Chitaps – East Indian Rice Crepes – Handkerchief Bread

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Gluten free icon on Abbysplate website.
Rice and Bread icon on Abbysplate website.
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5 out of 5 Stars by 3 readers!

I love chitaps, always have, always will. They’re sweet and light to eat and look like handkerchiefs. They’re especially popular at East Indian dinners and Christmas celebrations. So instead of getting them from our local East Indian auntie from the Sunday bazaar like we do almost every week, we try our best to make them at home sometimes. You know, then we can have as many as we want.

Anyways, mom and dad are always there to help me with adjusting the recipe for the chitaps or pollas. I don’t really know why anyone calls the chitiaps pollas though. Dad says even sannas and other types of bread are referred to as pollas sometimes. Anyone know why, please let me know.

But, I also figured, why not make them gluten-free this time, and make them edible for the friend of mine who is a celiac and has a gluten allergy? How do you make gluten-free chitaps or gluten-free rice crepes? Simple you know, skip the wheat or maida and the beer yeast. Turns out, it wasn’t that difficult to do.

And apart from the few trial pieces that were scrapped because they weren’t binding enough, I ended up making 83 in the first batch. Yeah, 83! Well, shh. I naturally distributed them to the cousins and got a seal of approval. So here’s our new gluten-free chitap recipe.

A note though: If you don’t need the chitaps or pollas to become gluten-free, use one part maida (wheat flour) and two parts rice flour. (The maida needs to be a third of the total weight).

Chitaps or Rice Crepes Recipe

Pour a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl - Chitap recipe from AbbysPlate
Pour a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl

Let’s start with our yeast. Pour a tablespoon of sugar and warm water into a bowl and let the sugar dissolve. Once the sugar dissolves, add the yeast to it, stir it, and set aside for 10 minutes. If the yeast starts to bubble, it means it’s good and active. Leave it be, and continue with the rest of the recipe.

Mix rice flour with sugar - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Mix rice flour with sugar

In a vessel, mix your rice flour and sugar. You can either grind the rice flour at home or have it store-bought. We use 100 grams of sugar because we want it sweet, but you can increase or reduce the amount of sugar you want. Make sure you add at least a bit of sugar though because during the fermentation the yeast eats the sugar to produce carbon dioxide which makes the chitiaps fluffier.

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Add the yeast mixture and stir well. Then add in either milk or coconut juice or coconut milk and stir again. Leave overnight or for 4 to 6 hours at least.

In the morning, add salt and eggs and stir. You can add a bit more milk or coconut juice if needed.

Add the yeast mixture along with milk or coconut juice - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Add the yeast mixture along with milk or coconut juice
Add in eggs and stir well - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Add in eggs and stir well

If you’re a vegetarian, you can skip the eggs and the yeast. Just follow a slightly different method here. It’s the traditional Maharashtrian way to make ghavans or ghavani or the South Indian version called neer dosa. Soak the rice overnight or for 5 to 6 hours, then drain the water, grind the rice to a paste and use it with just water and salt. The taste of ghavans only differs slightly from the chitaps or pollas which are on the sweeter side.

By the way, being free of fermentation, ghavans are often eaten by people who have joint pains and cannot eat fermented food.

Add oregano or rosemary to the batter - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Add oregano or rosemary to the batter

Okay, back to the chitaps. I make some of them using the plain and simple recipe, while I add rosemary or oregano to others. I prefer the plain ones the best, next the oregano flavoured, and lastly the rosemary flavoured. What’s your preference?

Fry on a hot pan till ready - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Fry on a hot pan till ready

Next steps. Heat a cast iron pan, add a spoonful of oil and spoon some batter into it. I like using coconut oil because it adds to the flavour of the chitaps. Roll the pan around till the batter covers every side. Leave it to cook till lightly brown and then flip it over into a plate.

These were the test pieces, they turned out like kerchiefs - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
These were the test pieces, they turned out like kerchiefs

This is what the underside looks like. This was one of the first few test pieces; notice the irregular shape. Haha!

A lot of chitaps ready to eat - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
A lot of chitaps ready to eat

Anyways, the rest of the pieces turned out pretty round and tasty. In 3 hours, I ended up making 83 in all. But who’s counting, right?

Who doesn't love a light fluffy chitap - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Who doesn’t love a light fluffy chitap
Fluffy light chitaps - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Fluffy light chitaps

Yeah, I know they look like they are of different sizes. I was using two different cast iron pans.

One more pic to show you, just because I got click happy. Haha! This version of the East Indian bread called chitaps goes really well with sorpotel or duck moile or khudi curry or tamriad or vindaloo or chilli fry of Bombay ducks just about anything.

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East Indian gluten free rice crepes called chitaps folded in triangles on a beige plate.
Chitaps can be as light as handkerchiefs
East Indian gluten free rice crepes called chitaps folded in triangles on a black tray.
Chitaps are really light and fluffy

Anyways, if you get around to trying out this recipe, come back and let me know how it went. Are you now in love with these light and fluffy gluten free rice crepes called chitaps?

East Indian gluten free rice crepes called chitaps folded in triangles on a black tray.

Chitaps – East Indian Rice Crepes – Handkerchief Bread

Abby
East Indian chitaps are light fluffy rice crepes. Looking like lace handkerchiefs this rice bread is delicious.
5 out of 5 Stars by 3 readers!

Click the stars to add your rating! Left you don’t like it, right you love it!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Snacks
Cuisine East Indian, Indian
Servings 40 Chitaps
Calories 378 kcal
Gluten free icon on Abbysplate website.
Rice and Bread icon on Abbysplate website.

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g Rice Flour
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 400 ml Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 Eggs
  • 250 ml Water
  • 1 tsp Salt

Instructions
 

  • Proof the yeast. (Mix sugar with warm water and add the yeast to it. If the yeast starts to bubble after 10 minutes, it’s good to go.)
  • Mix rice flour and sugar in a vessel. (The traditional recipe contains 2 parts rice flour and one part wheat flour, which you can add if you're not eating gluten free.)
  • Add the proofed yeast to rice flour and mix well. 
  • Add in either milk or coconut milk or coconut juice and stir. 
  • Leave the mixture to rise overnight.
  • In the morning, add salt and eggs to the batter and mix again. 
  • Heat a cast iron pan, add smear it with a bit of oil. I prefer coconut oil since it enhances the flavour of the chitaps.
  • Pour a large spoonful of batter on the pan and roll it around so that the batter covers a circular area. You can cover the chitaps aka rice crepes while they’re on the flame or you can leave them open. It’s up to you.
  • When it turns lightly brown, flip it onto a plate and it’s ready to eat. Continue the same way till you run out of batter. Enjoy!

Please click to rate the recipe! Left you don’t like it, right you love it!

Video

Notes

  • You can increase or reduce the amount of sugar you want.
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Stuff You Might Want to Use

6 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
The Fry Family
Active Dried Yeast
DCL yeast
SAF yeast

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 257mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 281IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.

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2 thoughts on “Chitaps – East Indian Rice Crepes – Handkerchief Bread”

  1. Chitaps have always been my favorite East Indian meal. Interesting how you make it without maida. I’m going to try this soon!5 stars

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