Artist’s Palate: Shilpa Gupta’s recipe for methi thepla

‘This simple homemade bread is my childhood favourite comfort food,’ says Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta of her methi thepla recipe for this month’s Artist’s Palate feature, a Wallpaper* homage to our favourite contemporary art

Shilpa Gupta Artist's palate
‘Plié’ mini shelves, €90 each, by From Industrial Design, for Util. ‘Sekki’ bowl, £12, by Ferm Living. Entertaining Director: Melina Keays; Interiors: Olly Mason
(Image credit: Neil Godwin at Future Studios for Wallpaper*)

* As featured in our monthly artist’s recipe series 

Indian artist Shilpa Gupta is known for her empathetic, poetic explorations of social justice and freedom of expression (or lack thereof). Whether it’s amplifying the voices of incarcerated poets or modifying utilitarian devices to unpick the political weight of language, the artist’s wide-ranging, often participatory approach to media – from found objects to soundscapes – seeks to challenge assumptions on power and truth. With a category-defying practice spanning installations, performance, sound, video and photography, Gupta examines the political and social powers that shape how we understand the world. 

Like her work, Gupta’s recipe for methi thepla, a traditional Indian flatbread, is potent, steeped in history and leaves room for interpretation. ‘It can be a snack or a full meal,’ says the artist, who staged her first major London show at the Barbican last year. ‘When rolled up with some lemon or garlic pickle, it makes for the perfect travel food. It tastes delicious when accompanied with cold yoghurt, to which I add finely chopped cucumber and coriander or pomegranate for texture.’ 

RELATED STORY

Shilpa Gupta: 'Sun at Night' Installation view, The Curve, Barbican Centre, until 6 February 2022. © Tim Whitby / Getty Images

(Image credit: Tim Whitby / Getty Images)

Shilpa Gupta’s recipe for methi thepla

1/2 cup methi leaves, washed and chopped
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp oil, plus extra for cooking
1/4 cup yogurt 
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp carom (ajwain) seeds
1/4 tsp haldi
1 green chilli and 1 in ginger, made into a paste
Salt, to taste

Method

Mix everything together in a large bowl, adding a little water if necessary, to make a dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it is smooth and soft. Divide the dough into equal-sized balls, then flatten and roll into thin theplas. Brush a hot tawa or griddle with oil and cook the theplas on both sides.

INFORMATION

A version of this article was originally featured in the May 2022 issue of Wallpaper*, on newsstands now and available to subscribers.

Shilpa Gupta's work will be on view within shows at M HKA, Antwerp (3 June - 21 August 2022), Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Mumbai (26 August - 27 November), and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (10 September 2022 - 8 January 2023).

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Harriet Lloyd-Smith is the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.

With contributions from