Chapat is the Parsi culture's equivalent of a crepe because it is on the thinner side but it is commonly known as a Parsi pancake too.
Traditionally Chapat is enjoyed as a delicious snack with a good cup of Parsi chai which is sweet black tea, with milk and sugar added and infused with all sorts of beautiful aromatic spices - the combination tastes heavenly!
Parsi Chapat has a wonderful blend of ground cardamom and nutmeg added which delivers that distinctive Parsi flavor! When I was a little girl my Katie Granna (my grandmother) would make these for us and her chapat is still the best I have ever eaten - I guess the secret ingredient was her special grandmotherly love!
I've tried to honor her recipe with something very, very close and when I made these today I almost felt like she was with me in the kitchen and I was a child again. Taking inspriation from her, my recipe, like hers, has a touch of exquisite saffron and her unique addition of dessicated coconut. Coconut is not necessarily traditional in most chapat recipes but I think my Katie Granna was on to a winner here.
To make these more nutritious I made these with gut friendly spelt flour and coconut milk and found that both ingredients work extremely well as healthy, yet delicious substitutes in this recipe. Charoli (which resembles slightly darker, smaller pine nuts) - adds another level of beautiful, earthy, traditional flavor flavor. You can find Charoli at most good Indian grocery stores.
To turn these into a decadent dessert instead of a light snack, I have served these with my Home-made Spiced Ice-cream (recipe to come shortly) and pan fried bananas - so good! By the way, a quick reheat in the microwave and these will taste fresh as the day you made them and they will keep easily for a several days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Do not let your pan overheat or you will scorch the butter/ghee and burn your batter. If the butter is browning straight away on contact with the pan then it is too hot and your batter will burn
You want a hot pan but low heat, so once the pan is up to temperature, turn down as needed
The little "frills" on the end create a lovely, slightly crispy bite - so you don't need to create a smooth border
YOU WILL NEED
1 cup milk OR 1 cup coconut milk
Pinch of saffron strands
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon rose water (optional but nice)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (I like it a bit stronger but go for half and see how you go if you're not sure)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
¼ teaspoon salt (pinch)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup plain flour OR 3/4 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup flaked, slivered or chopped almonds (optional but yummy)
1 tablespoon charoli (optional)
Butter for frying your chapat (Use a cold cube of butter on a fork for a quick way to re-line your pan with butter between chapats (see more here). Alternatively you can also use ghee to cook your chapats.
In a glass jug, add the milk and saffron and place in the microwave for a minute OR gently warm on the stove in a small saucepan until you can see a slight yellowish hue in the milk and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl add the eggs, sugar, cooled milk, rose water (if using), vanilla essence and mix well.
Add the cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and salt and mix well.
Add the flour and dessicated coconut and whisk thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps.
Add the almonds and charoli if using and mix again.
Heat a non-stick pan approximately 20cm | 8" over low-medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of butter/ghee ensuring the whole base has a thin coating - if it doesn’t, add a bit more.
Once the butter/ghee is melted, add just under a 1/2 cup of the mixture into the pan, you should get a thin coating covering around 3/4 of the pan - don't make it too thin or it will be hard to turn.
When you can shake the pan and the batter and it slides easily (give it a good shake to check) flip and cook for another minute on the other side or until it is golden. Set aside on a plate once done.
Continue until the batter is finished.
Serve warm. (Can be reheated in the microwave.)