When I was growing up, we bought bread from the Roti Man (bread man) who came round to the house on a bicycle. He had a huge metal container strapped to the back of his bike filled with breads. The outside of the container hung huge bags of all kinds of goodies from candies, chips, and crackers, to small toys. As you can imagine, his arrival was much anticipated by the kids on the block.
One of my favorite snacks from the Roti Man was coconut buns. These were soft buns filled with a sweet, moist coconut filling, known as “inti”. These buns were very popular and inexpensive. Often times, they would be sold out and there would be a bunch of disappointed kids (myself included) wondering what to get instead. It is not uncommon for the kids to run after the Roti Man to persuade him to stop immediately so that they could get to it first. The poor guy with his heavy load had quite a balancing act to stay on his bike and not fall over.
The coconut filling or “inti” is usually made with freshly grated coconut cooked on the stove with sugar and pandan leaves. After cooking, the filling is moist and brown in color. As I have not seen freshly grated coconut here, I used sweetened coconut flakes found in the baking aisle of the regular grocery stores. Since it is already sweetened, I did not add any more sugar but merely browned it by pan frying. What resulted was dried sweet flakes. If you prefer a moist filling, adding several tablespoons of condensed milk would probably work but it will make the filling really sweet.
The dough of the coconut bun is a plain bread dough but I have some pandan paste that needed to be used and so I added that. I also thought that it might be fun to make it like my rolled Chelsea Buns instead of a regular round bun. I am glad I added the pandan paste as the wonderful aroma of the pandan together with the coconut filled the kitchen. Ro-Ri San and the two boys kept coming to inquire about what was baking in the oven.
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 1 large egg
- 3½ cups (525g) unbleached white bread flour
- 3 tbsp (42g) butter
- ¼ cup (55g) sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pandan paste
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp (28g) butter, melted
- 2 cups (6 oz/170g) sweetened coconut flakes
Pour milk into bread machine pan. Add egg. Sprinkle flour over. Add butter, sugar, salt, and pandan paste in separate corners of bread pan. Make a shallow indentation in the middle of flour and add yeast. Snap bread pan into bread machine and close lid. Set bread machine to dough setting. Press the start button.
While dough is in the bread machine, dry fry sweetened coconut flakes on medium heat until golden brown, stirring constantly. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Grease a 9 inch square cake pan. When dough cycle is complete, remove dough from machine and place it on a lightly floured surface. Punch down gently and roll into a 15 inch square. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with filling. Roll up dough like a jelly roll. The roll may elongate a little.
Cut into 12 pieces and place cut side up in prepared pan. They should be placed close together but not touching so as to leave room for it to rise.
Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 to 45 minutes or until pieces of dough touch each other.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake buns for 20 - 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly in pan before turning onto wire rack.
You can hand knead or use a stand mixer to knead the dough if you prefer. Mix all dough ingredients together and knead until a smooth soft dough forms. Allow it to rise for and hour to an hour and a half or until almost double in size. Hand kneading will probably take 10 to 15 minutes while the stand mixer will take about 5 to 7 minutes.
Commenter number 20 is Namitha! Congrats Namitha! You are the winner of a copy of Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji. Please e-mail me with your address so that I can forward it to the publisher. Thank you all for participating in the giveaway. A very special thank you also to Lee & Low Books for their generosity.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)