Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crispy Roti Prata (Asian Flat Bread)

If you haven't tasted roti prata, imagine if a croissant and a pancake had a baby and it was served dipped in spicy curry, umm yum!
Foodieo fact: Roti means "bread" and prata means "flat" in Hindi. 
Yummy roti prata!
I was raised eating this south Indian flat bread, made by pan searing stretched dough coated in ghee (clarified butter), when we lived in Singapore.  This country is tiny but a serious mighty global contender when it comes to representing and establishing its own culinary delights influenced from South East Asia like India, Malaysia, China & Malaysia.  My favourite memories of eating authentic roti prata is at our Singaporean neighbourhood hawker centre, an open air food court, consuming the flakey, fluffy and butter bread, hot off the griddle. 
Foodieo fact: Ghee is prepared by simmering butter and removing any liquid residue.  
I'd eat roti prata for breakfast, snack, dessert...heck any meal really, using my fingers to dip the flat bread in warm fish or mutton curry, or have it stuffed with egg, cheese, onion or simply sprinkled with granulated sugar.
Glee with Ghee!
Foodieo tip: Ghee is shelf stable but once opened, it can last 2-3 months unrefrigerated but best to store in the fridge, up to 1 year, for longer shelf live.
Now that we live in Vancouver, BC the only chance we get to have roti prata is at Malaysian or Singapore restaurants. Our recent trip back to Singapore last year reinvigorated my love for this fried pancake so much so, I made it my mission to learn how to make it authentically from scratch so I can satisfy my cravings and introduce this delectable dish to friends in Canada.
Foodieo tip: Transform your roti prata from savoury to sweet by enjoying it with ice-cream, nutella and fresh fruit.   
Watch my Instafoodieo
Ingredients:
- 3 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup ghee (melted)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 3/4 cup whole milk (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup water (room temperature)

Mixing Directions:
1. Use a mixer with a paddle attachment to combine flour, salt, sugar and 1/4 cup ghee until mixture starts to clump. 
2. Add egg, milk and water. Once dough starts to form, switch to dough hook attachment to start kneading until dough become elastic and smooth (5-7 minutes). 
3. Turn dough onto lightly oiled (use ghee) surface and manually knead dough for another 5 minutes. If dough starts to stick onto surface, continue to drizzle ghee. Dough will feel a bit sticky but not wet.
4. Cut dough into 16 equal pieces and form into balls. Coat each ball with 1/2-1 tsp of ghee and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and covered with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for at least 6 hours or over night (do not place in fridge, will harden dough).

Kneading dough in mixer with dough hook (5 minutes). 

Kneading dough by hand (another 5 minutes) on a lightly greased surface using ghee.

Tadah, roti prata dough! Should feel smooth & elastic.

Cut dough into 16 even pieces and roll into balls.

Coat each piece with 1/2-1 tsp ghee. Necessary to keep moist & impart flavour.

Roti balls slathered with ghee. Let rest covered with saran wrap at room temp, at least 6 hours. Overnight is even better!

Stretching the Roti Prata Directions:
1. Make sure your work surface is clean and that you dough is room temperature.  Warm dough is more pliable and easier to stretch without making holes!  
2. Coat your work surface and hands with a thin layer of ghee. Place one dough ball in the centre of your work surface and use the heel of your palm to press and flatten the dough into a 6-8" disk, slightly thinner around the edges. 
Foodieo tip: Drizzle ghee in the middle of the sheet to add, flavour and crispiness to the roti prata.
*You can try using a damp dish towel to practice first!*
3. Using your more dominant hand (mine is left), place four fingers of your left hand underneath dough and your thumb on top, at the 7 o’clock position. Place four fingers of right hand on top of dough at 4 o’clock 
4. Throw dough by moving left hand toward your right side, and then slapping it back onto table in one quick motion. Each time, as the dough sticks to the table, pull it back to stretch it further. The dough will get thinner as it’s tossed and pulled. Repeat this until it become thin as possible without too many holes (few are fine). 
5. Simultaneously move your hands clockwise around dough's edges each time you throw dough, allowing the disc to slowly rotate in your hands. This ensures an even stretch from all sides. You can also go around dough's edges by lifting the thicker parts and pulling outwards to thin and gently pressing against table to stick.
6. Using both hands, fold the top quarter dough so almost reaching middle of sheet. Fold the opposite edge to meet in the middle. Then repeat on the other edges to make a square. Each time you fold, try to capture some air in-between layers.

Press & flatten dough with greased hands.
Flatten dough until paper thin, throwing & slapping dough on greased counter. 
View my Instafoodieo again!
 Fold edges so barely touching each other in the middle.
Foodieo tip: Once you have stretched the roti prata open, you can stuff it by adding fixings like a beaten egg, grated cheddar cheese, thinly sliced onions. Then you close it up by folding the edges into the middle like an envelope.  
Cooking Roti Prata Directions:
1. Heat a non-stick pan over a low-medium heat. 
2. Drizzle pan with a little ghee. Add one bread to the pan, and cook slowly, turning periodically, to ensure even browning on all sides. Cook until each side is deep golden brown, even if that means more cooking time than you expect. 
3. Once cooked, place the roti prata to a flat work surface, and then use a clapping motion (careful as the bread will be hot), slapping the bread together between your hands to separate the layers so the bread is flakley. Repeat with remaining roti and eat immediately with curry or granulated sugar. 
Foodieo tip: The first roti prata tend to be a “tester,” letting you know whether to raise or lower the heat. 
Gently place folded roti to heated & greased non-stick pan. Air bubbles are good, means roti will be flaky!
Ahh...browning to perfection.
Slap cooked roti between your hands to separate the layers so the bread is flakley.
Serve with curry, granulated sugar, egg, plain or whatever suits you!

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