Roti canai comes out of the Indian influence of Kuala Lumpur; a paratha-style bread served with chickpea curry and probably a few sambals, which is what makes it unique to Malaysia. Crisp layered bread with a saucy, spicy curry and various chilli sauces for breakfast? You can keep your overnight oats, we’re having this.
How to make roti
There are some roti recipes that include condensed milk and butter as well as the sugar and oil, but we thought this would over-sweeten something deeply savoury. There also appear to be several ways to shape roti: some create a spiral effect by wrapping the dough around itself and then flattening, but these came out slightly denser and lost some of that fluffy texture, when we tested them.
The real technique here is in getting the roti dough as thin as possible using the slick, oiled worksurface to work it until it’s paper-thin – it’s amazing how tactile and strong the dough is. The thinner the dough, the more layers there are in the roti, and the better they’ll be. The traditional way of stretching the dough is to pick it up from one side, flap it in the air and then slap it down. This takes a bit of practice, but it’s highly satisfying!
Smashing them up after you’ve spent all that time stretching and shaping might sound bonkers, but this lets the steam escape and means the roti stay crisp as well as fluffy.
How to serve roti
Roti canai would usually be served with a thin, spicy chana (chickpea) dahl, but I’ve gone for a more substantial veg curry. I’m sorry if this upsets you, but rules were made to be broken.
Roti canai recipe