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Friday, 11 November 2011

How to eat with Chapathis / Indian Tortillas

I realized that for a person who can't even pronounce Chapati, eating with it can be a huge task in itself! So I decided to write a 'How To' post on eating Indian curries with Chapatis. A few weeks ago, I came across  A Curry of Life. It documents the Indian-Food & other experiences of a Gori (Foreigner) married to a Desi (Indian). :-D And that's when I thought, "a post on How to eat with Chapatis will be better if someone who's *learned* to eat with them writes about it". And that's when I contacted Colleen Mahal. She has been generous enough to let me use this post for my blog.
Over to Colleen ~~

Meet Colleen Mahal
We love chapatis, but eating with chapatis can be a daunting task if you have not grown up eating with them and it took me a bit of time to get used to it.  I remember when I met Hubby and started learning more about Indian food, I had no clue about what to do with the accompanying Indian bread that comes with the meal.  The bread served with an Indian meal, either naan (yeast risen bread) or chapatis (whole wheat flat breads), are actually used as utensils and a spoon is sometimes only used once the bread has run out.
I used to eat an Indian meal as if I was having soup with a side of bread – eating spoonfuls of the main dish and taking separate bites of the chapati.  After watching Hubby eat, I bravely attempted the real way but squeezed all the food out of the chapati by pressing too hard and ended up not getting any kind of a decent bite.  The most entertaining was when I wrapped up the food in the chapati and tried to eat it like a burrito.
After a lot of trial and error I finally learned how to eat properly with chapatis. I remember back in college Hubby took me to an Indian Students Association banquet and when I sat down and began eating my meal, one of the Indian girls turned to me and said “you’re the first American we’ve seen eat Indian food with such finesse”, referring to how I knew to eat correctly with my chapatis.
I thought a lesson might be welcome on how to eat with your chapatis.  Using only one hand, Hubby can tear his chapati, fold it into a scoop and take a good sized bite without ever getting his fingers dirty. I’m not quite at this level yet, but I do know how to eat with my hands.
So let’s learn how to use the Indian bread as a utensil, rather than an accompaniment. I’m going to use chapatis as an example since this is what we have on a daily basis, but this applies to any type of Indian bread you have with your meal.
There are two methods to chapati use.  The dry food method and the wet food method.
For dry foods:  If the food is dry or more solid
First, tear off a bite size of the chapati.
Now just pinch up a bite size of the food.  With practice you will learn how to get a good grip and how to keep your fingers cleaner.  But in the beginning, make a mess, it’s fine.  Especially if you’re making your chapatis at home and not in a restaurant (as I hope you are attempting) then it’s a bit safer to make a mess.
For wet food with a curry or soupy daals, you need to scoop up the food as trying to pinch it will not work.
I usually tear of a double bite size for scooping because the folding makes it smaller.
Fold a corner down using your index finger and  pinch up the sides of the piece with your thumb and middle finger.  Hold your thumb, index and middle finger tight, pinching the chapati to form a triangle-scoop.
…and scoop up the meal.

Simple right?  Well, you’ll get the hang of it with practice and you will surely impress all your friends by your chapati eating know-how

Thanks a lot Colleen. 
I enjoyed reading the post even though I knew how to eat with Chapatis. Hope you all did too! Drop in at her blog & encourage her to keep up the awesome job she's doing... :-)


  1. a nice post, sure enjoyed reading it..!! Thanx for the follow and comments at my space..glad to follow u too..will check out the event !

  2. great post by Colleen! saw her site. looks beautiful

  3. definitely loved eating.. its good to read such posts.. it will remind us more on how to eat neatly ;)

  4. nice post.. enjoyed reading it.. so simple and basic but explained with such an attention to detail.....

  5. Hehe, this was fun to read. This post will surely help your foreign fan following ;)
    Also checking out Colleen's blog. Read neat! :)

  6. very nice guest post and sure enjoyed reading this...just checked our her space, very neat with lovely pictures...

  7. Sweet and honest post!

    I am an Indian and good to see others trying out :)

  8. Colleen is contagious :)) In a very good way. She makes me sit up and see Indian things in a very different way!! Don't you agree?

  9. Indians eat their food just like we the mexicans. We make the same with our tortillas I use the tortillas to scoop my food

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