Monday, June 18, 2007

Third-time-lucky Roti canal

One thing about being so far away from Malaysia and Australia (where you can find decent Asian food!), I have to make my own whenever I get a craving!

I’ve been eating loads of healthy food lately and that probably explains my craving for oily and fatty calorie-laden Roti Canai! My body is deprived from its fat input ;-) I suppose it doesn’t help that the hubby loves this as well and when I mentioned that I wanted to try to make it, he didn’t let me forget about it!

Roti canai, as most of you probably already know, is a Malaysian speciality. However, I think in India and Indonesia, it is also known as roti paratha. There’s probably a whole history behind Malaysian roti canai but but I’m too lazy to do the research so there's more information here.

Anyway, this is my third attempt in making roti canai! The first time, I used Amy Beh’s roti canai recipe but for some reason, it just didn’t work for me. First of all, I had trouble stretching out the dough from the recipe, and then when cooked, my roti canai, instead of being crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, turned out a weird dry-crispy-doughy-flat biscuit! Urghgh.

For my second attempt, I dug up a different recipe. This time after days and days (ok…only 1 day!) of searching the Internet, I found a different recipe by MamaFaMi here. This time, the results were a lot closer to the real thing…but still not quite there. The cooked roti was still a little doughy. Probably because I still didn’t stretch the dough out enough. By then, both the Hubby and I were starting to get very excited by the prospect of having almost-real roti canai!

This brings me to my third attempt. Using the same recipe as a base, I made a few minor modifications and this is so far my most edible attempt!

Here’s what I used:

3 cups flour
roughly 1 cup of water (enough to make a slightly sticky dough)
2 tbs margarine (the original recipe only used 1 tbs)
1 ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
1 ¼ tsp sugar (or to taste)
2 tbs milk (the original recipe uses condensed milk. I used ordinary low fat milk)
1 tbs oil

Extra oil for frying

1. Mix the salt, sugar and flour in a bowl.
2. Add the milk to the mixture and mix.
3. Add the water bit by bit while mixing (or kneading). Stop when you have a slightly sticky dough. If you add too much water, the dough gets too sticky and it’s a real pain to handle.
4. Add in margarine.
5. Add in the cooking oil.
6. Once the margarine and cooking oil has been well integrated into a smooth dough, divide the dough into small balls (I got about 6 balls out of the dough).
7. Coat the balls with oil and cover. I left them to rest for about an hour.
8. Lightly oil your kitchen workbench and hands.

9. Flatten each ball and slowly stretch the dough to a thin, almost transparent layer. For my first 2 attempts, I used a rolling pin to do this but for the last attempt, I found it was just as easy to just carefully stretch the dough out with my fingers.
10. Fold in 2 opposite sides of the stretched out dough to the middle. Then fold in the other 2 opposite sides to the middle.
11. Fry in a pan.
12. Serve with your favourite curry!

This time, the roti came out really well. However, I think I would add a bit more oil to the dough, as well as when I was cooking it, as it wasn’t as oily as it should be.

Still….mmmmm! Talk about a diet breaker!


  1. we called it roti cane in medan (north sumatra) indonesia.
    i used to make paratha mostly everyday for breakfast long time ago, but now i just make paratha only once a week due to healthy reason hehehe...

  2. Your roti canai look so yummy, I have posted the recipe for Martabak/ crispy meat pancake on my blog if you want to see :)

  3. Congrats! It looks very very authentic...maybe I'll try it someday when I cannot tahan any longer!

  4. Wow, looks so good! And man, that dough can stretch!

    Got to diddo your comment about whenever we got a craving, we have to make it ourselves! Unlike my lucky husband, can just sit and eat! LoL!

  5. *clap clap* ...they look really authentic, esp with the charred or slightly "burnt" edges. :D

    I think paratha (or roti prata) is more commonly used in Singapore.

    Hey, at least you worked off some calories first (kneading the dough) before indulging in this. For me, I took the easy way out of buying store-bought paratha :O

  6. Good job!! This is one of the foodstuff that I take for granted here in Malaysia. Suddenly feeling very guilty seeing how much work you have to go through. Shall appreciate (savour) the bread slowly next time I eat it. :-P

  7. Hi Isha: Yep - it tastes great only too bad it's so oily!

    Everything4Sweets: Oooo - I'll have to go check out your murtabak!

    Msiagirl: Hehe - the more you look at photos...the more you'll want

    LittleCornerofMine: You know, I watched countless YouTube videos on how to flip the dough like the roti man but when i tried, it just didn't work so I had to just stretch it out the boring way!

    Tigerfish: Hehe - yeah, but i don't think I burnt enough calories kneading the dough to justify me gobbling up the roti ;-)

    LyricalLemongrass: Now everytime you eat roti canai, with each mouthful, you can think of us slaving away kneading the dough
    ;-) hehe!

  8. I have almost given up on this. After asking auntie Lily countless questions, she politely suggested that stores sells frozen roti canai.

    p/s she also gave me mama fami link. It is on my future to-make-list.

  9. Hi LeePing: In my first attempt, I had problems as well. I followed the Amy Beh recipe and it just didn't work for me. I think it was the fact that in the recipe, it tells you to rub in the margarine to the flour, and then add in the water later (I might have misread!). The dough that you end up with just isn't stretchy at all.

    But in the recipe that worked for me, I added in the water first and the oily stuff last - that really worked! Good luck with trying to make it! Don't give up!

  10. Wah you so clever, congratulation! +A

    Do feel free to drop by my new food blog

  11. congrats your roti cana looks great :) do you know indian rotis they called it "naan"??? it has similirities with yours the only differents the way to grilled, because naan grilled with oven.

  12. This looks great. Planning for a meal is half the fun. I love to go to the market and pick through produce.

  13. Hi,
    Hope over from wmw's. You have a great blog here and I'll definitely come back for some recipe. Hope you don't mind. ;)

  14. Oooooh, I loooooove roti canai. Where's the curry sauce dip recipe to go with it? :P

  15. Just looking at your photos, I would have never guessed it was anything but easy for you to make. It looks impressive.

  16. Thanks for dropping by I also started on more today, do drop by this one I publish the recipes. :)
    Sid xxx

  17. BigBoysOven: Ooo, you have another new blog? How do you keep up with it all? I'll have to check it out!

    Hi Lia: The naan I've eaten in Melbourne is completely different from roti canai. Maybe it's a Melbourne thing? The naan in Melbourne is more like pita bread. I think they put yeast? But yeah, it's like pita bread and not oily at all. I'll have to go to India to try the real naan!

    Chef Erik: Thx for dropping by. You know what, I haven't had time to browse markets lately but I love it as well!

    Kok: Thx for dropping by as well. hope to see you here again!

    WanderingC: In the first photo, all that stuff on the roti is tofu curry (you know me and my love affair with tofu!). I like to just dump my curry and roti on one plate so the roti gets all soggy

    Kelly: Thx for dropping by! You know, this was my 3rd try making roti! Phew!

  18. ger, you sure have the dedication and the patience to roll out the dough *clap clap* The leavening process in making take much time to achieve that perfect texture, anyhoo, you did a great job :))

  19. Hey there! Glad I saw one of your comments on roti canai and hopped over here... wow, making roti canai from scratch on foreign soil... that must take some doing! Well done!

    And I agree with tigerfish, got the charred bits some more: very authentic! :D

  20. that was one stretchy paratha. you managed to stretch it so thin. looks really good. you are becoming roti expert now.:)

  21. omg! i can't believe you stretched it so thin!

    they look PERFECT

  22. MeltingWok: I also had a very strong craving! My stomach drives my brain and everything else! hehe!

    Hi Kenny, thanks for dropping by. I would have much prefered to go to the roti canai man and order the roti...unfortunately...I'm a bit far away :-(

    Sharmi: I had lots of practice and many failures!

    SteamyKitchen: It was close enough to satisfy my craving...until at least next weekend!

  23. Hi, Wok&Spoon. Really creditable results! Thanks for the roti canai tips.

    Y'know, the frozen paratha and those served fresh in Singapore/India/England just don't taste the same. Malaysian Malays and Indians have developed their own particularly delicious type (probably the most unhealthy, too!).

    My 'mamak' friend told me to make an S shape with a two-handed dough fling. Kept trying to visualise me doing it -- hope it helps in my real-life attempt soon... (hope roti dough is easy to remove from walls and ceiling).

  24. Hi again! I bought some white flour and made roti canai using your recipe (but butter instead of margarine). Wonderful! Your tips are perfect. Thank you. Only thing is: how to make the edges as thin as possible?

  25. Bravo! I actually bought 1 packet of those prepackaged roti prata with me all the way from Singapore ... no shiok lah. Doesn't taste like the real thing at all. So sad, I can't try out this at my house, with all those oil, my table will be ruined. (I have a very small kitchen counter top so I do most of my baking, rolling etc on my dinning table)

  26. Hi Argus: Congrats! I saw your roti and it looked great! As for getting the edges thin...I have trouble myself. I just usually manually stretch it out.

    CookingNinja: Do you live near Paris? You can sometimes get some prepackage roti from Freres Tang.
    And yes, my kitchen counter gets all oily when I make roti!

  27. Thanks much, Wokandspoon. Sweetened condensed milk is apparently the secret to making the dough more pliable and hence easier to spread really thin, according to my sis.
    A tube of the sticky milk in Switzerland is like 5 times the price of a tin of it in M'sia. Yikes.

  28. Perhaps you'd like the original 'really rich' Jamie Oliver recipe for Bloomin' Brilliant Brownies (as you mentioned in my blog):

    It's so darn delicious but I could feel my arteries clogging up.

  29. Argus: Thx for the condenses milk tip and the recipe link!

  30. Hi again! I had a close look at the blue & white tube of condensed milk I bought yesterday. It says something like 'condensiert & gezuckiert', but mine is made in Switzerland.

  31. Hi Argus, I just left a comment on your blog. I just found lots of condensed milk (!) at my local supermarket!! I'll have to make the roti again with it to see if there's a difference!

  32. Goodie, hope it's cheaper than in Switzerland.
    My sis reminds us not to overcook the roti or it'll become a bit tough.
    Do you remember seeing the mamak guy 'karate-chopping' the ready roti canai with his hands before serving? Apparently it fluffs it up!

  33. I would love to make this but my friends told me that it is very messy and the kitchen will be splattered with oil, etc, etc....
    is it true?

  34. Hi DrveThru (Judy?): Yep - it does get a bit messy as you have to oil the surface that you use - so that dough won't stick. The cooking doesn't splatter oil though. But it was worth it!

  35. hey, Wok&Spoon, I made roti canai and roti pisang again today. Increased the amount of butter like u suggested. Also added 2 tbs of condensed milk (less low-fat milk). The dough, after resting for an hour, was a bit too soft (must reduce water if increasing fat) but it spread pretty well.
    It's important to lift the dough very carefully after folding, and not unintentionally squeeze any part into a lump.
    Also, fry it only till medium-brown on one side and flip once, swinging the 'new' side around the pan to soak up a bit of the oil.

    'Dr ve thru', to me it's only a small part of the kitchen counter that gets oily. No problems cleaning it after. It's worth the trouble, I think, especially if you live overseas.
    (Wok&Spoon, sorry if I 'menyampuk' here, but I'm very excited about how the taste and texture have improved.)


Thanks for dropping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...