Chapatis, the daily bread of millions of Indians, are cooked first on a dry hotplate, then held directly over a flame, where they swell with steam to the point of bursting.
1 1/2 cups flour (I like kamut, freshly ground)
2/3 C water, the amount of water being adjusted on the fineness of the flour
herbs or spices for medicine & flavour
Place flour in a deep bowl. Now add any herbs or spice you wish, we like basil, cumin, tumeric, oregano, thyme, garlic, etc & mix. Make a hole in the middle & add appropriate amount of water; mix well by hand. Rub a little oil or ghee on your hands & knead dough into fairly dry, smooth ball, 6-8 minutes. Add flour or water as needed to achieve a workable elastic consistency. The dough should not stick to hands or be dry & hard. With you knuckles make a few indentations in the dough. Sprinkle with water & cover. Allow dough to stand for a few hours. Ideally dough should be kneaded a second time just before dividing. The softer the dough, the easier to cook.
To Roll Out Dough:
Knead well. Divide dough into large walnut sized balls. On a lightly floured surface flatten one ball with your hand. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a thin, round patty about 5" diameter. Roll from the center, turning patty several times to prevent sticking. Shape & cook each one as soon as it is shaped.
Preheat cast iron over medium. Remove excess flour from chapati with a few slaps between hands. Flip the stretched & aerated patty onto skillet. When colour changes & bubbles appear, turn over & cook until the surface bulges with air pockets.
When both sides are done use kitchen tongs to remove chapati from skillet.
If you have a gas stove, hold cooked chapati over medium flame & it will puff up immediately. Turn quickly to flame bake the other side. A finished chapati will be cooked completely with no wet spots, freckled with brown spots on both sides.
Repeat process until all chapatis are cooked. Serve hot dry or top brushed with ghee or butter.