Italians may have to eat pasta everyday, but the Indians…well, they could’nt live without their daily chapatis ! They are one of the most common forms in which wheat, the staple of northern South Asia, is consumed. Chapati is a form of roti or rotta (bread). The words are often used interchangeably. While roti or rotta refers to any flat unleavened bread, chapati is a roti made of whole wheat flour and cooked on a tava (flat skillet).
Few minutes walk from Bukit Bintang, just in front of the Bintang palace, i found this busy food stall, where everyday, indian food is served. One can choose from dozens of different curries, kormas, tikka masala dishes, plus of course, roti canai and more traditional Malay classics. But it’s only for few hours a day, normally between 11 and 15 pm, that real chapatis are prepared and served. They are freshly made, and cooked singularly one after the other, because the only good chapati is the fresh one. You cannot store the dough for too long. After the dough is flattened, it’s cooked on a tawa: the first side gets the main cooking, and the second is quickly done. Then the chapati is brought to your table, and it usually takes few minutes to get yours ready, that’s why i always try to get here quite early, in order to avoid the lunchbreak crowds.
You can always tell the quality of a product by the variety of the clientele sitting on the tables: when you see malay women in their colourful dress, eating indian chapatis together with Chinese business girls, you know that there is some serious cooking going on there.