Perdeby experiences: making Rotis

REBECCA WOODROW

Every week Perdeby sends their journalists to experience something out of their comfort zones. This week Rebecca Woodrow decided to make rotis, a difficult and technical process.

Roti is a flatbread made with wheat flour. Flatbreads are found throughout the world from the Americas to South East Asia and accompany several dishes. Interesting versions includes a Sri Lankan recipe that uses coconut. In short, rotis are delicious and make life worth living.

I'm very good at eating rotis but I've never made them. Until Saturday.

Rotis are not for the lazy cook! You won't break a bone making them, but you will break a sweat. The process includes kneading dough, shaping it, keeping the little bundles of shaped dough cool by stashing them under a dampened dishcloth, flattening the pieces into a raw roti and buttering both sides while you flip and cook it on a hot pan. Essentially though, if you pay attention during the process and have a system going, disaster won't strike. You get into the groove somewhat (even if you are dealing with a hot pan and a delicate pancake that needs buttering).

Do not be afraid to do the simplified, safer option! Admittedly this applies to all new-cooking adventures. But even though some people can flip a cooking roti WITH THEIR FINGERS doesn't mean you need to, even if you feel the authenticity is threatened. If you don't need to use your fingertips on a hot pan, DON’T. I used a pair of silicon tongs to flip things and still managed to burn a finger.

Here's the recipe for the kitchen-adventurous:

  • Place 750ml of cake flour and 5ml of fine salt in mixing bowl
  • Pour 375ml of boiled water over the dry ingredients
  • Mix the water into the flour
  • Add 75ml of sunflower oil and knead the dough until smooth
  • Roll the dough into a ‘log’ and slice into 12 pieces
  • Roll each piece into a length and curl up half
  • Curl up the other half in the opposite direction
  • Fold one curled section over the other and flatten the dough slightly.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth
  • Roll each piece into a round ensuring that the work surface is dusted with flour
  • Repeat until all the dough has been rolled out
  • Place the roti on a hot pan, when bubbles appear, flip the roti over
  • Drizzle with melted butter, then flip the roti again, drizzle again and then flip the roti
  • Brown the roti, and remove from the pan
  • Pile the rotis and leave to cool before storing them away
  • Store rotis in a cake tin lined with wax paper

Make rotis! They are tasty and doable. And you will have earned them, because you and your kitchen will need a flour-and-oil clean-up when you're finished. 

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