Roti canai is a type of
flatbread found in Malaysia. Roti canai is circular and flat. There are two ways to make roti
canai that is either to twirl it until the dough becomes a very
thin sheet and then fold it into a
circular shape or to spread out the dough as thinly as possible before being
Left: Roti canai.
Then the folded dough is grilled with oil. The first method
is more popular and faster than the second. In English and in Chinese, roti
canai is sometimes referred to as "flying bread", a term
that evokes the process of tossing and spinning by which it is
The dish is composed of dough containing
copious amounts of fat, egg, flour and water (although eggless vegetarian
versions do exist). The form of fat used is usually ghee (clarified butter).
Some people add sweetened condensed milk to the mix. The entire mixture is
kneaded thoroughly, flattened, oiled and folded repeatedly. It is then allowed
to proof and rise, and the process is repeated.
The final round of preparation
consists of flattening the dough ball, coating it with oil and then cooking on a
flat iron skillet with a lot of oil. The ideal roti is flat, fluffy on the
inside but crispy and flaky on the outside.
Left: Roti canai is cooked on a flat
iron skillet with a lot of oil.
Most plain roti are round while those with
fillings are square in shape due to the folding of the roti.