Some cooking techniques, such as tempering chocolate, which requires a stable, exact temperature, work well with induction cooktops. Other, less-precise techniques, such as letting a piece of chapati bread kiss an open flame just long enough to blow up like a balloon, prove a bit difficult with induction cooking, since there's no flame. Chapati, sometimes called roti, is an unleavened Indian flatbread cooked on a griddle, or tawa, that's held over an open flame. You can cook chapati on an induction cooktop and get the recognizable "poof" if you know how to use surface temperature and friction to your advantage.
Mix together two parts wheat flour and one part tepid water in a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and touch of oil to make a standard chapati roti dough. You can make four chapati breads with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water.
Portion the chapati dough into 5- to 6-ounce pieces using an ounce scale. Roll the portions into balls about the size of an average lemon. Make the dough balls as spherical as possible.
Place an induction disc on the induction cooktop and place a well-seasoned tawa on top of the induction disc. If you don't have an induction disc or tawa, place a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet on the induction cooktop. Set the heat on the cooktop to 375 degrees F.
Dust the work surface with flour. Roll out a portion of chapati to about 5 or 6 inches wide or until it's as thick as a nickel, about 1/6 inch thick. If you roll a 5- to 6-ounce ball of chapati dough until it's as thick as a nickel, it measures between 5 and 6 inches wide.
Dredge the chapati in flour on both sides and shake off the excess. Place the rolled-out chapati on the tawa or in the cast-iron skillet. Let the chapati cook until small air bubbles form all over the surface and parts of the edge start to curl slightly, about 15 to 20 seconds.
Flip the chapati over with a spatula and cook it until it starts to brown in small spots all over the bottom, about 30 seconds. Turn the chapati over again.
Press the chapati around the edges with a folded kitchen towel, spinning it around as you do. Pressing gently around the edges seals the two layers of dough together so that the water vapor that creates the bubbles has to move inward.
Press the large bubbles gently with the folded kitchen towel and spin the chapati every few seconds. The bubbles will get larger until the chapati blows up like a balloon. Pressing increases the friction just enough to raise the temperature quickly and create the burst of steam needed to blow the chapati up, just like it does when it touches an open flame. Spinning it around prevents it from burning in spots. Remove the chapati after it blows up.
Always portion chapati dough into 5- to 6-ounce pieces with the help of an ounce scale until you get the hang of it. After a while you'll be able to pull exactly 5- to 6-ounce portions from the ball of dough without a scale and roll them into the correct shape for chapati, using only your sense of touch.
Handle the chapati dough as little as possible when portioning it out and laying it in the pan to prevent stretching it unnecessarily.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.