If you’ve ever met me on my trips and have asked me about my favorite country, I list down a few for different reasons and Malaysia is my favorite for food! During the start of my round-the-world trip, I went to Malaysia first. I had made a few friends in the Philippines who were from there so I thought it was a good start. It meant having people I know in a strange country as it was going to be my first time traveling solo outside of the Philippines. It was actually nerve-wracking and it was eased up knowing I’ll have people to call in case I get lost or something.
So my journey began with a ton of help from locals and it was one of the best experiences because all of them made sure I ate the most authentic, most delicious dishes Malaysia has to offer. Boy, I was spoiled, I tell you what!
From the different laksas across the country, the soups, the stews, the snacks, the noodles, the curries, the breads… I had tried so many and I haven’t even tried everything yet. It’s always an adventure. I’ve visited that beautiful country numerous times within a span of a year. Each time, I go back to my favorite places and try something new. There’s always something new!
But whenever I want a taste of Malaysia, somehow I remember roti canai first and then some delicious curry and dhal. So simple yet so filling and a flavor party in your mouth. I remember the first time I tried roti canai and it was the best flat breads I’ve ever had in my life. I was so addicted to it. The texture and the flavor are so unique.
After over two months of being in South America, I can’t count how many times I miss the taste of Asian food. I’ve tried making okonomiyaki, fried rice, and dumplings just to sate the cravings a little. They weren’t as good as I wanted them to be due to the lack of spices and seasonings here. I knew I should bought a bag full of them before I left Nepal! Oh, well.
Just a few days ago, I thought, I could give roti canai a shot! I’ve never made it on my own but I’ve seen it so many times so maybe it could work out. I knew there was a lot of fat involved in it like oil or butter and a lot of stretching it out thin! I searched a few recipes and I think I’ve found it!
Like always, I work around the recipe to make it suitable for my liking and also because there are so many recipes out there that are just wrong somehow. I also like keeping things simple. Probably like you who’s reading this, I want to keep ingredients to a minimum but still achieve amazing flavors.
So let’s dive into the recipe! Just a reminder, I don’t like everything to be exact measurements. I eye-ball a lot of my cooking.
- 3 cups all purpose flour (but I hear bread flour is better)
- 1 whole egg
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- A pinch of salt
- Some warm water to add to incorporate the whole dish, a cup more or less
So, let’s start off by mixing in the flour, egg, salt, melted butter, and salt. Mix with the handle of your wooden spoon or a chopstick to incorporate them together. Once you see it’s all sort of incorporated you can then add in warm water in small amounts until you’ve reached the desired consistency of dough that’s tacky but not sticky. Once you finish this, knead the dough for 10 minutes. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes and knead again for another 5.
Once done, divide the dough into 8 pieces, coat with butter and form into balls once you’ve done this for all dough pieces, place them in a buttered pan and cover with a cling wrap. Let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.
Bring out your dough and let it warm up to room temperature as right now your dough is probably stiff from the cooler temperature. Below is a summary of how to prepare your dough and further down this article I’ll explain a bit more further.
Coat your rolling surface with a loooooot and I mean a loooot of butter. Place the ball of dough in the middle and press from the middle to the sides until you expand the dough so wide and thin that you can see through it. Add butter along the way in both sides as needed, especially making sure the bottom side isn’t sticking to the surface! Flip every now and then to add butter.
From here, you can either fold the dough into a square by folding all side to the middle or you can do the layered circle type by crinkling the dough on both the top side and bottom side. To do this, carefully scrape and drag the dough from the top to the center and the same from the bottom to the center. Roll the dough into a circle starting from one end of the now log-shaped dough to the the other end. Tuck the end of the dough into the middle.
Once you’ve rolled it into a circle, let it rest for 5 minutes before spreading it flat right before cooking. Use the palm / fingers technique for this. You want to roll this out as thin as possible as well so you can be sure you’ll cook through all the dough.
In the pan on medium heat, add in some butter enough to coat it then place your flat dough. Cook until golden brown before flipping. Cook the other side until golden brown as well. Add butter if needed before you flip to the other side so both sides are golden brown!
After you remove the (circle) dough off the pan, fluff it up right away by pushing the roti on both ends. Pardon the photo below, my right hand was taking the photo. Assume my right hand is in the opposite side to help push the roti to the center, turning it around to fluff it up in all sides until you come out with something that looks like the right photo
And tada! You’ve got yourself some delicious roti ready to be married to a bowl of curry or dhal.