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Thursday, 20 June 2013

How to Make Kenyan Chapati

Chapati is very common not just in Kenya but other countries although it goes by different names. It is a flat bread prepared using wheat flour. It is usually served in many occasions and celebrations. It is not difficult to prepare but one needs practice in order to get the right measurements of flour and water.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Salt
  • Oil
  1. Add flour to a large bowl and add salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the water and mix to form a smooth dough. Knead it and if it is too sticky add a little more flour. 
  3. Add oil to the dough and continue kneading until the oil is evenly spread and the dough does not stick to the hands.
  4. Using a knife, cut the dough into a handful and form a ball. Make balls with the entire dough and place them on a floured tray or surface.
  5. Sprinkle flour onto a rolling board or flat working surface. Taking one ball of dough at a time, roll them using a rolling pin to a circular shape.
  6. Using a spoon, drip oil around the dough and spread evenly. Take the edges and fold to form a coil then to a circular ball as shown below. Let them stand for a few minutes.
 7. Place a frying pan or heavy bottomed skillet on heat and warm it. In the meantime, take one dough and roll out on a floured rolling board or flat working surface. Spread it into a circular shape.
8. When the frying pan or skillet is hot enough, transfer the rolled out dough onto it. Cook for about two minutes then move it around the pan without turning over.
9.  Cook for another two to three minutes then turn over and cook the other side. In the meantime, take another ball of dough and roll out like the first one.
10. Using a spoon, spread oil evenly onto the chapati on the skillet then turn over and do the same to the other side. Cook for a minute then remove from heat. Repeat the procedure for the remaining dough.

The oil is necessary not only for nutritional purposes but also to make the chapatis soft and manageable while cooking. Too little oil can leave the chapatis dry and hard. Do not use a lot of salt.

They are usually served with any type of stew, soup or vegetable dish. They can also be served  with other dishes like rice or pilau especially during feasts. They are very popular in restaurants and hotels where one can have them with tea.


  1. That has made my day. Its as i expected and thanks for writing this piece. I was looking for information to teach a friend from Zimbabwe how to make Kenyan chapati. Thanks once again. Just to add, if you could make a video to show just what you have explained there, then it would be wonderful.

    1. Thank you Tigerkia for the feedback. I will start making videos and sharing them soon.

  2. Thank you for this recipe! Worked wonderfully. I am a Zimbabwean that feels somehow cheated of this beautiful food that I only discovered at age 19 when I left Zim and met Kenyans! Now I can make my own after this :)

    1. Thank you too and I'm glad to be of assistance. It is indeed a very beautiful food and I am sure you will love it.

  3. Great! Add some sugar and they're pristine! Although mine were quite thick

  4. Thanks Brian. The one thing about cooking is that you can always add various ingredients to make your food more delicious.

  5. fridah mutegi7 March 2014 13:01

    Thanks for the tip i will surely try this method

    1. Fridah, do try it out and I'm sure you will love them.

  6. Hi Esther,

    Thanks for this post, I have tried cooking chapatti but they always come out hard and not round and I wanted to know what to do to make them soft and also round? Is it in the mixing?

    1. Hi. In my experience cooking chapattis, I have come to notice that oil makes a difference in the texture.Use a generous amount in the dough when mixing and also when frying on the pan, and it will help make them softer.