My book club read The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar.  In the book, there are several scenes where one of the characters is making chapatis.  I was interested in trying to make some chapatis for my fellow Monday Sisters (that’s the name of our book club).  I started out with a whole wheat chapati recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food That Matters Cookbook.  The chapatis were really good; but, a bit plain.  They seemed designed to be used to scoop up sauces as part of a meal.  I wanted to make more of a finger food that the ladies could eat during our book discussion.  So, I ended up making the onion chapati turnovers from the same book.

To make these turnovers you need:  whole wheat flour, salt, water, onions, garam masala (you could substitute curry powder), brown sugar, and vegetable oil.  First you make the dough by putting salt and whole wheat flour into a food processor.  Slowly add water and let it process for about 30 seconds.  Then, you put the dough on a floured surface and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

While the dough is resting, I cut four onions in half and then thinly sliced them.

I put the onions in a large skillet over medium heat.  I covered the skillet and let them cook for about 20 minutes.  Then, I added a bit of vegetable oil, garam masala, and a pinch of brown sugar.

By this time, the dough was ready to go.  I divided it into 16 pieces.

Pressed them with my tortilla press (you can use your hands or a rolling pin if you don’t have a tortilla press).

I filled each with a bit of the onion mixture.

Then, I folded the dough in half and sealed it using the tongs of a fork.

They baked in the oven for about 10 minutes on each side at 400 degrees.

I made a cilantro-lime chutney to go with them.  I think mango chutney would also be nice with them.  These chapatis are a unique and healthy finger food. I think of them as an Indian version of an empanada.  We may not have agreed on whether we liked the book; but, everyone at book club seemed to like the chapati turnovers.

Onion Chapati Turnovers

adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food That Matters Cookbook


3 cups of whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of warm water

4 large onions, halved and sliced

1/4 cup of vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pans

All-purpose flour, for rolling the dough

2 teaspoons of garam masala

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1.  Add salt and flour to the food processor, with the machine running, add the warm water.  Process for 3o seconds; the dough should form a barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball.  If it’s too dry, add more water and process for 5 to seconds.  If it is too wet, add a bit of flour and process briefly.  Put the dough on a lightly flour surface, cover, and let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

2.  Put the onions in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are dry and almost sticking to the pan, 20 to 25 minutes.  Stir in oil, garam marsala, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Turn the heat to medium-low.  Stir occasionally, for 15 minutes or longer, depending on how caramelized you want the onions to be.

3.  Divide the dough into 16 pieces.  Heat the over to 400 degrees and grease a couple of baking pans.  Using all purpose flour to dust the surface of your counter or board, pat or roll each piece flat.  A tortilla press works well for this purpose.  Place each circle on a greased baking sheet.  Put a bit of the onion mixture on top.  Fold the dough in half to cover the onion mixture and pinch closed with a fork.  Bake until golden brown about 10 minutes on each side.  Serve warm or at room temperature with cilantro-mint chutney or any other kind of chutney you like.