My chapati journey has been a long one to say the least. As much as I love to cook chapati nowadays, I woke up one day at 2am in the morning and cooked chapati because I had a chapati craving, it has been a growth curve for me. Growing up in an African setting, knowing how to cook is not a luxury or a maybe-you’ll-learn-to-cook kind of thing. It is a REQUIREMENT! You were thrown into deep waters and you had to learn to swim or survive in the kitchen. So back to chapati lessons. Whenever mom would cook, she’d require us to sit and watch her cook and learn because “kesho ni wewe utapika” (tomorrow is your day to cook). Cooking chapati was a chore we all hated but after a while I think I was the only one who actually enjoyed being in the kitchen. So we would cook and the chapatis would turn out shapeless and hard as biscuits! Complaining hoping mom would take over since we had butchered the chapatis, she would wave her finger at us “hizo chapati ngumu na shapeless ndio tutakula tuu!” and tell us we would all eat those chapatis until we learnt. Needless to say, we enjoyed the chapatis as they were until it was no longer a chore, for me at least, my sister still hates cooking chapati she would rather eat rice or noodles. For me the secret to making soft chapati is hot water, you start off nu kneading with a spoon before the water cools off then use hands to knead until smooth. For this process however you need warm water to knead flour because the dough becomes too soft if water is too hot. The DOUGH is what makes a GOOD chapati, get that right and you will enjoy making delicious soft chapati. So lets get on with it.


3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2-3 Cups Water
Pinch Salt
1/4 Cup Oil for kneading
Oil for cooking


You can use this chapati recipe on how to make the dough. Then divide dough into round evenly shaped balls

Roll out the dough to your desired thickness

Spread oil on the round rolled out dough

Lift the edge of the dough slightly

Make the 1st fold/fan

Lift the edge of the dough and make the 2nd fold or fan

Pinch both ends of the dough to hold the dough

Make a 3rd fold/fan and pinch edges of both ends

Make a 4th fold/fan and pinch edges of both ends

Make 5th fold/fan and pinch edges of both ends

Make 6th fold/fan and pinch edges of both ends

Lift the last part of the dough and press on the folds

Starting from the tip of the dough press gently so that the folds kind of stick together

Continue pressing along the line

Press to the end of the long dough

Go back to the tip of the long dough and start rolling towards the center

Keep rolling

Make sure the folds are aligned and straight as you roll

Roll tightly to prevent the folds from coming undone

Roll until the tip of the long rolled dough

Tuck in the tip of the last end of the dough

Gently press the dough to make a round shape and the tucked tip to stick to the dough do that it does not unravel

How the finished dough looks like

Flour your work surface and on top of the dough and start rolling

Roll as you turn dough to try and bring out a round shape

Lift the dough, and flip it

Sprinkle more flour and roll second side

Roll to your desired dough size but not too thin or too thick

You will get a perfectly round shaped chapati dough

Roll out as many dough as you can before cooking do that it will not be a hustle when you start cooking

Set one chapati dough on a tawa/pan without oil. Let the chapati cook a few minutes until slight bubbles form at the top and dough darkens a bit

Flip the chapati and pour a tablespoon of oil on top

Spread the oil evenly on the surface of the chapati

Flip the chapati again

Add oil on the first side that has slightly browned

Spread the oil evenly on the surface of the chapati

Keep flipping every few minutes. Do not add any more oil at this point

Press the chapati with spoon or spatula which presses it on the hot pan to give more brown spots

Once you are satisfied with the dark brown colored spots on the chapati flip for the last time

Remove the cooked chapati from the pan and place in a serving dish to keep warm as you finish the rest

The chapati are soft with layers, what we like to call “kitabu” effect. Literally translates to a book since books have many pages, just like your chapati will have

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