African Chapatti Bread for the Family

Learn how team member and first-time Mom Christine adds Tanzanian delights to her list of healthy meals that appeal to toddler and hubby.

In this ongoing blog series, Christine, a budget-minded first-time Mom and Team Member, explores ways to create healthy, organic foods that appeal to both toddler and husband. Read the other posts in her ongoing series opens in a new tab.On a snowy winter afternoon, my mind wandered back to the summer of 2009, when my husband and I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Tanzania. This trip inspired me to add Tanzanian flavors (like curry, mango and mint) to dishes at home. Tanzania, typically known for its game areas, tropical beaches and Mt. Kilimanjaro, has some captivating culinary marvels. From 17 varietals of bananas to plump juicy mangos, goat meat and plantains, I am fascinated by traditional East African cuisine.

I am excited to share these simple, yet invigorating flavors with my son. Listening to “African Playground,” the Putamayo Kids CD, got us in the mood to cook our Tanzanian delights.

I invited my son to help me roll out the dough for the chapatti, unleavened flat bread that is an East African staple. And I paired the chapatti with a simple vegetarian curry dish.

Chapatti Recipe


¼ cup finely sliced organic onion

2 cups flour

Pinch of salt

Hot water (about 1 cup)



Chop or grate the onion into very small pieces. Then, mix the onion, flour and salt with enough hot water to make smooth, elastic dough. I used about a cup. Coat the ball of dough with oil and roll flat on a floured surface until ½-inch think. Let the dough sit for at least 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll into a round flat pancake (about ¼-inch thick). Be sure to have extra flour on hand to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the bread. This is the fun part! And if your kid is anything like mine, he’ll enjoy helping you roll the dough while getting covered with flour.

Now you can let your toddler play, while you do the cooking. Add enough oil to cover a griddle or frying pan, add one pancake and cook until the dough is set. This will take about 2 minutes. Then carefully lift the dough, add more oil to the pan and flip it, Cook until the dough is golden brown and bubbly (about 1 minute on this second side).

Repeat this process until you’ve cooked four pieces of chapatti for the family.

Tanzanian-Inspired Vegetarian Curry


1 large organic onion, chopped

1 organic green pepper, chopped

2 organic tomatoes, chopped

2 cans organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

¼ cup organic chicken broth

1 organic lime

1 TB organic tomato paste

1 tsp curry powder

Chopped mint


Chop the onion and pepper and sauté in a pan for 5-7 minutes. While that is cooking, chop the tomatoes and drain the cans of chickpeas. Once the onions and peppers are soft, add the tomato, chickpeas and chicken broth. Let these ingredients simmer for an additional 7-8 minutes. At this point, slice the lime and squeeze the juice into the pan. Add the tomato paste, curry powder and mint.

Let all of the ingredients cook together on low heat for another 3 to 4 minutes and serve.

I am happy to report that my family sat down and enjoyed a Tanzanian-inspired meal on a cold Michigan Saturday.

My son loved dipping the chapatti bread into the curry. The bread is soft and chewy in the middle, so I pulled the chapatti into small pieces for him and he ate it up fast.

It brought my husband and I back to the warm climate in the African bush, surrounded by wild animals and some of the friendliest, most fascinating people that I have ever met. We topped the night off with sliced mangos and bananas for dessert.

What exotic food adventures do you like to share with your family?

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