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Final Recipe: Chipati


  • Wheat Flour
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Warm Water

This will be the final recipe that I can post, having learned no others. This is a pretty straightforward recipe, although it can be time-consuming. First, you heat the water. Add a small amount of salt to it, about a teaspoon. Taking about 6-8 cups of flour, add the water in slowly, as well as about 1/3 cup of oil. Knead the living crap out of this dough; fold it and press. Add water as needed. Eventually, you will have a dough that doesn't stick to the sides of your bowl, and of which you can pinch off a little, plus you'll have worked up a good sweat; that's how you know the dough is ready. Make balls about the size of baseballs or oranges. Take each ball, and roll out into a flat, round shape, like a big pancake. These should be the size and shape of about a medium pizza. Then, take a spoonful of oil, and smear it all across the top. Cut the entire thing in half, and roll it straight up. Given its half-circular shape, it will make a little tower. Tuck the last flap into the thicker end and stand it, like the London Tower. Next, start pushing the tower into itself, starting towards the base, so that the tip of the tower is pressed into what develops as a bun last. Do this with each ball, ending up with two buns from each. This whole process was done to mix in more oil. Next, take each bun and roll it out again, into about the same size and shape as the previous pancakes. You should have a heated flat pan prior to doing this; do not make it very hot, you want the dough to cook slowly. Cook each cake individually, leaving it in the pan long enough to whiten the dough and have little spots of brown; as they cook, spin them lightly and gently with your fingers. You'll end up with what looks very much like tortillas, which is probably about right. However, you're not done yet. Once you've cooked all the dough, take stacks of about 6-8 of the "tortillas" and place them back on the pan. Smear the top one with oil, and then flip the entire stack. Smear this top one with oil, and repeat the flip. Now the top one has been oiled and cooked, and looks browned, so flip it by itself and smear its other side with oil. Then, flip the whole stack and repeat. You'll be able to cook each one this way, removing them after you've oiled and cooked each side. It's not as complicated as you might think.

Once you've cooked these chipatis, you can eat them. Kenyans traditionally eat most foods by hand, and chipatis are great as eating utensils to pick up rice, beans and other foods. And as closely related as they might be to tortillas, they have a much better taste.


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