When I married Sujoy, I knew cooking. I used to help my mom in the kitchen and on many occasions cooked meals too before marriage. So cooking was not a big issue for me. The real issue was making chapatis.
Sujoy is a Bengali and I am a Konkani, so it was good in a way that chapati was never a staple food in our diet. We were happy with our fish and rice 🙂 But sometimes I used to crave for chapatis, especially when I used to make mutter paneer or that thin spicy red chicken gravy. While in India, it was easier to get good homemade chapatis from outside. The real problem started when we shifted to US.
With no good outside chapati options, I tried to make chapatis at home. It was a disaster. Kneading the dough was a task, rolling out the chapatis even a bigger nightmare and the cooking of chapati tedious! The end result was a chapati which was thick like a brick and crunchy like a papad (I still joke on my papad chapatis)! I gave up on the thought of making chapatis.
I shied away from making chapatis and either stuck to puris or snacks like pav bhaji when I invited folks over at home. I gave up and thought ‘making soft chapatis is not my thing’.
But this kept on bothering me as I did not have an alternative available to good home made chapatis. Thus started the quest of chapati making research. I asked my friends to send videos of the process, watched some youtube videos, saw my sister preparing chapatis and browsed blogs. And yet whenever I tried making chapatis, the result was not as per my expectations. I still sucked at making chapatis but they were better than the earlier papads.
In the entire process, I learnt step by step. I first learnt that my kneading is not as prescribed. I used very little water and kneaded a hard dough. Hence the crunchy papad like chapatis. I corrected that. Then I learnt that my tava temperature was too high and the chapati was getting burnt due to it. I kept my cast iron griddle aside which used to remain heated and bought a new anodized griddle. Then I learnt kneading the dough and keeping it in an airtight container for at least 30 minutes makes the chapatis softer. I did that. Later I learnt, we should first mix the salt and oil very well in the atta so that oil fats get emulsified in the atta and then add water gradually. I implemented that.
I started making chapatis more often, twice a week to be specific. Slowly the number increased and as I practised this art of chapati making, I improved by leaps and bounds. I learnt at every step. Today I prepare such soft chapatis that I myself can’t believe that I prepared those chapatis. I am confident to invite guests over and feed them with chapatis prepared by me, though giving them a fair warning that they aren’t the best. That just gives me a leverage as the expectations are set low 😉
I am still working on the shape though, but who cares when the chapati now is so fluffy! I am so content with my chapati quality that I bought a 20 lbs atta packet recently while earlier I was content with a 4 lbs packet which lasted for months. Now, isn’t that a big feat?
Why am I telling you this chapati story today? To make you realize the imperfect chapati in your life. What is that imperfect chapati in your life which you have shying away from, thinking you are not good at it at all? Practice makes man perfect and trust me you can make perfect chapatis too 🙂
I wouldn’t have been writing this blog today if I wouldn’t have practised writing consistently for 2 years now. I wouldn’t have been writing today if I would have given up writing at my first rejection. I wouldn’t have told you the story of my imperfect chapatis today if I would have stopped writing hearing the early writing criticisms.
So how about not giving up and working on those imperfect chapatis diligently?