No Pakistani meal would be complete without freshly made chapatis. My mother's home probably has never seen a day without them. I was always taught my both my grandmothers that unless a chapatti was round, soft, not covered in a dusting of flour and puffed up like a hot air balloon, it wasn't perfect. A tough call - it takes ages to perfect round chapattis, ensure there are no holes in it and most of all create a soft enough dough that stretches thinly. A combination of whole wheatmeal (chapatti flour itself is best, as it is ultra fine), tepid water and salt - the ingredients are so simple yet the process of making them thin and light always deterred me from making them myself. But practice does make perfect, with time my chapati making has come leaps and bounds and most of all - I now have found a little trick that makes them even lighter - sourdough starter, especially any pre-ferment you, sourdough experts might have left. Though this might sound trendy, there isn't anything modern about adding an active ingredient in chapatti. A Mughal style bread called khamiri roti, is an old style chapatti that includes yeast to make it light, puffy and soft. Sourdough isnt a new thing as we know, and even in the east, sourdough has been used in many flatbreads as well as levened breads - This recipe is inspired by my roots, a home cooked chapati with a touch of history from the Mughals, to the modern sourdough craze plus these are great for your gut too - I think I really have perfected my chapatti recipe finally - I think my ancestors will be proud!

Sourdough Wholemeal Chapatis

Makes: About 8-10 chapatis

Prep and cooking time: 20-30 minutes

450g chapati flour or wholemeal plain flour

3⁄4 tsp salt

4 tbsp sourdough pre-ferment

About 250ml tepid water

Set aside 200g of the flour and reserve for shaping the chapatis.

Place the remaining flour and salt in a deep bowl.

Add the water to the bowl of flour, a little at a time, kneading as you go, until you

have a soft, elastic dough. The longer you knead the dough the softer the chapattis

will be. Let the chapatti dough rest for about 10 minutes before making.

Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto a flat surface or board. Divide the dough

into eight and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly, place one onto

the floured board. Roll it out into a flat disc approximately 15cm in diameter, flouring

the board when necessary.

Heat a griddle or a shallow frying pan. Lay the chapatti on the griddle or pan and

cook for about 20-30 seconds or until the surface is bubbling.

Turn it over with tongs and cook the other side for 10-15 seconds. As soon as brown

spots appear on the underside, the chapatti is done. If you have a gas hob, you can

puff up the chapatti on the fire, using tongs.

Repeat with the other seven balls, using the remaining flour to roll them out. Stack

them up as they are cooked, and place into a foil pouch to ensure they stay warm

and soft, if eating immediately. Chapattis can be frozen too.