This is the fifth post in the Malaysia and Singapore! series. Other posts in this series include Lot 10 Hutong - Kuala Lumpur's Most Famous Hawker Stalls Under One Roof, LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking, Otak, Otak Fish Dumplings in Banana Leaf, and Little Penang Cafe + Visiting the Petronas Twin Towers
I always thought "roti" meant a very specific type of pancake like bread that's often served in Malaysian restaurants accompanied with a chicken curry dipping sauce. It wasn't until I visited Malaysia that I learned that "roti" actually just means bread.
A local guy told me, "if you go to a supermarket and you want a loaf of bread, you could say 'I am getting some roti.' You need to add a descriptor at the end to specify what kind of bread."
Ohhhhh . . .
It's even more confusing because the type of pancake that I was thinking of has different names depending on where you are. In Singapore, they call it roti prata, whereas in Malaysia they call it roti canai (pronounced chuh-nye) and in India they call it paratha.
When I first saw "roti" on the menu for my cooking class, I immediately though we were learning how to make the pancake version. It wasn't until I arrived in class that I learned about all the different types of "roti", and how the type we were making - roti jala - was actually a delicate, lacy pancake of sorts.
It's actually beautiful, and our instructor told us people often eat it at fancier occasions, like at weddings.
What's so amazing is that this pancake is actually really, really easy to make, arguably much easier to make than roti prata / canai.
I can't wait to make this at my next party!
Mix together dry ingredients: flour, salt, and tumeric powder, whose main purpose is just to add a bit of color. Add coconut milk and then half of the water and begin stirring. Slowly continue adding water and continue stirring (faster and faster) until everything is well mixed. Pour beaten egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well.
Strain the batter to remove lumps
Lightly grease a flat pan over low heat. They use a pandan leaf, which infuses a lovely essence, but in a pinch you can probably use a paper towel.
Using a roti jala maker, drip the batter onto the pan in circles to form the lacy design. The roti jala maker is an unusual cup that has three little funnels coming out. Roti jala makers are really hard to find in the U.S. People have been pretty creative with solutions, such as using a sauce squeeze bottle or punching holes into plastic water bottles.
This can be much harder than it looks depending on the quality of your roti jala maker. Some of ours were not in good shape (they dripped all over the place), and people had to switch them out for new ones.
I think if you have a high quality squeeze bottle, it may actually be easier to use than a traditional roti jala maker.
Cook until set (just a couple minutes) and flip over.
You can bring it over to a plate, or I've seen some people even wrap or fold it right on the pan.
Fold into triangles or roll up into cylinders as shown above!
Serve with a sauce, like curry chicken (recipe coming next!).
125 g (1 cup) all purpose flour, sifted through a sieve
½ teaspoon salt
a pinch of tumeric powder for color (optional)
1 egg, beaten
100 mL (3.4 oz) coconut milk
220 mL (6.8 oz) water
1 teaspoon oil
roti jala maker
1. Mix together dry ingredients: flour, salt, and tumeric powder
2. Add coconut milk. Add half of the water and begin stirring. Slowly continue adding water and continue stirring (faster and faster) until everything is well mixed.
3. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well
4. Strain the batter to remove lumps
5. Lightly grease a flat pan over low heat.
6. Using a roti jala maker, drip the batter onto the pan in circles to form the lacy design.
7. Cook until set (just a couple minutes) and flip over.
8. Fold into triangles or roll up into cylinders as shown above
9. Serve with a sauce, like curry chicken!
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