When you are in a rush and have to make dinner, it is easier to focus on just the dal and raita and not worry about making chapatis. Here’s a product I use whenever I am short on time to make the chapathis – Kawan frozen chapattis. This is not an advertisement, but a time hack idea. Instead of mixing, kneading and rolling out the dough, this one just requires cooking it on the tawa to get the final product.
Are you skeptical of frozen?
When I first came to the US, I avoided the frozen foods aisle (well, maybe except for the ice creams :)). But scientifically, freezing food is a fantastic form of preservation. The cold temperatures prevents the growth of pathogens and does not require preservatives to keep it from spoiling. Frozen food is a great choice both nutritionally as well as a convenient option. I strongly encourage my readers to consider more frozen products in their diet.
In US and other developed nations, there is a good supply chain with temperature controlled frozen products at manufacturing sites, trucks, warehouses and stores.
If you are worried about fluctuating temperatures and the safety of food product where you live, that is a valid concern. I will add, if you are heating your product above 165, that should kill bacteria and improve food safety. Chapathi is cooked on the tawa (around 300 – 350F) thus making the food safe to eat.
Taste and other opinions
Regarding the taste, it’s not going to be the same as made-from-scratch obviously!! Nothing will be as tasty as making from scratch. It is not just because food companies are looking at the bottom line, it is also because of limitations of food processing.
But on a busy day, this is a great helper for me. By the time the dal is boiling, I get these out and make them without worrying about flour on the counter and kids reminding me every other minute that they are hungry.
A tip while making these – let it stay cold as long as possible. If you leave the dough out too long before making them, the dough starts sticking to the sheets. If it is frozen/cold, it pops right out of the sheet.
I looked up information on this company and apparently Kawan, is located in Malaysia and is doing so well that they are adding a new factory to keep up with its demand. 60% of its demand is from US and it has also started advertising in India. It seems legit as far as Google research goes.
Let us look at the pros and cons of this frozen product
1. Saves time
2. Neatly packaged in layers, the dough does not stick to each other
3. Made with minimal ingredients, no preservatives (most frozen food do not need preservatives)
4. Since it has oil blended with the dough, you don’t need to add oil when heating it.
1. Uses margarine (hydrogenated palm oil) as one of the ingredients
2. Tastes decent when hot, but gets dry and chewy when cold
3. So much plastic sheets between each layer – not good for the environment
I really have a problem with the hydrogenated palm oil in the product. It also contains palm oil which is a saturated fat. I wish they would use a healthier oil. But, for now, that is a trade-off I am willing to make on days I don’t have time. You have to make your decision based on the health needs of your family. If you have a family member with health issues or you wish to avoid giving hydrogenated oil for your kids, you have to continue to look for alternatives.
Always, always look at the ingredients before buying and make an informed decision.
My other options for chapathi
Other than making it myself, I sometimes buy fully cooked ones from Indian stores. These are made by a local cook and taste great if eaten the same day or next. Any longer, it dries up and I have to add more ghee to make it soft and pliable before eating.
I also buy fresh tortillas and pitas from local grocery stores. While they do help out from time to time, they don’t feel quite right when paired up with daal or raita.
What are your time hacks for making chapati? Please share your ideas, I look forward to hearing them.