Roti Canai is the type of roti that is fluffy and buttery. The flour dough is kneaded to perfection with the ghee (clarified butter) then left overnight before it is flipped repeatedly until the dough is flat and airy the next day. It is then cooked on the flat pan until the texture is crispy. The classic roti canai is called “roti kosong” means no added filling. It is dipped into the dahl gravy or variety of curries. Some people like to pour a mixture of curry and dhal on top of the roti. The term is called “roti banjir”. Nowadays, there are many type of roti canai served such as roti telur (eggs filling), roti bawang (onion filling) and roti sardine (sardine filling). It is also one of the staple breakfast meal for the people in Kuala Lumpur.
Image by: Yun Huang Yong
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It is just a thin disk of stretched dough, a flatbread aspiring to be part-pancake, part-crepe. But roti canai is the staple starch, snack, basic breakfast and late-night curry dipper for all of modern Kuala Lumpur’s eating on-the-go ethnicities. While a side dish in South Asia, roti canai has been made thoroughly Malaysian by being turned into a meal in itself — with numerous variations of preparation and flavor that serve as the perfect expression of the country’s street-smart, grab-bag food culture.
Roti canai for me is not only a flatbread that I eat with dhal curry. For me, it reminds me of all those wonderful memories that I cherish of my family.
In Malaysia, you can find Roti Canai mostly in mamak stalls. Its dough is made from a mixture of flour, egg, butter and water, which is kneaded, flattened and bewildering flips by hand before placing it on a hot griddle and sprinkled with some oil to fry till crispy. It is usually served with dhal (lentil curry) on the side, but you can ask for other kinds of curry, sambal or even sugar to eat it with, depends on one’s preferences.