Chapati is one of the most popular dishes in Kenya, and it is enjoyed all across Africa. The classic Kenyan Chapati is made with flour, water, and salt, and it can be eaten with a variety of different toppings. This blog post will show you how to make East African Chapati with Beef Stew. This dish is full of flavor, and I’m sure you will love it!
What is Chapati?
Chapati is a staple in East Africa and was influenced by the wave of Indian immigrants, who have, for instance, integrated into forming the Indian community of Tanzania. Indian influence on Africa, particularly Kenyan food, has always been apparent, with the invention of dishes like biriyani (a spiced rice dish) and the introduction of new spices to the local cuisine.
From using indigenous ingredients to incorporating spices in their cooking, East African cuisine has always been a delightful mix of local traditions with a touch of Indian flavors.
All-purpose Flour: We always add flour to ensure the Chapati dough is sturdy enough to be rolled out and cooked.
Water: The warm water helps bind the flour together and create a soft, pliable dough.
Salt: Chapati needs salt for flavor.
Olive Oil or Margarine: You need a little oil or margarine to cook the Chapatis.
Sugar (optional): You can add sugar to the Chapati dough if you want a sweeter taste.
Beef Stew: The beef stew is the main attraction of this dish and is full of flavor and richness.
My favorite variations are classic, spinach, and chili. Just mix 1/2 cup of spinach or 1/2 chili pepper with 1 cup of water and add it to the dough. This will give the Chapati a beautiful green or red color and add an extra layer of flavor.
- Chapati dough should always be soft and pliable. If it is too dry, add a few teaspoons of water to bring it to the desired consistency.
- Divide the dough on your work surface into equal balls.
- Roll out the dough as thin as possible to cook evenly using a rolling pin. Once you have a perfect circle, lightly brush the rolled-out dough with oil or margarine using a pastry brush, and then flip it over and do the same to the other side.
- Use a nonstick skillet or griddle when cooking the Chapatis, and make sure to set it to medium heat.
- Cook the Chapatis for about 30 seconds on each side or until golden brown and have a few light char marks.
- Serve the Chapati with your favorite beef stew recipe or any other type of sauce or gravy. Enjoy!
Can I use an Air Fryer to make Chapatis?
Yes, you can use an air fryer to make Chapatis – preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the Chapatis for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and have a few light char marks.
How to store the Chapatis
If you have any leftover dough, store the remaining balls in a zip-top bag or an airtight container in the fridge. You can keep them for up to 2 days. You can reheat them in the oven, microwave, or air fryer.
Apart from the beef stew, you can also serve the Chapati with various side dishes. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Sauteed vegetables: Add your favorite vegetables to a saute pan and cook until they are tender. Season them with salt, pepper, and herbs for extra flavor.
- Curried lentils: Cook some lentils in a pot with some water and spices until soft.
- Sukuma Wiki: This is a traditional East African dish made from collard greens, onions, and tomatoes.
- Beans or green grams: Cook some beans or green grams in a pot with water and spices until soft. This is a great dish to serve with the Chapatis if you like bean stew.
Is Chapati Indian or African?
Chapati is a dish influenced by Indian immigrants who came to East Africa. It is now considered a staple in East African cuisine but essentially consists of the same ingredients as the Indian Chapati.
Can I use whole wheat flour to make Chapati?
Yes, but the Chapatis may have a slightly different consistency.
Can I make the Chapati dough ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the Chapati dough ahead of time. Store it in a zip-top bag or an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
Is it possible to freeze the Chapati?
Yes, you can freeze the Chapati dough. When you are ready to use it, thaw it out in the fridge overnight and then roll it out as usual. Use plastic wrap or an airtight container and freeze for up to two months.
How to make sure they don’t get hard?
To make sure the Chapatis come out soft and fluffy, roll out the dough as thin as possible and cook them on a nonstick skillet or griddle. It is also important to set the heat to medium-high.
What kind of spices do you use in East African Chapati?
The spices used in East African Chapati vary depending on the region. However, common herbs include salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Feel free to experiment with different spices to find your favorite combination.
Can you make gluten-free Chapatis?
Yes, you can make gluten-free Chapatis. Just use a gluten-free flour blend to make the dough.
EAST AFRICAN CHAPATI WITH BEEF STEW
FOR THE STEW:
- 1 ⅛ pound Stewing beef cut into small chunks
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup Water to boil the meat
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
- 1 Red onion diced
- 2 Sage leaves
- 3 Tomatoes diced
- 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
- 1 Green bell pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon Curry powder locally known as binzari
- 1 cup Beef stock
- 1 cup All-purpose flour
- 1 cup Wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon Sugar optional
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Warm water
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
FOR THE STEW:
- Season beef with salt and boil until tender. Then set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan, add the onion and sage leaves, then fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste and let it cook until mushy.
- Add chopped pepper and curry powder and keep stirring for 4 – 5 minutes.
- Drain meat and add to the saucepan cook until excess water is absorbed.
- Add the beef stock according to the consistency you want your beef stew to have.
- Let it cook for about 25 minutes, remove from heat, transfer to serving bowl.
FOR THE CHAPATI:
- Make a well at the center of the flour in a large plastic bowl, add sugar, salt, water, and margarine or oil.
- Knead the combination to make a soft, sticky dough.
- Transfer to a flat, intensely floured surface and continue to knead for at least 10 minutes. Keep adding flour as needed to form a soft and elastic dough.
- Divide the dough into 4 to 6 pieces and allow it to rest for around 30 minutes.
- Roll out dough pieces each into a circle and set aside.
- Heat some oil over low heat.
- Add chapati and heavily oil on each side of the chapati without forgetting the edges.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating the chapati and turning each side until golden brown.
- Serve warm with the stew.