Saturday, March 23, 2013

Roti Jala- A Malaysian delicacy

Malaysian cuisine is so diverse and enchanting, that no single dish can be written off as bland or uninteresting.  ‘Roti Jala’ ,whose name translates in English as ‘net bread’ (where ‘roti’ refers to bread and ‘jala’to net) is a fascinating example of this exciting cuisine.
Less well-known than its famed sibling the Malaysian Roti Canai, these lacy, net-like savory pancakes are believed to have evolved from the fusion of Indian and Malaysian cuisines. A frequent fixture at Malaysian feasts and parties (kenduri), the soft, yellow colored crepes are usually served with various curried accompaniments like chicken and potato curry and beef rending, and are an especially favored food during the holy fasting month of Ramadhan.
Also popular as a lunch option, roti jala can be sampled at various restaurants and food courts all over Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, restaurants such as DucknSuch, Otak-Otak Place, and Shyet-Li’s Kopitiam carry this captivating dish on their menus.
Most folk who have sampled this tasty Malaysian delicacy, can’t seem to get enough of it and usually want to recreate roti jala back home. Making ‘roti jala  is not very difficult, though  the process t is quite laborious as each roti has to be made by turn. Moreover, the making of the roti also calls for the use of a roti jala mold, a plastic cup like contraption which has five funnels. This mold is quite inexpensive and widely found at most Malaysian home-ware and bakery supply stores. However, if you can’t get your hands on one, you can easily make do with an ordinary squeeze bottle for your endeavors.
Now for the ingredients:-
1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups coconut milk (freshly squeezed though you can also use a can)
Oil to grease the pan
Sift together all the dry ingredients. Add the beaten egg and the coconut milk to the mixture stirring slowly to form a batter. Pass the batter through a sieve to remove the lumps. Grease a nonstick pan on medium heat and then proceed to half-fill the roti jala maker (If you are using a squeeze bottle, you may have to add a little water to the batter to ensure it flows out smoothly).
Start making your roti by moving the roti jala maker in a circular motion over the pan. The trick is to keep moving the roti jala maker constantly in order to achieve the lacy effect (similar to making the Indian jalebi) so that you don’t have thick blobs on your roti.
The roti takes one or two minutes to cook. Once done slide it off the pan and allow the roti to cool before you attempt to wrap it.
Repeat until all the batter is used. Serve the roti with your favorite curry.
The above recipe makes approximately 10 roti jalas.

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