Roti - โรตี

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roti roti

Every year, I take a trip to Thailand to visit my family and friends. Some relatives and friends look the same year after year and some have gone through transformations...like food in Thailand.

When I was growing up there was only one style of sweet roti and the vendors were South Asian immigrants. This style has the stretched dough spiraling into a round, flower-like shape, then flattened into a round disk. This roti is fried in oil with a small piece of margarine. When the roti is golden brown, the vendor places it on paper, drizzles some sweetened condensed milk and sprinkles some sugar on top and rolls it up. This roti is soft with a few crunchy spots and is very sweet. Off you go, eating warm, sweet roti, walking the streets of Bangkok.

About 10 years ago, I noticed that I could get a super crispy roti at a mall. Street food gone high end? Then I started to see them everywhere. The vendors are no longer just immigrants but everybody and anybody who can make roti. I like the super crispy roti as much as my childhood roti. The super crispy roti has the same dough but stretched dough goes directly into hot oil. The increased surface area is exposed to hot oil, resulting in even more crunchy crispiness.

The evolution of roti didn't stop there. I can now get fillings in my roti. Just like Thai cooks took over the original rotis from the Indians, the fillings show the their assimilation of other foreign foods. The fillings now range from bananas to strawberry jam, to the Italian Nuttela. Even simple cheese was not even enough, so now you can find pizza toppings.

When you're in Thailand, stop at a roti stand and enjoy a warm roti with a long history. In the meantime, let's make it at home.

5 Servings, Prep Time: 25 Minutes, Total Time: 25 Minutes
  • butter
  • sugar
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • cooking oil
  • Roti Dough

Tips and Techniques

  • The amount of ingredients (butter, sugar, sweetened condensed milk and oil) are as needed. I prefer just sweetened condensed milk on my roti.
  • When frying roti, the more oil you add to the pan, the crispier the roti.
  • When slapping down the dough, don't worry about the holes. Continue to work around them. The roti gets really crispy around the holes because these are the thinnest spots.
  • Sweetened condensed milk can be really thick and hard to drizzle when it's cold. Let the sweetened condensed milk sits in a warm water bath.
  • In Thailand, we punch a few holes to drizzle the sweet condensed milk. But when the sweetened condensed milk gets too thick, I open the can all the way and use a fork to drizzle the sweetened condensed milk.
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Roti Dough

Pbang Roti แป้งโรตี
5 Servings, Prep Time: 10 Minutes, Total Time: 50 Minutes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup water
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