Making Roti Canai

Please see also my website Roti Canai



Roti Canai is a Malaysian invention! It does not originate from India. It was developed by the 'Mamak' for a cheap and stable food and only later on was it re- exported back to India. It is also not oily and is in fact a very healthy food. The main ingredients are mainly water and plain flour; there is very little oil. The oil we see the vendor uses is only for lubrication in the final process of stretching and folding.
There are many methods and recipes for making roti canai. I have tried and find that the recipe from Leslie Tay from Singapore to be most suitable. I read he done extensive research on the making of Roti Canai and even bought a whole bag of 25 kilo of flour just to get to learn the know how! Though I have not perfected the flipping but I am getting there..LOL.

Read this before you start
1. Contrary to popular beliefs, Roti Canai does not need or contain a lot of oil.
2. The main objective is to create a super thin dough without tearing that can passed the window pane test. The thinner the dough, the crisper would be the roti when fried.
3. Oil is used liberally only in the final process more as a lubricating agent in the stretching and to prevent the thin dough from sticking together. Hence the misconception that it contains a lot of oil.


Basic Dough Recipe (Crisp texture)
600g Plain Flour
300ml Water
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
15ml Oil
1 egg

Making the Dough
1. Mix the wet ingredients together and give them a good whisk.
2.Add in flour and mix well, leave it alone for 20 minutes. Giving it 20 minutes rest with break down the gluten and when you start to knead, you will get a smooth dough in no time. Then knead by hand for about 20 minutes with a 10 minutes rest time in between. ( I used a bread machine for this.)
3 .Dust the dough with flour then divide them like a ball , about 100g each. Ensure the bottom is smooth.
4. Coat them with oil or soak them in oil to prevent drying and again rest them for at least 3 to 8 hours depending on the amount of sugar used. (I found that after 4 hours is the best.)
The resting breaks down the gluten in the flour and makes the dough more pliable and easy to flip. Remember to cover the dough balls with cling wrap to keep the surface from drying out. (I put the whole container/bowl inside a plastic bag tied with a rubber band.)

soak them in oil - I prefer to soak them in some soil to prevent drying. I find the dough is easier to handle after 4 hrs; I need not use any more oil. The same oil may be used to smear the table top and for frying the Roti. Any excess can still be return for general cooking and not wasted.






Stretching the dough.

Square Roti
1.Take a small ball from the dough.
Place the dough on a very well greased counter top and using a rolling pin to flatten and roll out the dough
to a very thin layer. Then to stretch it further slowly using your hands, pull at one end of the dough. You can rest one hand in the middle of the dough and using another hand pull at the ends. Slowly do this at all the ends, until you can see through the dough or until the dough is super thin.
2. Coat the surface of the dough to prevent it sticking together when folding.
Fold up the thin dough just like you are folding a blanket into a square shape.
3. Fry the Roti in a skillet greased with oil for 1-2 minutes until browned. It should be flaky and soft

Round shape Roti.
1.Take a small ball from the dough.
Place the dough on a very well greased counter top and using a rolling pin to flatten and roll out the dough to a very thin layer.
Then to stretch it further slowly using your hands, pull at one end of the dough.
You can rest one hand in the middle of the dough and using another hand pull at the ends.
Slowly do this at all the ends, until you can see through the dough or until the dough is super thin.
2. Coat the surface of the dough to prevent it sticking together when folding. Pull or stretch the the longer ends of the dough and start pleating or roll up the dough to make a rope. Then hold both ends of this dough rope. Slowly twist and turn it in the air, lightly. It will start stretching between your hands. Make it as long as you can, then slowly twirl the dough like a turban, starting from one end, until you reach the other end. Once done, flatten it immediately with the palm of your hand to desired thickness.
3. Fry the Roti in a skillet greased with oil for 1-2 minutes until browned. It should be flaky and soft

Related - Serve with Malaysian Special Curry chicken (sarawak) or Dhal


6 comments:

  1. Hi Shoonyin, I just got a new bread machine today! You mentioned that you used the bread machine to knead after resting the mixture for 20 minutes. Do you knead for 20 minutes and rest 10 minuteas with hand kneading?

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    1. P/s Do you think using bread flour would make the dough more elastic and easer to pass the window pane test? Also less time for the final rest?

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    2. Leona, just use plain flour is good enough and use the bread machine on dough setting to knead till you get a smooth dough. Only when you knead by hand you need to rest for 10 mins in between to get a smooth dough quickly. Then Divide into balls and soak them in oil for 4 hours..
      Tip:Try to use Adabi curry powder Kai Ayam dan Dayang for your curry sauce, it is just yummy for Roti canai..

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    3. Thank you so much for the tips!

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  2. Hi Shoon Yin, I am very happy to have stumbled upon your wonderful blog. I am still going through each and every one of your recipe. But it is this roti canal recipe which brought me to your blog. I am going to try out this recipe. Wish me luck! Again, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Veronica, you are welcome. any problem just contact me again but don't give up, this recipe is tested and should be good.

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