The other day, I came across this really interesting ‘Tasty’ video on YouTube; it seemed to be a popular snack and street-food that has its roots in Malaysia. After some research, I learn that ‘Roti Jala’, as it’s called, is actually immensely popular throughout SE Asia, and is eaten around the continent.
Now Roti Jala is eaten with a chicken curry, often a spicy one, a perfect accompaniment to these delicately coconuty pancakes. I don’t know what vegetarians do, since the pancake itself contains egg, but perhaps you can skip the eggs, add some yogurt or cornflour, and have it with a veggie stew? We however, had them with some hair-raising, lip-smacking, spicy, Chicken Vindaloo.
Interestingly, Roti Jala literally translates to Net Bread, or Crepe, or Net Pancake, iconic for its intricate lacy pattern that has to be created with a special Roti Jala mould; a ladle with five nozzles, that you hold over the pan, and make patterns. Now obviously, I didn’t have a mould, but that’s where the ‘Tasty’ video helped me out. I knew I just HAD to make these, and I had the perfect weapon for making them too 😉
Now, as the Tasty recipe suggests, you may use a small bottle, like a soda or a mineral water bottle, and poke 3 holes (or even 5 if you can manage), in its cap. Then you pour the batter in, and screw on the cap, and viola, you have a bottle with a 3-hole space to help you draw the batter in the patterns you like!
Like that (pictured above). I of course, didn’t use a bottle… 😀 I mean I used a squeeeezy bottle… with a single nozzle…albeit not a very helpful one, considering you need to squeeze it really hard, and at the perfect angle…or you’ll end up with a blob!
As you can see, there’s no hole; the cap has to be rotated and a gap opens up around the nozzle, allowing the flow of liquid from within. It’s actually quite handy, since it helps you control the flow, and makes patterning easier 🙂
Roti Jala (adapted from Tasty)
- Plain Flour (Maida) – 2 cup
- Egg – 2 (replace with 1 tbsp cornflour or 2 tbsp yogurt/curd if vegetarian)
- Coconut milk – 1 cup (I used powder, 1/2 cup is enough)
- Milk – about 1/4 cup
- Water – 1/2 cup (adjust to make smooth batter)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Turmeric – 1tsp
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Squeezy bottle with single nozzle
- Small bottle (like a mineral water bottle), with 3 holes punched into the cap
- Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the coconut milk powder, turmeric, salt and whisk with a fork.
- Now add the egg, milk and whisk again.
- Slowly add the water little by little, constantly whisking to make it smooth.
- When the batter is smooth and lump free, add the oil and whisk again. (The batter should be like pancake/dosa batter, not too runny, just enough to spread on pan).
- Pour it into the bottle.
- Heat a non-stick pan, and keep flame on medium high.
- With the bottle, now start to pour our batter in circular motions, essentially creating a lacy design on the pan.
- Let the pancake cook for a minute or two, and then gently, with a spatula, start lifting the edges off the pan, and flip it over.
- Give the other side 1 min again, and then tip pancake on to a large plate.
- Now, let it cool enough to touch, but while still warm, begin folding it like so —- fold either sides inwards, then roll, and tuck the ends.
- Repeat process for the rest, and serve Roti Jala warm or at room temp, with spicy chicken curry!