How to Make Perfect Roti Canai Dough

A Wok Around Asia Recipe By Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

When I got into this whole “food thing” back in the day, I had to learn how to make everything myself through trial and error, because hawkers in Malaysia were notoriously secretive about their craft.

One of these recipes was for roti canai (roti prata if you’re Singaporean), and I’ve been able to make decent enough rotis that I sold it for years at my now-closed restaurant, I’ve demonstrated the art of flipping roti on Australian television, and I’ve run cooking classes on it.

Even so, I always felt my roti dough recipe was missing je ne sais quoi compared to what you could find at a Malaysian mamak stall. (FYI “Mamak” in Malaysia refers to roti canai stalls and to the Indian-Muslim cooks who run them; I’m not talking about the restaurant chain by the same name here in Australia, much as I admire their business.)

This session with Chef Chandra, who is the in-house the roti canai specialist at Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s Gobo Chit Chat restaurant, is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to learn from a master of the trade directly.

Chef Chandra started out as an apprentice at a Malaysian mamak stall who, after many years of learning and selling roti canai, was recruited by Traders Hotel.

I should mention that this roti canai, which is made fresh and served at the breakfast buffet at Traders Hotel’s Gobo Chit Chat restaurant every morning, is pitch perfect and as good as any roti canai I’ve eaten anywhere in Malaysia.

Here is the first part of my roti canai masterclass as taught by Chef Chandra; click to watch >>

Roti Canai Dough

INGREDIENTS:

100 grams Butter
25 grams Salt
75 grams Sugar
100 grams Condensed Milk
750 grams Plain Flour
100ml Fresh Milk
125ml water

METHOD:

  1. Combine butter, salt, sugar, condensed milk, fresh milk and water. Mix well.
  2. Add flour and knead for 10 minutes. Rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Roll into balls (you’ll need to watch the video to see how it’s done; it’s important to learn the technique).
  4. Coat with butter, then rest for 2 hours before using.
  5. IMPORTANT – The dough balls will need to be at tropical room temperature for them to be easily manipulated & flipped; in winter time at my restaurant I used to turn the oven on for 1 minute at the lowest setting, turn it off, then store the dough balls in it until they’ve softened.

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