Yesterday I went to Grace’s house for a sleepover! We have been talking about doing this for a while and last night I was hanging out with her and her 2 kids in their new home. Although it gets a bit chilly where she is living we had the charcoal stove going which kept it warm inside. Grace has been talking up these carrot chapati to me so last night was also my chance to see her cook them. I do not think of Kenyan cooks as very experimental or eager to break-out-of-the-mold with their cooking habits but I think Grace must be an exception because I have never heard of carrot chapati although plain chapati is one of the most common and most loved foods in East Africa. We wrote down her recipe and plan to keep on writing them down each time she makes another dish, so this is hopefully the first of many to be compiled! We all were up late, me mostly just watching Grace as she worked and trying to help where I could. We made soup too; with viazi (potato), carrots, and french beans (green beans). As the soup cooked, Grace mixed the dough by candlelight and then rolled out each little dough ball and sizzled it in the frying pan. Because she doesnt measure, neither did I in the version I wrote- but if you are up for the challenge, it is amazing Chapati! Actually the most tamu sana (tastiest) that I have had yet!
Grace’s Carrot Chapati
2 carrots finely grates
1 ½ kilos flour
1 ½ cps water, 1 cp water
4 TBSP sugar
1/2-1 very small onion, finely chopped
1 TBSP salt
- Put carrots and 1 ½ cup water in a pot on the stove and heat until boiling for a few minutes before removing from the heat. Then add (about) another cup of water.
- Mix flour into the carrot mixture gradually with hands. You may not use as much flour as listed above but add until the dough is pliable, not too sticky and wet, and you know its enough when the dough is workable enough to roll out on a floured board.
- As you mix the flour in you can also add the sugar, salt, and onion.
- Knead and beat the dough with your fists thoroughly in order to mix everything together, maybe 5-7 minutes of good, hard beating should do it!
- Divide the dough into a little large than golf size balls, really just depends on how big you want your chapati.
- Heat the pan and test that it is hot enough by adding a bit of cooking fat. If it sizzles then all is ready!
- Roll out one dough ball at a time, rolling thin like a tortilla but not too thin that it is fragile. Put it in the frying pan with hardly any oil at first. Leave to cook on one side until it is golden brown and then grab and flip over with your hands. Let cook on the other side till done. Now smear cooking fat on one side of the chapati and then flip to do the same on the other side.
- Place in a heat containing container while you cook the rest, so that they all keep warm. These are wonderful eaten plain with a cup of chai or a good accompaniment to soup, curry, ect! Enjoy them.