Stacked Kenyan Chapati
Food in theory From Africa / of African descent No-recipe Recipes Recipes

Kenyan Chapati – Journeying through African foods and of African-descents

My previous knowledge of Chapati was that it’s an Indian flatbread similar to Naan & Roti. However, a few years back I was introduced to Kenyan Chapati by my friend, Tracy. She kneaded a dough made of flour, grease, water, salt and sugar. Then proceeded to create this flaky pastry that turned out to be the Kenyan Chapati. It made me realise there is a lot about African food heritage that I am yet to learn. Something else that was intriguing to me about this flatbread is the flour. The chapati fortified wheat flour. A flour from Kenya which I am yet to find here in Italy.

Quite ironic actually that I have learnt more about Africa whilst living across European countries than I ever did in the motherland. For example, the ties between South Asian and Eastern African cultures. Hence, the existence of the Kenyan Chapati. who influences who is unbeknownst to me but what I do know is that these soft layers of dough known as chapati are delicious and the depth of African culture together with cultures of African descent know no bounds. When I say learn more about Africa whilst living in Europe, I mean because I have had the opportunity to meet other people from various African cultures than when living in one African country. I did not learn about Africa from Europeans.

A “no-recipe recipe” with short video:

This is a “no-recipe recipe” for how to make the Kenyan Chapati. I don’t have a recipe with the measurement as Tracy makes it of heart. Similarly, now I also make it off the memory of watching her.

INGREDIENTS:
  • Chapati Flour (or regular plain flour / several cups)
  • Sugar (usually just about a teaspoon or a tablespoon)
  • Salt (usually just about a teaspoon or a tablespoon)
  • Vegetable oil (about a fourth of the amount of water being used
  • Lukewarm water (about 5/2 fraction of the amount of flour used)
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and water. Mix all together until all ingredients are combined into a dough. Then knead for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Cut the dough into pieces and mould it into balls using your palms. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough at a time into a large round sheet.
  4. Spead all over with cooking oil then gradually roll the sheet of dough until you have a long string. Wrap the string into a coil and set it aside (covering with a kitchen towel).
  5. Repeat the process till all the pieces of dough are wrapped into a coil. Allow resting for another 10-15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out each coiled piece of dough at a time into a large round sheet.
  6. Place a large griddle or pan over medium heat and grease with some oil. When hot, place a sheet of the dough into the pan and cook until you see some bubbles, then flip over.
  7. Spread a little oil over the cooked side, press gently with a spoon against the pan and flip again. Cook on each side for 10-15 seconds. Remove the cooked chapati from the pan and cover it with a kitchen towel.
  8. Repeat this process for all the pieces of coiled dough.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

The Kenyan Chapati is now a dish I make quite often. I am intrigued to learn the stories behind our cuisines. Some of which I’ve tried, like Ethiopian Injera/Njera/Enjera, Senegalese Thieboudienne (a.k.a Ceebu jën). Others that I am yet to familiarise myself with, such as Haitian Griot & Jamaican Ackee & Saltfish and many more. There are endless recipes in the African continent & beyond that, I am yet to learn from. I am excited as I begin this Journey through African foods.

Stacked Kenyan Chapati

Kenyan Chapati

Immaculate Ruému
A "no-recipe recipe" for Kenyan Chapati. A delicious and flaky flatbread. A tie between South Asian & East African culture. Perfect when served with stews & sauces.
5 from 8 votes
Cook Time 1 min
Resting Time 30 mins
Total Time 31 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine African, East African, Kenyan
Servings 5
Calories

Ingredients
  

  • Chapati Flour (or regular plain flour / several cups)
  • Sugar (usually just about a teaspoon or a tablespoon)
  • Salt (usually just about a teaspoon or a tablespoon)
  • Vegetable oil (about a fourth of the amount of water being used)
  • Lukewarm water (about 5/2 fraction of the amount of flour used)

Instructions
 

  • Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and water. Mix all together until all ingredients are combined into a dough. Then knead for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cut the dough into pieces and mould it into balls using your palms. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough at a time into a large round sheet.
  • Spead all over with cooking oil then gradually roll the sheet of dough until you have a long string. Wrap the string into a coil and set it aside (covering with a kitchen towel).
  • Repeat the process till all the pieces of dough are wrapped into a coil. Allow resting for another 10-15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out each coiled piece of dough at a time into a large round sheet.
  • Place a large griddle or pan over medium heat and grease with some oil. When hot, place a sheet of the dough into the pan and cook until you see some bubbles, then flip over.
  • Spread a little oil over the cooked side, press gently with a spoon against the pan and flip again. Cook on each side for 10-15 seconds. Remove the cooked chapati from the pan and cover it with a kitchen towel.
  • Repeat this process for all the pieces of coiled dough.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Video

Keyword: Chapati, flatbread

AboutImmaculate Ruému

A multifaceted food enthusiast. Michelin trained Chef, Published Food Writer and Recipe Developer with a passion for Nigerian and Italian cuisines and the fusion of both. A traveller on the food path to breaking global culinary boundaries.

8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this with sweet potato curry and it was the perfect pair! The chapati was so delicious, chewy but soft. Even my baby loved it! Thanks for the recipe and for teaching us how this recipe came about. Loved reading about the history.

  2. 5 stars
    This was my first time trying chapati and it was amazing! So flaky and delicious. I would love to try this with a chicken stew.

  3. 5 stars
    I loved the process of making this Kenyan chapati. It was so calming and almost therapeutic. The taste was top notch as well. One of the best chapatis I’ve eaten.

  4. 5 stars
    I made the chapati with just a pinch of sugar. It was the ideal accompaniment with navy bean soup – so satisfying!

  5. 5 stars
    My first time trying chapati and baby, I was impressed! Not only was it easy to prepare but the texture and flavor was amazing and it all came together so fast! Will absolutely try this recipe again!

  6. 5 stars
    As a Kenyan, I must say this recipe was absolutely perfect! You hit the nail on the head with the recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    I loved playing with proportions to get this recipe right and your pictures helped guide my process. Will be making chapati again!

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