A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for October 8th, 2010

Puff Master

Posted by Pepper on October 8, 2010

I not too sure about the kind of queer images the title conjures up. But this is what Mint calls himself when the chapatis/rotis he is making puff up in all their glory. Me? I just watch in glee! We’ve come a long way. I should probably start from the beginning.

I first tried my hand at making chapatis during my UK days. And that is when I learnt the truth. I. CANNOT. MAKE. CHAPATIS. I thought I couldn’t cook either, but well, I did manage. What I cook is mostly edible, and sometimes pretty good. But chapatis? I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong. As students with budget constraints, we experimented with unpopular brands of flour. The consistency of the dough I tried making would never be right. I just could not handle the rolling, or the flipping of the chapatis on the griddle. The chapatis would either turn out too thin and the dough would end up tearing, or the end product would be too thick, and as a result too hard, or uncooked, or crispy. I gave up.
When I was moving to the US, the nightmares returned. Mint, who had had his own adventures with chapati making suggested we buy a roti maker and carry it back with us. We left it for the last day of our stay in Mumbai, expecting it to be easily available everywhere. Imagine our horror when we moved from store to store, only to be told it wasn’t in stock or wasn’t sold by them. Just when we were about to give up, we found it at one of the sections in Inorbit. Phew.
I thought it was the end of our sorrows. But when we tried using the roti maker here, for some reason, it would not work. But this time, I tried kneading the dough again, and surprisingly it turned out to be very soft. However, I was unable to flatten it using the lid of the chapati maker. This required immense pressure. I happily let Mint take over. Fortunately, he was able to do it. But the chapatis cooked in the roti maker tasted like chewing gum. So we decided to use the normal tawa for cooking it. This was fine, since we were still getting perfectly round and even chapatis without the hassles of rolling. We finally started making decent rotis and all was good.
Until the chapati maker broke. I was horrified at first, and then depressed. Rolling chapatis seemed traumatic. Nor was I interested in surviving on store bought frozen chapatis. Around this time we moved to the Bay Area. And imagine my joy when one of the desis we visted asked us if we were interested in buying their unused chapati maker from them since they were moving out of the country?
Since then, life has been perfect. I knead the dough, roll it into balls and hand it to Mint. He flattens it with the chapati maker and tosses it onto the tawa for flipping. By now, he has a knack of making it puff up and often mutters to himself as he watches the rotis rise and turn into perfect spheres. ‘Look at the magnificence’, he’ll blabber. Or sometimes, ‘Am I not awesome?’.
Sometimes I fight for credit and tell him the secret lies in the way you knead the dough. Other times, I don’t care for the credit, I am just happy biting into the exceedingly soft, round chapatis.

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