Chapatis-An Indian Lunch

March18

I do not anything about Indian food.  Ive been out for Indian food a couple of times in Winnipeg but only under the tutelage of others more experienced than I.  Today one of my students invited me to taste his homemade lunch.

He unwrapped the chapati which he described to me as being made from a firm dough made from whole grain flour and water mixed with a little bit of salt and oil.  Small portions of the dough are rolled out into discs using a rolling pin. The rolled-out dough is thrown on the preheated dry skillet and cooked on both sides.

Spices mixed and ready to be crushed into curry.

Often, the top of a chapati is slathered with butter or ghee (clarified butter). Chapatis made in domestic kitchens are usually not larger than 6-7 inches in diameter since the ‘tava’ from which they are made comes in sizes that fit comfortably on a domestic stove top. Tavas were traditionally made of unglazed earthenware, but are now typically made from metal. There are also electric tavas manufactured in India.  Some households simply use a kitchen work top as a sort of pastry board, but homes have round flat-topped ‘boards’ specifically for rolling out chapatis that may be made of wood or stone.

A piece of chapati is torn off and used to pick up the vegetable dish.  This families version is a combination of carrots, peas and potatoes, quickly tossed in a skillet with some salt, olive oil and he said chili powder (but I am pretty sure he meant curry).  The complex taste of curry is certainly the taste that I detected.

I was offered what he called pickles-succulent, marinated pieces of chili and ginger.  To off set the spiciness of the vegetables, a yogurt sauce with a simple sprinkling of salt and pepper could be dolloped on top.

I know that this gentleman’s diet is dictated by his religious beliefs and that he feels that it is his responsibility to eat healthy, whole foods.  This shared lunch, certainly was an indication of those premises.  In my life, there is no greater honour, than when a person invites me to share their lovingly prepared meal.

Kath’s quote:  “This curry was like a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that I’d once heard…..especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging ‘Joy.’ It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal.”-Anthony Burgess

 


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