Roti Jala is the lesser known and more elusive cousin of the famed roti canai in Malaysia. You are more likely to encounter roti jala in a social gathering than in a restaurant. It is especially popular during Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid) and a favorite at traditional Malay feasts or kenduri to mark auspicious events like weddings. Growing up, I looked forward to this treat at friends’ homes during Hari Raya.
When translated, roti jala literally means “net bread” because of its lacy or net-like appearance. Well made roti jala is tender and delicate. It should never be brown or crispy. They are usually served with chicken curry, beef rendang (dry curry), or serunding daging (spicy beef floss).
To make roti jala, you need a special cup with five nozzles. The batter is poured into the cup and moved in an overlapping circular motion to create the lacy effect. The key here is to move the cup constantly so that you do not end up with a big blob of batter in the pan resembling a regular pancake. It takes a little practice but you should get the hang of it after the first few. If the roti jala cup is not available, a squeeze bottle with a single nozzle may be used. A DIY alternative is to use an empty milk can punctured with holes.
These roti jala have a nice yellow color and a mild turmeric fragrance with the addition of ground turmeric. A few drops of yellow food coloring maybe used in place of turmeric. Usually 4 to 5 crepes per person will suffice. This recipe will serve 2 to 3 persons.
- 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¾ cup (180ml) coconut milk mixed with ¾ cup (180ml) water
- Vegetable oil to grease pan
Sift flour and ground turmeric into a large bowl. Add salt. Stir in beaten egg and coconut milk until a smooth batter forms.
Strain batter to remove lumps.
Brush a little oil onto a non-stick pan on medium heat. Pour a little batter into the roti jala cup until about half full. Move the cup in a circular motion over the pan to form a lacy pattern. Cook until set. This only takes about 2 minutes. Slide crepe out of pan onto a plate. Repeat until all batter is used up.
When cool enough to handle, fold in both sides of the crepe and roll to form a neat package.
Serve with your favorite curry.
If a roti jala cup is not available, a squeeze bottle with a single nozzle or an empty milk can punctured with holes may be used.
NOTE: This post was updated on July 18th, 2014 with new pictures and video.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!