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Oh Em Ghee, I Made Sweet Chapati!

I hear jet lag lasts one day for each hour of time difference. Kansas City is 8 hours behind us and we’ve been back in The Country for 9 days now. I am feeling pretty well adjusted today (it’s 10:30PM and I’m ready for bed!), so maybe there is some truth to the jet lag equation.

The last week, however, getting back into the swing of things (sleeping before 4:00am) has left me very bored at odd hours. As mentioned previously, I have really been wanting to learn to make sweet chapati. It is one of my favorite treats here.

Last night, I decided to try the recipe I found online. My biggest worry about making it was finding ghee. I am totally unfamiliar with ghee, but live in the perfect place to find it with ease in any grocery store.



My sweet chapati turned out quite scrumptious! Unfortunately, it ended up looking like a stack of little cockeyed tortillas.

Success, kind of.

Success, kind of.

For future reference, here’s how it looks when the pros do it:

Sweet chapati at its finest!

Note to self.

I hadn’t had any of the real stuff for over a month, so my mind was a little fuzzy in the Appropriate Chapati Shape Department. Still, I was feeling pretty confident about it, so decided to share some with our building staff (15 on duty during the day and 5 at night) to see what they thought of it. In theory, it was a great idea; our night staff come from Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines, so I figured maybe they could give me some tips for the next time I try making sweet chapati.

I took the elevator downstairs and found the building supervisor; a very kind, middle aged gentleman from Sri Lanka. I swear he works 12 hour shifts every day of the week, and even at the end of a long day he is always eager to be of assistance. I started out by asking him if he knew how to make chapati. Due to a language barrier, I wasn’t really able to convey, “I love sweet chapati and tried making it for the first time. Since it turned out so tasty, I thought I might share it with you and the rest of the staff! Can you tell me what you think?!”  Also, I talk fast when I’m nervous, which I get when I’m unsure of myself, which I was at that moment. Nevertheless, it was still worth the effort when his confusion turned into a big hearty laugh and warm smile when I uncovered the plate of chapati!

It might have been the worst sweet chapati he’s ever had, but I think he appreciated the gesture. Practice makes perfect, and that’s not the last of my chapati he’s seen!

This morning, I returned to work at the learning center for the first time in nearly a month. My first day back was one student’s last day. I asked the 12 year old if he was leaving forever, and he said no, just during Ramadan. He could hardly wait to play video games, sleep, and “focus on praying.” He’ll be back in August. I’m excited that he’s excited. Ramadan seems like a really fun time for Muslim kids. Ten more days until it begins!

For us non-Muslims, the last few days prior to Ramadan mean stocking up on booze, as the lone liquor store here will be closed during the Holy Month.

2013 stash

2012 stash

Additionally for us non-Muslims, Ramadan means getting a glimpse into a life that Western media will almost never show us, and experiencing a multitude of cultural activities with other fellow expats. It’s true that everyone here must abstain from eating/drinking/smoking/chewing gum/basically-putting-anything-in-their-mouth in public during the day, regardless of religious affiliation. Even so, once the sun sets, it also means fun nights that last longer, and an even wider array of delicious Arab food and drinks available. Just like stores in the U.S. “deck the halls” during the Christmas season, stores here will also go all out, with big sales and bright, festive lights and decorations galore.

Ramadan Kareem! (2012)

Ramadan Kareem! (2012)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit excited. Let the festivities begin!


3 thoughts on “Oh Em Ghee, I Made Sweet Chapati!

  1. A fine blog! I’d like to try the chapati. Some of us learn new tidbits of culture, etc., from your blogs! Danke schoen (thank you, auf Deutsch).

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