Sunday, March 22, 2015

Roti canai and murtabak

I must have been living under a rock when it comes to discovering the dish, murtabak. I remember my first experience at Rumah Indo Restaurant and thinking to myself that this was one tasty dish that I need to learn to replicate.

It's been a weekend of relaxing, picking up 2 Japanese maple trees to add to our garden and trialling a new recipe or two. I was going to attempt to make roti canai and from there I was going to make the filling for the murtabak.

Roti canai is a flatbread that is served with curry throughout southeast Asia. Whereas murtabak is a stuffed pancake made with roti canai and comes in many variations either sweet or savoury.

There are many different recipes available and I did have to look up a few youtube videos to get the hang of flipping the dough. Pepe and I were having competitions to see who could flip the dough better. Quoting the words of my Mr4 year old, "I think, Mummy win".

Start the roti canai the night before, so it will be perfect for breakfast.

Makes 8 serves

Roti canai


450g plain flour
3 tbs ghee

Wet ingredients
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
250mL water


1. Combine the egg, sugar, salt and water into a bowl, stirring to combine.

2. Place flour into a stand mixer with a dough attachment and pour the wet ingredients in. This mixture will form into dough.

3. Let the dough be kneaded for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.

4. Grease the work surface with a 2 tsp of ghee.

5. Roll the dough into a sausage and divide into 8 equal pieces.

6. Shape the dough into a ball, rubbing with ghee as you go.

7. Place the balls on tray lined with baking paper and cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure it's wrapped well.)

8. Set aside in a warm place to prove overnight.



1 tbs coconut oil
2 brown onions finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tbs of finely chopped ginger
1 & 1/2 tbs of mild curry powder (I used my curry korma powder for this)
500g lamb mince

1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 egg

150mL ghee


9. Heat 1 tbs of coconut oil in a wok over medium heat.

10. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and curry powder for 8 minutes until onions softened.

11. Add the lamb, sugar and salt. Breaking up the lamb as it cooks until the liquid has evaporated and the meat has browned (approximately 12 minutes).

12. Season to taste and remove from heat and stir in the egg.

13. Place a ball on the work surface brushed with a 1 tsp of ghee. With your hands flatten the dough to square shape.

14. Picking up one corner of the dough with one hand under the dough and other hand over, fling it over your shoulder then back onto the work surface. Move your hands to the next corner, flick the dough again for another two times. Until you have managed to flick the dough for each corner, a total of 4 times as a minimum. Or you can roll out the dough to a thin 30cm square.

15. Place the lamb mix into the centre of the stretched out dough. Brush ghee around the stretched dough with your hands. Fold in thirds. Fold the left hand side into the centre, then fold the right hand side into the centre. Fold in the ends to create a rough 12cm square parcel.

16. Heat 1 tbs of ghee into a fry pan over medium heat.

17. Place the parcel, folded side up first for 5-7 minutes, turning halfway to cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes until golden and cooked through.

18. Repeat with remaining roti canai dough and follow the steps through from 13.

19. Serve with pickled onions and coriander and a side of red lentil dahl.


Handy hints

You can also make sweet roti canai. Instead of the murtabak filling, spread a thin layer of jam, fold up into a square parcel and cook with 1 tbs of ghee. A dusting of icing sugar to serve was a hit with the kids.

Don't over handle the dough, once the dough has been flung, don't attempt to re-roll into ball as it will have lost its elasticity. Pepe learnt this lesson.

When you shape the dough, make the edges thinner before you fling it, as this ensures you don't have to deal with thick edges later.

If you get holes in the edges of your roti canai dough, just fold over a little dough to cover it and either fling it again or stretch it out.

Curry korma powder is available at Harris Farm or at supermarkets in the spice section.

Check out my pickled onion recipe in the next post. I'll also post a the red lentil recipe as well.

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