2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup warm water, plus more as needed
1/3 to ½ cup ghee, melted, for rolling and cooking
MAKES 6 pieces of bread
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, vegetable oil, and warm water by hand to form a dough, adding a sprinkle more water if the dough is too dry and crumbly and doesn’t begin to come together after a minute or so. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes.
Cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rest 30 minutes. Knead the dough again for a few minutes and divide into 6 balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll a dough ball into a large thin circle, 8 to 10 inches wide, dusting with flour as needed. Brush the surface with about 1 teaspoon of the ghee. Roll the dough on itself into a cylinder and pinch the ends together. Repeat with each ball of dough.
Pick up a cylindrical piece of dough and create a long rope by holding the ends and twisting the dough in the air like a jump rope, being careful to move your hands to hold it where it’s strongest (not at the very tips as it stretches out, but a bit in towards the middle of the dough rope) so it doesn’t break. When the dough is 20 to 24 inches long, place it on a flat surface and wind it into a tight coil, pinching or tucking the ends in. Press down to flatten and put in a baking dish covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying out while preparing the others. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Roll each coiled round of dough back out into an 8-inch circle. Place in the dry skillet and cook until it begins to puff, 1 to 2 minutes.
Lift up the chapati, add about 1 teaspoon of the ghee to the pan, and flip. Cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Brush the first side with more ghee, flip, then cook 1 more minute, pressing down with a spatula. The total cooking time should be 3ó to 4 minutes.
Variation: CHAPATI WITH EGG
1 or 2 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper
After cooking the chapati on one side, flip as directed, adding more ghee, and pour the beaten egg over the top, letting it go underneath the dough to firm up and begin to cook; flip again after about 30 seconds and cook until done, another 30 seconds or so.
This flaky pan-fried South Asian bread has become ubiquitous on dinner tables throughout the Sultanate and can be found at all the casual, Indian-run restaurants. It is an essential accompaniment to Omani curries, called maraks. When making a batch, crack an egg over the frying bread after it has been flipped once for a quick, delicious breakfast (see the variation).
Gaspare Greco is the Executive Chef of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdhar Resort and has been at the helm of the resort’s restaurants and lounges since February 2017. In his current role he ensures the highest level of service at all of the resort’s dining options. Menus cater to all tastes, from Omani cuisine to South East Asian Cuisine and traditional English afternoon tea.
An industry veteran, Gaspare previously held the role of Executive Chef for Anantara Kihavah Resort and Villas in the Maldives, where he oversaw the operations of five dining outlets and two bars, spanning from poolside to fine dining. He also oversaw the pre-opening for Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara where he created the F&B concepts and designed the menus.
During his tenure he received the prestigious Minor 2014 Award for Excellence for Best Culinary, beating off competition from 135 Minor Hotels and Resorts. With a career spanning over 25 years, Gaspare has travelled the world, heading up kitchens in luxury hotels in Beirut, Bahrain, Dubai, West Indies, Bahamas and Canada. He was featured in the BBC’s World Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby in 2018.
Gaspare, a Canadian national, has a financial background and holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Diploma in Hotel Management from Centennial College in Toronto. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Hotel/Motel Administration Management from Centennial College School of Business.