Beetroot, fenugreek and roasted garlic chapatti (thepla)

21 Aug

I’m pretty sure so far, that if at the gates of heaven (and I know that I am being presumptuous here) I am asked which period of my life I would like to live for eternity, it would be my boy’s young and charming days.

Beetroot thepla by Deena Kakaya

As we embark on the next leg of our journey together and slightly apart for the first time ever (mornings of nursery school), I look back with smiles, pride and deep satisfaction at the moments we have shared together, so far. When he falls in the park, he dusts himself off and says, ‘don’t worry mumma, I’m OK’. When the boy in the park today screamed and shouted for a turn on the machine that my boy was playing with he stepped off and said, ‘don’t cry, it’s just called sharing’. Completely unprompted and wonderfully frequently he will tell me that he loves me. Today as I rushed him to get dressed in the cubicle before his impending swimming lesson, he casually swung his legs and chattered away to me about veins being like tunnels for romans. As I told him off for not removing his shoes despite being asked thrice, he said ‘mumma, you look beautiful today’. We cuddled into giggle-fits as I felt enchanted by my three year old and he knew that I had busted his game, but it had worked.

Our week so far as included toddler football, mini golf at the local golf course, rides-animals-theatre and carrot digging at the farm, scooters in the park, swimming and a visit to the zoo scattered with a few play dates. My favourite was the themed carrot digging and his was the zoo, of course. Through all of these activities, my least favourite part is lunchtime. I know, I know – I have read all the stuff about mum’s attitude towards meal times rub off on the child and it should be a relaxed and fun time without pressing on quantities or content but frankly, I find mealtimes wearing. The last thing I want to do is to melt into persuasion and declining on a fun day out. We sat on the front bench , under the sun to watch the sheep song and dance thingey and I asked him to look back at the the crowd on the benches. I asked him what the children were all doing, ‘eating sandwiches’. So I asked if he would like one too. Very simply, it’s a no; he is three years old and he has never eaten a sandwich.

Spicy fenugreek chappati (thepla) are the ultimate food for days out, or at least they have been for me. As I was growing up, they travelled with us to picnic and coach journeys to the beach. They even made it to the airport and beyond, you know- just in case. They came with me to university as they have a longer life than many other foods and during my pregnancy I ate them every day with lashings of yoghurt and some pickle. Is it any wonder then that my boy loves them too? I think of variations on thepla to get some added nutrition in; sometimes I add paneer to give a real moist texture and sometimes roasted vegetable and I have even added banana. One of my favourites is this hot pink version, which my boy calls ‘peppa pig thepla’. I ate them with The Cheeky Food Company’s mango pickle which they sent me to taste. Have to say, it took me by surprise; it’s not vinegary or overly sour or even too hot, it has the home made taste!

Ingredients to make approximately 20 thepla

2 cups of chapatti flour

¾ cup finely chopped fenugreek leaves

2 pinches of ajwain (carom seeds)

½ tsp. turmeric

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. plain yoghurt

half bulb of roasted garlic (I put mine in the oven for half an hour at 180 degrees)

100g cooked beetroot, pureed

Salt to taste

3-4 tbsp. water, if needed

Vegetable Oil for greasing the chappati

Tip: keep a small bowl of vegetable oil with spoon ready near your tava to use for the thepla


  1. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the oil. Mix the oil with the flour until it’s evenly distributed.
  2. Now add the turmeric, salt and ajwain and mix well, then mix in the fenugreek leaves
  3. Introduce the yoghurt, beetroot, roasted garlic and then knead the dough. Add water until a soft and springy dough forms. I usually drizzle on a little oil over the dough.
  4. Heat the tava on a medium to low flame and then start to roll the thepla.
  5. Take equally sized portions of dough (about the size of a golf ball) and roll them to a thin chappati and then toast it on side until it begins to form bubbles and then flip it over and repeat. Flip it over again, drizzle it lightly with oil- uses the back of your spoon to evenly distribute the oil and then repeat.



11 Responses to “Beetroot, fenugreek and roasted garlic chapatti (thepla)”

  1. Keep Calm and Fanny On August 22, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    What a lovely story as ever, I felt like I was sitting next to you and your son watching… He certainly says some lovely things, and amusing too! So he doesn’t like sandwiches? I can see why he likes these though, love the colour. I’ve been using beetroot powder in flat breads recently to avoid adding extra liquid from fresh beetroot, the colour stays great but not as vivid as this! Lovely, thanks…

    • Deena Kakaya August 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      You are always so kind and generous, thank you x

  2. Katie @ Whole Nourishment August 23, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    I love the roasted garlic and beetroot in these chapattis Deena! Gorgeous, and I can imagine really fun for your son to eat with the bright colors. There’s something about flatbread making that is so therapeutic for me. Maybe for you too? Whether it is corn tortillas or chapattis, the extra time making them always pays off, and it obviously has for your son’s meal time preferences too. 😉

    • Deena Kakaya August 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      Yes totally agree on the therapeutic aspect of rolling and cooking chappati or flatbreads, it always feels cleverer than it is too! It’s lovely to hear from you Katie, hope you’re well x

  3. Praveen @ Awesome Cuisine August 24, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    A wonderful story and a delicious recipe. Love it.

    • Deena Kakaya August 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

      Thanks so much Praveen, lovely of you to say!

  4. coconutcraze August 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    This photographic memory of your child growing up will be an interesting flash back later on in life. You made me revisit some of the moments I had. These theplas are incredible with their pop of colour. I am making these for my next meal!

    • Deena Kakaya August 24, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

      Isn’t it wonderful, to see and nurture such wonderful moments in life. I’m so lucky that I can experience all of it, take it all in. I hope you enjoy the thepla! X

  5. Keto September 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Woah that’s a beautiful deep red and fairly simple steps to make the thepla (love that it’s spicy). Thank you, I’ll give it a try! Pinned 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya September 27, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

      Really glad that you like it! I hpe that you enjoy it.

  6. Dora King October 15, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    I am so happy I have found your blog, I love your inspiring recipes and the way your posts read not to mention your amazing pictures, can’t wait to try one of your recipes out Dora 🙂

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