Roti jala or net/lace pancake is traditional Malaysian dish served as a complement to chicken curry or rendang (dry curry). The turmeric flavour of roti jala mirrors the spices in the curry; and the crevices made by the net structure is perfect to mop up the curry gravy.
Roti jala is made with a special utensil; a cup with 4 – 6 small funnels. The old-fashioned metal roti jala cups are still available, but the plastic version is more common these days. These are readily available from traditional departmental stores in Malaysia (I bought mine from the Boulevard Department Store in Kuching) or online.
The recipe I used is from the New Straits Times (Malaysian newspaper) Kuali site and is accredited to Amy Beh. I’ve modified it to use a single can of coconut milk.
Ingredients: (to make 18 pieces)
250g plain flour
400mL can coconut milk
300 – 350mL water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Sift flour into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs. Mix the coconut milk, 300mL water, salt and turmeric powder in a bowl and add to the flour mix. Mix until the batter is smooth. Strain mixture to ensure there are no lumps (lumps will block the roti jala cup funnels).
Check the viscosity of the batter by putting some through the roti jala cup. If the batter does not flow well, add more water.
Put a non-stick pan on medium heat. If you need to, grease the pan very lightly with a small amount of butter or oil (I brush this on using a silicon brush). Fill the roti jala cup with the batter and quickly make concentric circles in the pan. Don’t worry if you get some spotches, it will be hidden once cooked and folded.
Cook for ~2 mins until the strands are starting to brown and lift off the pan (I like my roti jala to be just a touch crispy). You don’t need to flip your roti jala. Fold in half, then in thirds to form a wedge.
Serve warm or at room temperature with curry.