it gently and smoothly into a chapati.
- Carefully pick the chapati from the parchment paper and put onto the pan.
- Wet the top surface of the chapati by wetting your hands with little water and gently patting on it. You can even do this with a brush. Once the water dries, gently flip it over.
- Press with a flat spatula gently. You will see small puffs appearing. Flip again and do the same. The chapati puffs up very nicely with some brown spots on it.
- Grease the chapati with half a teaspoon of oil, butter or ghee for a shiner look and enhanced taste.
Eat these chapatis hot off the tava. You can even make extra and store them in a airtight box and consume later in the day. The dough loses its flexibility if refrigerated. You will have to again sprinkle some warm water and knead it to make it pliable. The edges are not smooth like a usual chapati. But you can rectify it by using a large lid to cut through a nice circle and reuse the scraps into dough again.
My daughter was so happy to finally get her beloved chapatis again. She prefers to roll them up and eat them. Enjoy it with your favorite curry.
At times, I take a bigger ball of dough and roll it really large and use it as a tortilla.
You don't have to be gluten free to enjoy this. Try it as a healthier alternative to your usual chapati/roti/bread.