Mix flour and oil in a bowl and slowly add water, mixing and kneading to make a firm but pliable dough. Add more water if necessary. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 30 - 60 minutes.
Knead the dough again, divide into 4 equal portions and shape each into a round ball. Flatten each ball slightly, dust both sides with flour to prevent sticking. Keep them covered.
Lightly flour the work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a round disc of about 15cm, turning and dusting with flour as necessary. Smear the top with ½ teaspoon oil. Fold in half, smear with ½ teaspoon oil, fold into a triangle. Roll out each triangle as thin as possible turning and dusting with flour as necessary.
Preheat a skillet or heavy based pan on medium heat for about 4-6 minutes. When hot (not very hot and smoking), slap the rolled out dough onto it. Cook for about 15 seconds or until it picks up a few brown spots underneath. Turn the paratha over, cook for another 15 seconds. Cook on each side, turning over a few times, pressing the edges gently. Transfer to a plate when both sides of paratha turn light brown. It takes about 2 minutes to cook each paratha.
Repeat the process; keep parathas covered until ready to serve.
Serve with dhal and vegetable or yoghurt dish.
Tips and variations:
To spice up chapatis, add ½ teaspoon ground cumin and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper to the flour.
To increase heart protecting nutrients of chapatis, add 2 teaspoons LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds) to the flour. It is available in supermarkets.
Make chapatis with 1 cup wholemeal flour and ½ cup oatmeal flour or barley flour or soy flour. The soluble fibre in oats and barley can help lower cholesterol levels. Soy flour contains high quality protein, antioxidants and soluble fibre.
Per chapati: energy 688 kJ (164 cal); protein 5 g; fat 7 g; saturated fat 1 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 22 g; fibre 4 g; calcium 12 mg; iron 1.1 mg; sodium 3 mg
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil + 4 teaspoons extra
¼ - ½ cup warm water
Flour for dusting
Parathas are usually made with ‘atta’ which is finely ground whole wheat. ‘Atta’ is available in Indian grocery stores. Buy the ‘atta’ with the highest fibre (>5%) content.