Oh my! I have not been so knackered for a long time (equivalent to about 3 x 14 hours shift in the hospital I think)! The 2-day Future Music Festival Asia partying has really worn me out but I’ve never had so much fun. Will blog about it soon.
It’s funny how the first time I’ve eaten Roti Jala was all the way in Melbourne (a big shout out to a dear friend, Robert of Chili Padi for great authentic Malaysian food). True enough, growing up in Sarawak, it’s very rare that we visit anything other than Chinese Restaurants, except for the occasional Roti Canai when the craving strikes. To be honest I don’t even know if we can find Roti Jala in Bintulu, as it originates from Johor, a state all the way at the tip of the Peninsula Malaysia.
The person who invented this must be quite an artist as these crepes are not only tasty, they look almost too beautiful to eat. Roti Jala is a very popular dish during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and is usually served with various types of curries. The mold for Roti Jala though, is not as beautiful looking and almost looks like a cow’s udder. Hah! Here’s a picture.
You can find this in local supermarkets easily (and cheap). I bought mine from AEON (Jusco) when I first arrived in KL, what a random buy right? Since this month is Johor month for Malaysian Food Fest hosted by Annie, it’s perfect timing to make another batch of Roti Jala!
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour, sieved
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Water (plus more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon Oil or Ghee (to grease the pan)
*Note that if you can’t get hold of a roti jala mold, you can punch a few holes at the bottom of a plastic bottle, milk carton, tin can, or just use a squeeze top (this will take longer so turn the heat to low while doing so).
In a big bowl, mix everything together (except the oil) and strain, pour into a measuring cup for easier pouring.
Turn the heat to medium, grease the pan with oil or ghee. In swift movements, hold the Roti Jala mold above the pan and pour the batter into the mold (it will start dripping straightaway). Start making circular motions to create the ‘lace’ pattern. You might have to readjust the consistency of the batter (with more water) if the batter doesn’t flow smoothly.
Once the top is set (and the bottom lightly browned) fold the crepes into triangles and arrange on plate.
The crepes are slightly crispy around the edges and soft in the centre, they are really fun to eat! The best way to enjoy this is with a rich curry with plenty of liquid to soak the crepes. The spices really brings out the delicate flavours of Roti Jala. Since we are always in favour of vegetarian dishes, I’ve made an Eggplant, Pumpkin, Tomato and Potato Curry to go with the crepes.
1 Onion, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
Thumb sized Ginger, finely chopped
1 Eggplant, cut into 5cm pieces
Half Pumpkin, cut into 1″ blocks
1 Medium Potato, cut into 1″ blocks
1 Tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seed
1/2 teaspoon Fennel Seed
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
3-4 pieces of Dried Chili, finely chopped
2-3 Chili Padi, finely chopped
100ml Coconut Milk
1 tablespoon Yoghurt (optional)
100ml Vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Salt the Eggplant before cooking for about 15 minutes, then wash and pat dry.
Roast all the spices in a heavy pan until fragrant. Add oil and saute Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Dried chili for about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes for the juices to release, follow by Eggplant (1-2 minutes), Potato, and then Pumpkin (cooks the fastest so goes in last). Once all the vegetables are nicely coated with spices and slightly browned. Add fresh chili, pour in stock and coconut milk. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding water as required. The curry is ready when potato and pumpkin pieces are tender.
Just before turning off the heat, stir in the plain Yoghurt and mix well. Serve with rice, bread or the delectable Roti Jala.