Monday, January 31, 2011

Roti Canai/Paratha Bread - Step by Step

One of the things I miss most here in the USA is the Mamak stalls. We like to go there for breakfast or for teh tarik (pull tea) in the evening. My friends and I can just sit there and talk till the wee hours in the morning. Sometimes I do miss that simplicity in life. Roti canai or roti paratha is a flat bread that is flip over and over until they become transparently thin before they fold them with lots of air bubble and ghee inside that when they pan fry it, it becomes light and crispy on the outside and slightly chewy and springy on the inside.

I might look easy to make but they are not. Each time I try to flip it, the dough will stick together and I get the oil all over the kitchen. I gave up and end up stretching the dough will my fingers. The roti canai came out ok. Not as thin and crispy as I wanted it to. I hope I will do a better job the next time I make this again. From now on please don’t take the Mamak roti canai for granted. It involves more hard work than you think ;)

adapoted from Mamafami

500 grm flour
300 ml water
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp margarine
Some vegetable oil

1. Dissolve salt and condensed milk in water. Beat in the egg. Add in the egg mixture to the flour, mix and knead until it forms into smooth soft dough. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

2. Divide the dough into 10-11 pieces. Roll it into balls and rub margarine over each ball. Keep the dough balls in a container and leave it to rest for at least 4 hours. Over night will be better.
3. Grease the work table with some vegetable oil. Press and flatten the balls of dough with your palm. Spread a bit of oil on the flatten dough.

4. With your palm and fingers, pull and stretch out dough as thin as possible. Be careful not to tear it especially in the middle because the tear will grow bigger as your stretch. Oil you dough and hands as you go along.

5. Bring the dough to the center to form long dough. If we can get air trapped in the thin sheet at this point, don’t press air out as it would give a lighter, fluffier result. Hold one end of the dough upwards and swirl it down to form a piece of swirly turban. Set it aside to rest for half an hour.

6. Heat up a non-stick pan with a bit of oil. Lightly flatten the dough again with your fingers and place the dough over low heat pan. Cook slowly on one side until golden brown, turn over the dough and cook over the other side until golden brown. Serve warm with some curry.

Note: Be careful when you work with the dough. It can't be re-kneaded or streached out again once you mess it up. You have to throw it away.

I am entering this post in the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday roundup, created and hosted by Sharon of Test with a Skewer and Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies.


MaryMoh said... favourite Malaysian hawker food. My family will eat lots! They are so good with curry.

Yati Harvey said...

you've answered my prayers....been trying to do this. this is going to be Sunday's breakfast!Thanks.Btw, were you living in Bt. 9 Cheras b4? I was there too....

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Thanks for the step by step, Gert! This is something which we very much take for granted... I salute you for making it. Looks so well done!

Alica said...

Wow I really want to make this now! It reminds me of an appetizer I used to order at my favorite Thai restaurant in Queens, NY. Thanks for posting!

cikmanggis said...

Tabik sprigggg!!! nampak betul betul seperti kat kedai mamak.Tahniah hehe

Jenn@ChasingFoodDreams said...

Wow.. thats all I can say..:)
I had a friend of mine bring some over from Msia to me in US.. hehehe

Looks really nice lo! Enjoy & Happy Chinese New Year to you & yr Family!

Sharon @ Fun and Life said...

Loooove roti canai! The FIRST thing I order as soon as I touch down in Malaysia :D. Although laksa comes very close too haha. Yours looks wonderful and delicious! With some good dhal curry I bet they're out of this world!

Sharon @ Fun and Life said...

Oh I jumped over from my mom's blog at, will be checking back again!

Anonymous said...

I like recipe but not sure what do you use bread for? It like green onion pancake way of making it.


pigpigscorner said...

Oh wow!I always buy the frozen ones whenever I crave for roti, you made it sound so easy!

SparkleMemo said...

Loved the fact that it wasn't heavy in fat. I have some dhal in the fridge, will make this again tonight! So flaky . Thank you for posting this recipe!

dinewithleny said...

I miss roti canai. I will definitely make this as it's difficult to expensive to get them here. Thanks for sharing step by step photos.

Hi Salley said...

How can I store these? Can I freeze them? If so at what step? Thank you.

The Sudden Cook said...

Hats off for making them! Mamak stalls are a way of life here in Malaysia. And i know they're not easy to make.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you about not taking these mamak for granted. Since learning to cook, I now appreciate why sometimes i have to pay so much for what seems like a simple dish!!! The amount of work that goes in to a "simple" dish are never seen. What may take a whole day to prepare and put together can be devoured in 15 minutes. So thanks for sharing!!!

Jeannie said...

Quite a tedious job but well worth the effort huh! Looks like the roti canai from mamak stalls here:D

My Asian Kitchen said...

roti canai is calling my name!! wow!! Gert you so handal make your own roti paratha!!looking good!!yesterday I just cooked at huge pot of curry chicken!! hmmm...going to celup roti canai wt my curry chic but store bought roti only! haha!

Kym Kym said...

Wah. So do you flip the dough in the air to make it super thin? I heard that it will make the prata crispy.

WendyinKK said...

Wow, that seems like a lot of work.
I like mine with sugar. Very childish way of eating.
I've seen Angie of Sea Salt with Food, stretching the dough on a overturned basin. Maybe you can try that method.

Shereen said...

You are really too much,gert!!!...hahaha.You are really not helping for those of us that is so far away from home.Still, you are fantastic!

ICook4Fun said...

Mary, yes they are.

Yati, yes I memang tinggal kat Batu 9. Didn't know you tinggal kat situ jugak. You kat the kompong Melayu situ ke?

Shirley, you are welcome and thanks you.

Ms Gourmet, you are welcome.

Cikmanggis, ha ha nak makan punya pasal kenalah buat sendiri :)

Jenn, Gong Xi Fa Cai to you too!!

Sharon, thanks for stopping by. For me dhal curry is a must with roti canai :)

Vicky, just eat it with curry.

ICook4Fun said...

Pigpigscorner, it is easy once you get the hang of making it :)

Sparklememo, looking forward to see your posting :)

Dinewithieny, can you get the frozen ones there? Here a packet cost like $2.00.

Salley, just freeze it up after you pan fried it.

The Sudden Cook, it look easy when the mamak makes it but not so ha ha..

Josephine, we never appreciates them until we have to make them ourselves :)

Jeannie, not really. Still needs a lot of improvement.

ICook4Fun said...

Lesley, I remember you made this too, right. Are you cooking the curry for your reunion dinner? I am doing mine only on Saturday as Diana will be home only then.

Kym Kym, I tried flipping it but can't get it right. End up just pull and streching it by hand.

Shereen, main main saja ha ha... nothing to do mah in the cold winter :)

MummyDing said...

Thanks for the step to step on making roti prata.
i started to miss those crispy ones from the coffeeshop from my parent's home and i can't even find the frozen ones in Japan.
your blog is really a very supportive place for recipes on food from back home.

Unknown said...

Lovely aprons. What a nice giveaway!
I will like to try on Apple cranberry tea ring. I love the fresh and dried fruits combination of the filling.Of course the presentatin of the bread!

Jessie said...

I made some roti canai for the first time today from a friend's recipe and made holes while flipping. I tried to salvage and made them into balls to flip again. And then I remembered you. Haha! Now I learn from you that once messed up, I have to discard the dough. I will try your recipe. Thanks for sharing some cooking tips here!

ICook4Fun said...

Jessie, yea once you mess up, you can't start all over again. You just can't use the dough anymore :)

aisha said...

hi i am very fond of your blog,tried many recipe.I want to ask if i want to fill something in it at which step i do that?,and what kind of filling.

ICook4Fun said...

Aisha, just put in the filling after step 4, fold the dough up and pan fried it.

jsb said...

Hope you can help me.
Was trying out this roti recipe but mine failed. When I wanted to form the dough into balls, it was just too soft to shape it, not to mention the dough was sticking all over my hand.
I tried to make 3 small balls before giving up. It just won't stay firm, like yours in the picture. 'melayot'... :( so hard to rub the margarine all over!!
Can I ask:
1: what kind of flour did you used? I used all purpose flour. Was that correct? If not, what kind of flour should I use?
2: I am trying salvage the dough. I added more flour to balance dough to firm it up. I think mine was too soft, is it? Anyhow after that, I added the 3 small balls into the dough, to re-do step #1. Mix and mix but couldn't get the soft and smooth texture again (which I got in the first attempt). I'm letting thr dough rest now, hoping that somehow it will be soft and smooth after resting. Do you have any advice for me?

Desperately need help, thanks!!!

ICook4Fun said...

Hi Jsb, I am not too sure why you dough is so soft if you follow the recipe. The recipe is from Mamafami and I follow it to the T and it came out great. I just used the regular AP flour. You need to knead the dough for some time to form the gluten. If the dough is too soft you can add some flour at this stage.

Not sure what you meant by step 1. Step 1 of the pix or step one of the instructions. If you are doing step one of the pix, you can add anymore flour to it. You will not get the dough to be smooth again. My only advice will be to throw out this batch of dough and start all over again. I am sorry that it didn't work for you. Well let me know the outcome if you try this again.

jsb said...

Hi again!

Thanks for th reply. Just to update you, I forgot to mentioned that I halved your recipe, but since I didn't know how to use half an egg, I used an egg still.

I guessed, I wasn't sure if I could add flour while kneading, so I didn't eventhough the dough was way too soft. Real noob of me!

Anyhow, long story short, I redid the dough by adding more flour and re-kneading it. It didn't come out that smooth, but still more manageable than before. In the end, my roti came out okay, just not so soft as like mamak shops, or yours, I guessed. But I'm happy, still can eat... at least I now know what went wrong...haha..

Thanks once again! :)

Fildzah Zata said...

izin share :)

Sailu said...

I really don't know how I missed your blog in all my 10 years of food blogging. Awesome awesome space you have here. Its so nice to see Indian food featured in your blog. Roti canai is called lachcha paratha in India. Its matter of practise before you perfect it. You have done a great job for a person making it for the first time. :)

Unknown said...

Can I use your Roti Canai picture madam?For my work purpose,please :)

Unknown said...

Can I store the dough balls in the refrigerator overnight, or should they be left out at room temperature? Also how long can they last?

ICook4Fun said...

Mizzzbeee, yes you can keep it overnight in the fridge but bring it back to room temperature before using it. I guess the most you can keep it for 2-3 days but make sure you coat it well with butter or oil.