As I have told you before, I love exploring international cuisine. So whenever there is a theme regarding that in the BM announcement ( Blogging Marathon), I choose it every time. If you don’t know what BM is about, it is a monthly event started by Srivalli, where we group of bloggers blog three days a week on a chosen theme. We crossed 100 editions last month, and this month we are at 101th. This is certainly a proud moment for all of us. Coming back to the theme, I chose Nusantra and Indo China as my theme this week. The name Nusantra sounds poetic but I didn’t know about the region or regions that fell under it. Wiki helps a lot in research. So after reading I came to know that the Nusantra is the Indonesian name for Maritime Southeast Asia whereas Indo China refers to the Mainland Southeast Asia. Nusantra consists of Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia and East Timor. It is also called as the Island Southeast Asia or Insular Southeast Asia. Indo China / Indochinese Peninsula is the continental portion between east of India and south of China and it includes Burma, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. If you are interested, you can read more with the help of Google.
Choosing three dishes from these many regions was not an easy task. So I started with a theme – flat bread. Every cuisne has its own unique flat bread. So I decided to do three from Nusantra and Indo China. The first one is the flaky Roti Canai also known as Roti Parotta or roti cane. It is very similar to the Parotta we get in Tamil Nadu and it is most common in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand. It is a famous street food and is always served with a spicy non veg curry or dal curry at the side. Here we use oil, but in the recipes I saw, they used butter. And there was egg in the dough. But I didn’t add any. The art of stretching and folding for the roti canai is difficult to master. You can keep watching for hours. I remember once I tried to stretch the dough like they do in stalls. The dough flew and stuck to the wall. Then I stopped doing that, Hahaha! The flaky buttery bread is one of Sruti’s favourite. So I made it for her lunch one day with a potato curry to the side. She was quite happy that day. I used maida after a long time to make it as you can make the wheat flour based dough stretch like this. So the result would vary. I have tried the wheat flour version previously and it is also good. So if you don’t want to use all purpose flour, then use wheat flour. But don’t skimp on butter. That is what gives the wonderful flavour and texture to the roti canai.
I really need to talk abut the stone I use for such flat breads. Once when I visited mom, she gave me this huge granite slab left over after the construction of house. That was mainly for the making of parotta. If you use the normal chapathi stone as the base, the parotta will be too tiny. That is why we need a huge base stone to make it large. I remember hubby grunting on lifting and carrying it to the car. I couldn’t even shift it. And now after two years of working out with weights, I can easily handle that slab. I even climb stairs carrying it. That slab has become the base for all my food photos, counter for kneading the dough and shaping breads and I also shoot videos on it. I need to thank my mom for saving this for me. And coming to the stepwise photos, I usually struggle a lot when working with both hands, but this time Sruti was around. So she took all the step wise photos for the post and I am happy with all of them. Now I have an assistant! Yay!
For The Dough:
All Purpose Flour / Maida – 250 gm
Salt – to taste
Oil – 3 tbs
Water as needed
Butter – as needed
Ghee for cooking
In a bowl, combine flour, salt and oil and mix well.
Add enough water to make a soft dough.
Cover and set aside for three or four hours. You can also leave it in fridge overnight.
Divide the dough into four equal portions.
Keep room temperature butter handy.
Apply butter on the dough as well as the counter.
Start pressing and stretching the dough into a thin disc.
You can use a roller to roll the disc into a thin rectangle or a larger disc. The shape won’t matter.
Roll it really thin so that it becomes transparent and the counter can be seen through. Even if there are holes, there is no problem.
Apply generous butter on top of the disc and start gathering it on both sides. Refer the photos.
Once you bring it to a long log, roll it into a tight knot and tuck the end below the knot.
Set it aside and finish the remaining.
Now heat a tawa.
Flatten each roll into a thin disc using a roller.
Cook it on both sides drizzling ghee on the roti.
Once completely cooked and evenly browned, remove it onto the counter.
Crush it between both the hands so that the layers separate.
Serve it immediately with a curry or dal of your choice.