I love Indian food, and I love salsa with homemade tortilla chips. How to combine the two? Replace the tortillas with chapati, the salsa with raita, and bang! Spiced Chapati Chips With Garden Veggie Raita Dip is served. The chips are gorgeously rustic, hearty, and have a baked-on crunchy coating of rich Indian spices. The dip is cool, creamy, and has chunks of fresh garden veggies in every bite. It’s the perfect counterpoint to the spicy chips – just like the raita in your favorite Indian restaurant. And if you aren’t familiar with Indian food, this is a great get-acquainted recipe. My boyfriend described this as a perfect chip and dip combo for a hipster football party; since we’re neither hipsters nor football fans, I don’t know where that came from or why it rings true, but it does.
If you love Indian food, you probably know about raita. If you’re not familiar, here’s the scoop. It’s a simple yogurt-based cool-down condiment, common in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cooking. Imagine the taste of plain yogurt, boosted with just a little spice and studded with bits of vegetables or fruit. It tastes great on its own, but it’s absolute heaven when combined with spicy food. It’s sort of in the same ballpark as using sour cream to temper spicy Mexican food. To me, raita and Indian spices is one of the great all-time flavor combinations, right up there with peanut butter and jelly. It’s usually fairly thin, and meant to be ladled over food, but because I wanted mine thick enough to be a dip, I turned my yogurt into Greek yogurt before mixing in the veggies and spices. I chose to add cucumbers, tomato and onion to my raita, but you could use most any veggies or even fruit that you like, and it will be delicious.
Chapatis are a sort of hearty, chewy flatbread, pretty similar to tortillas. They’re common in Indian restaurants, but easy enough to make at home. They’re usually made with whole wheat flour, or a combination of whole wheat and white flour, mixed with water to form a dough, rolled into flat discs and cooked over medium heat until they’re puffy and just start to brown. There are plenty of resources giving great advice on chapati-making online, but no two cooks seem to make them the same way. I watched some videos, read some recipes, and found a method that worked for me using bits and pieces of all the helpful stuff I found.
Since it’s healthy, hearty, and has a lot of flavor, I went with 100% whole wheat flour for my chips. As you can see, this made a sturdy, slightly thick, very rustic sort of chip, which was just what I wanted. If you’d like your chips to be a little more delicate, you could use half white flour and half wheat flour.
Spiced Chapati Chips With Garden Veggie Raita Dip
For the chips:
2 cups whole wheat flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt or salt substitute
3/4 – 1 cup water (use more if needed)
Note – many chapati recipes call for a few tablespoons of oil to be kneaded into the dough. Many others say that this is optional and unnecessary. I’ve tried both, and I recommend skipping the oil.
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil for brushing on the finished chapatis
Various Indian Spices, as much or little as you want (I sprinkled on McCormick’s garam masala and red curry powder blends, but you could use any combination of the following: ground ginger, coriander powder, chili powder, cumin powder, allspice, fennel seed, garlic powder, onion powder)
salt or salt substitute to taste
For the dip:
2 cups plain fat free yogurt, either soy or regular
1/2 a medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 a medium onion, grated
a few tablespoons grated carrot
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (try to squish as much juice out of them as you can)
2 – 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt or salt substitute to taste
Start by making the chapati dough. Put the flour in a large bowl, and stir in the salt. Make a little well in the middle of the flour, pour in some of the water, and use your hands to start mixing it in. Keep working in the water until you have a soft dough. If you don’t need all the water, no worries. Knead the dough for about five minutes, or until it’s smooth and not sticky. Cover it with a cloth, and set it aside to rest while you get started on the dip.
To make the dip, you’ll first need to turn your yogurt into thick Greek yogurt. If you’re pressed for time, you can just buy Greek yogurt, but if you’re not, making your own is a great way to save some money. Take a medium bowl, set a colander on top of it, and line the colander with coffee filters or paper towels. Dump the yogurt into the colander, cover it with a paper towel, and place it in the fridge to drain. It takes about two hours to get it to a sour cream-like consistency, but you can let it drain longer if you’d like yours even thicker. Getting your yogurt nice and thick is a good idea, since you’ll be adding vegetables which naturally contain a lot of water. While the yogurt’s draining and the dough resting, prepare the vegetables and mix them together in a medium bowl. Put them in the fridge until you’re ready to mix them into the yogurt.
Now you can get on to the fun part – making the chapatis. To make cleanup easier, I suggest lining your work surface with waxed paper before you start. Get out the dough, divide it in half, divide those halves in half, etc, until you’ve got 16-20 pieces of dough, roughly the size of golf balls. Roll each piece between your palms until they’re round and without cracks (it may help to flour your hands a bit first), then smoosh them lightly until they’re little disks.
Now you’re ready to roll. Have your dough disks handy, a rolling pin ready, and a plate of flour standing by. I found it was easy to flop my dough disks in the flour before rolling, and then sprinkle on a little more flour to keep them from sticking to the work surface or the rolling pin. Place a medium sized frying pan on medium – medium high heat. When you think the pan’s hot enough, make sure by flicking in a few drops of water. If they sizzle and evaporate quickly, the pan’s hot enough.
Grab a dough disk and roll it out, working from the middle, until it’s about 1/6″ thick. Place it in the hot pan and let it cook for about 30-40 seconds. You’ll see the surface begin to bubble and become a little translucent. Use a spatula to flip it over, and let it cook some more.
At this point, it may begin to puff up in a serious way, which is good. That means steam is cooking it from the inside out, and your chapati will have nice, tender layers. If your chapati is not puffing up, just press it gently with a spatula, and air bubbles should begin to form. If it just won’t puff up no matter what you do, don’t worry. It’ll still be tasty.
If you like to be efficient in the kitchen, roll out the next chapatis while one is cooking. Each one should only take about four minutes to cook.
Once the chapatis are all made, you’re ready to make some chips and dip. Keep a few chapatis aside for covert snacking, of course. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and get out a cookie sheet. One by one, brush both sides of each chapati lightly with olive oil, and then sprinkle them with spices and seasonings. Cut them into wedges or strips, and arrange them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake them for about eight minutes, or until they start to brown and get crispy. No need to turn them halfway through baking.
Get those out of the oven, and whip up your dip while they cool. Just mix the yogurt with all the other ingredients, and shazzam. You’re done. If you want to take your dip to the next level, where people literally swoon from how good it is, cook the coriander and cumin in about a teaspoon of hot olive oil before adding them. This will make their flavors much richer, and your dip will taste incredible. Before you serve, snip a little extra cilantro over the dip to make it look totally fresh and tasty.