Chapatis: easier than they look

Chapatis are not a lot of work to make. If you’re Australian (of British descent), think scones. A bit of flour, some butter and some whey (or water), and there you have them in a flash. They go well with whatever Nepalese, or Indian, curry we happen to have.

My other half become a confirmed chapati fan in Nepal, but after watching our Nepalese guide give some poor woman a cooking lesson when her chapati didn’t meet his exacting standards, I believed for years that they were too hard for me. Maybe our guide’s mum was just a really good cook. They really aren’t too hard.

I have to admit, I didn’t know how easy they are to make until recently. Perhaps my chapatis wouldn’t meet Nepalese standards, but the boys in my family love them.

Chapati: fresh and hot straight off the pan

Chapati: fresh and hot straight off the pan


  • Servings: 9-10 chapatis
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 ounce of butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • up to ¼ cup of whey (you can use water)


  1. Rub the butter into about half the flour and the salt, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Progressively add the whey and the rest of the flour until all the flour has been incorporated and you have a beautifully soft dough.
  3. If you have the time and inclination, cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about an hour.
  4. Tear off a piece of dough and roll it into a walnut-sized ball. Flatten it onto a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a (roughly) 6-inch circle.

    Roll out the chapati dough to a circle about six-inches across

    Roll out the chapati dough to a circle about six-inches across

  5. Dry-cook it in a heavy-based frying pan or a griddle (you don’t want oily chapatis). You will need only a couple of minutes on each side. How do you know when the first side is done? When it puffs up with what looks like bubbles. It’s really the hot air trapped underneath, but it can look amazing. The second side only needs a minute, or even less.
  6. Put the finished chapatis on a warm plate, and wrap them to keep them warm. I usually just pop them in the top of our thermal cooker.


You don’t have to use whey. We do because we have it from making paneer, and it gives us good soft dough.

Chapati: delicious and easy to make

Chapati: delicious and easy to make


7 thoughts on “Chapatis: easier than they look

    • You are so fortunate. When I was little, our takeaway treats were more in the order of a newspaper-wrapped serve of (hot) chips or an ice block. Maybe that’s why I think these are so special!

      I’m happy to have prompted some good memories for you.


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