There’s something magical about making recipes from home that always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and puts a smile on my face. I think it’s the knowledge that somewhere, far away, in another world, my family members will eat (or are eating) a similar dish made from similar ingredients. It’s also the reason why I always drink a coffee at Starbucks whenever I get the chance – because my sisters and brother-in-law pop by there very often. Perhaps that’s just how I deal with homesickness 🙂
The challenge with coming back from my KL visits is the food cravings. Suddenly pastas and risottos have lost their appeal and all I can think about is curry, chapati, biryani, teh tarik, etc. When I’m home, I forget to eat a lot of my favourite dishes because I’m faced with such a big variety that it’s difficult to choose one. But when I’m back, I kick myself for not eating these dishes when I had the chance. It’s not that I don’t want to eat them, the heart screams for them, but the stomach says “Please, not more food..”
So, in an attempt to ignore jet lag (which is giving me this dull headache) and be a good girlfriend (the bf had to go back to work the day after we reached Oslo, I had the day off), I decided I’d make something nice – like Chapati with Fish Curry.
To me, making Chapati is a bit of an art. Chapati is like Indian pita and although it is not very difficult to make, for me, it has always been a hit or a miss. While re-stocking my dry ingredients cupboard with stuff I hauled across the globe, I stumbled upon a bag of “atta” flour and also found a tin of ghee in the fridge – so this is one of my more successful attempts 🙂
2 cups of wholewheat or “atta” flour
2 tablespoons ghee (you could add more if you feel like it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
- Sift flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl
- Spoon ghee into flour mixture and gently crumble it with the flour to get a mixture resembling bread crumbs. Honestly this is a bit tricky with ghee. Previously I did this with butter and it was easier to see the bread crumbs-like texture. I think the ghee just melted with heat from my fingers. I thought the chapatis might not turn out well because of this but I tried it anyway and they definitely did not taste bad.
- Slowly drizzle the water into the flour mixture and knead until a dough forms. Divide the dough into small portions (little balls), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rest for approximately 30 minutes. I placed it in the fridge but I think you can also leave it outside.
- When you want to make the chapatis, roll each ball out onto a floured surface thinly. My mother normally rolls them out not-very-thin which always turns out very well. I kind of rolled mine out a little bit thinner which sped up the time they take to cook but in retrospect, I probably should have rolled them out not-very-thin, perhaps 2mm thickness. Though, once the cooked chapatis had cooled, the thickness see to resemble the kind my mother makes.
- Heat a non-stick pan or tawa and place the chapati onto it once the pan is hot enough.
- Cook gently by pressing on the bubbles that form with a clean paper towel, folded into four or eight to shield your fingers from the heat. I usually spoon a few drops of ghee to help the chapati cook better (and look better). I may be wrong here so if you know a chapati expert, please consult him/her 😉
- Serve with a really good curry.
South Indian style Fish Curry
White fish – I usually use about 300gms of salmon
Mustard seeds (about 1 teaspoon), cumin and coriander (you can use the bottled ones .. just a pinch; if you want to use the real seeds, about 1 or 1/2 teaspoon each .. a small piece of cinammon and star anise
1 large onion – slice into rings or long strips
A bit of tamarind – 1 tablespoon of the paste (according to your taste)
1 eggplant and two medium sized tomatoes (optional) cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons of curry powder (you can get special meat or seafood type, but if you can’t, then normal asian curry powder is good enough)…the powder determines how thick your curry will be
1 tablespoon of chilli powder (or even chilli paste is alright)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
A pinch of salt, according to your taste
- Fry the onions with the mustard, coriander and cumin seeds. Then, once the onion pieces are soft, add a mixture of water, turmeric powder, chilli powder, and curry powder. The amount of water you add determines how much curry you will get.
- Let mixture boil for awhile (about 15-20 minutes so that the curry does not have a powder-ish taste and thickens properly). Optionally, you can add in some chopped tomatoes and eggplant when the curry starts to boil
- Add in fish and reduce the heat a little. The fish will start to cook. The curry is not done as long as it does not taste smooth.
- Boil for a few more minutes until the curry is smooth and a little bit of oil rises to the top.
I guess I should reward you with a photograph for reading (or scrolling) to the bottom of this post, right? 🙂
Excuse my strangely shaped chapati – rolling out circles is not my strong suit.