Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Roti Jala (Lacy Pancakes)



Ah, why do all delicious dates all happen around the same time? It's barely been 48 hours since the first day of Chinese New Year and already, before my stomach can recover, I find myself writing about (read: making and eating) pancakes. I was determined to go light and easy in the few days following al that gluttonous feasting , but alas, it's not meant to be. It's not me, it's the calendar.

I don't know much about Shrove Tuesday. It's always just been Pancake Day for me, an excuse to have a lazy pancake brunch in the middle of the week (or dinner for those plagued with school/work). Ah, ok google says it's the day before the first day of Lent and it's the last day for Catholics to eat all the rich fatty foods they want before they start fasting. Ah, that's all fine then, I'll start the soups and salads on Wednesday. Except that Valentine's Day is on Thursday. This is really not working... Forget it, I always believe healthy eating is about balance and loving what's on your plate anyway. And these pancakes I really love.

What makes these pancakes so special is how they're made. Roti jala literally means 'net bread'. This is one rare recipe you'll find yourself pleased with all the holes you have in your pancake. A traditional roti jala mould is quite a curious-looking thing. I'm trying to think of a less crude description, but I really think the most accurate way to describe it is to think of a cow's udders, with the pancake batter flowing from the 'nipples'. Right, or see this photo.

You don't have to waste money on an obscure roti jala mould for the sole purpose of making these lacy pancakes though. I did these easily with a Japanese mayo squeezy bottle that's got triple tips, and adjusted the consistency of the batter a tiny bit. You can also try poking a few extra small holes into the cap of a regular squeezy bottle or the base of a tin. Get creative. The batter is pretty much like crepe batter, but it's got a pinch of turmeric which dyes it a glorious golden, and I thin it with coconut milk instead of normal milk.


ROTI JALA (LACY PANCAKES)
serves 2-3
Ingredients
200g plain flour (I use my favourite white spelt flour)
100ml coconut milk
200-250 ml water (adjust accordingly*)
1 large free range egg
big pinch sea salt
big pinch ground turmeric 
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method
1. Whisk to mix all the ingredients except the oil together till smooth. If you can be bothered, pour through a sieve to remove any lumps. 
2. Adjust the consistency of the batter, adding more water if needed. *This will depend on how thick your coconut milk is, and whether you choose to use a roti jala mould/ squeezy bottle/ choice of creative innovation. Think crepe batter consistency if squeezing; and an even more watery consistency if using a mould/ holey tin. 
3. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes. When ready, heat a pan over medium heat, and lightly grease the pan with coconut oil.  
4. Fill your bottle with the batter, and then squeeze to form your own abstract lacy pancake art. If using the mould, first place the mould over the pan, then pour some batter into it, immediately moving in quick circles to form a net. It's pretty stressful. The first few pancakes are almost definitely disasters.
5. Let cook until set; you can let it go a bit longer if you like it slightly browned and crispy. You only need to cook on one side since the pancakes are so thin so there's no flipping. Remove and fold into quarters or roll up. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
6. Serve with curry (traditional) or choice of pancake topping. 



The coconut milk adds a wonderful richness to the pancakes, though the pancakes themselves are light and tender, and not heavy-oof-rich at all, perfect for mopping up creamy curries. They look so golden and pretty and girly you could make them for Valentine's Day as well if you like (just add a pinch of sugar to the batter and serve with chocolate sauce or something pink, maybe poached early-season rhubarb; curry's not very romantic). As with dumplings, don't fret if they don't look too pretty; the ugly ones still taste great and can be hidden below the prettier ones and whatever sauce you smother them with. 


Happy Pancake Day! 


Other pancake recipes to try:

49 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try this the next time I make curry, it seems the perfect light accompaniment. They remind me of making doilies at school by folding a circle and snipping out small shapes, so pretty.

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    1. They are so pretty and girly aren't they? Haha I thought I would just go over the top with a lacy-looking plate too. Happy pancake day milli!

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  2. These lace pancakes look delicious and light (enough). Well, I was in supermarket yesterday..you know what? Easter chocolate and many other sweets are already everywhere!

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    1. You see, it's not me, it's the calendar ;)

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  3. So because these lacy pancakes are so light and airy you can actually eat double or even triple the quantity of normal pancakes? Yes? Please say yes

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    1. Yes . And there are holes, so obviously one pancake only really = half. See?

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  4. Those are some impressive looking pancakes! So pretty too, they remind me of paper doilies. I definitely think indulging in a few extra given how light they are is the way to go. ;)

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    1. they are like paper doillies now that I think about it! good analogy! haha and of course you can indluge in extra. I mean, these have HOLES and are paper thin.

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  5. Hi Shu Han,

    Roti Jala is one of my son's fav pancakes. Although we are not coconut fan for sweets, we simply love the coconut fragrance of these pancakes.

    Happy pancake day and... also Valentine's day

    Zoe

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    1. happy pancake day and vday too zoe! i am such a coconut fan, sweet or savoury! haha but guess you could do this with normal milk too if you like! :)

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  6. i'm loving this day so much because i've learnt about so many different pancake recipes... but this is THE one that I will turn to next year... it's simply beautiful and such a brilliant idea... so impressive Shu x

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    1. next year? come on, you need to make them this weekend ;) hee hee. thanks dom x

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  7. Hope you had a happy pancake day! These roti jala are so original, I like the idea of using coconut milk!

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    1. haha might sound original to you but actually these are just very classic traditional [pancakes in my culture :) I love cocnut milk too, so wonderfully rich and fragrant, and full of healthy fats too :)

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  8. Every excuse is good to eat exceptional food and to receive presents: this is my motto! Of course I cannot exaggerate... this year I have decided to skip Fat Thursday when Poles fry traditionally doughnuts (not the sticky sweet soaked in fat American doughnuts... but soft, mouth-melting beauties I prefer most with tangy plum jam...). Anyway, these are the most unusual pancakes I have ever seen. They are beautiful and so delicate... Rhubarb seems a perfect pairing! Thank you for this wonderful idea.

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    1. aw thanks! and sissi, now I NEED to get my hands on those tangy plum jam filled doughnuts. I've nevr been a fan of the sickly sweet sugar coated american ones, I actually get headaches from them, don't know why. but the Polish version I know I will like.

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  9. Hi Shu Han! Happy Lunar New Year!

    Ha... Your abstract pancake art is so funny... I actually tried to trace from the start point... Haha...

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    1. HAHAHA thanks for playing along :D

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  10. Happy Chinese New Year, Shu Han! I've learned this pancake from other food blogs and a blogger friend sent me the tool to make this! I completely forgot about it... I should give it a try. Your pancakes look so beautiful and now I'm motivated. :D

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    1. Wow if you even have the tool, no excuses! make them! :D

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  11. Hi Shu Han, I love this roti jala with curry chicken. Your laced roti jala look beautiful. YUMMY.

    Happy valentine's day to you.

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    1. hope you had a happy vday too! mine was very boring and lonely unfortunately :/ oh well. haha thanks so much! :)

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  12. Hi Shu Han,

    Just came across you blog and I love it! So beautifully laid out and all the food looks gorgeous...I will definitely be back and try some of your recipes. Thank you for brightening up an otherwise dull Thursday!

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    1. thanks for dropping by my blog, am so pleased I managed to cheer up your dull thursday! :)

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  13. The culturally-barren imbecile inside me is wondering how one could contain all the lovely cream and jam and sugar and butter inside such a pancake... "of course", I say, "it's just going to fall out of the holes". Then I realise that not everyone would be likely to coat these with cream and butter and jam and sugar (all at once of course!!) so *most* people probably wouldn't experience such a problem :D

    Your serving suggestion looks very nice though Shuhan - quartered and served with curry... I never had pancakes with curry but I bet it's a very tasty meal (and healthier than my jam and cream and..... :p)

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    1. Haha you could stack a few together at strategic angles :D
      Think of the pancakes more like roti, and the curry bit might sound less weird haha!

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  14. Hi Shu Han, this recipe is awesome! I've been meaning to make roti jala for a while and been thinking of getting a mold. Your mold-free recipe just makes my life a lot easy. Will make it soon and have it with some curry dish. Thanks again!

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    1. Yes it's definitely do-able without a mold :) Hope you try it!

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  15. Hahahaha I have the roti Jala mould and it does indeed look like cow's udders! I've never made the association before. Well done on your holey pancake! I shall make some soon!

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    1. hehe totally wrong association but I couldn't find a better metaphor.

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  16. I looooove Roti Jala but always too lazy to make the curry, ugh!! You're giving me major food envy now Shu Han. NOMZZZ

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    1. usually the curry is leftover from the night before or earlier in the week, and then I only make roti the morning after as something to mop up the curry! no stress! haha

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  17. I LOVE these, they are SO artistic and look so elegant and delicate! Karen

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    1. aw thanks karen! well, ABSTRACT art I would say, and only the later ones were elegant and pretty enough for photos hahaha.

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  18. you make this look so easy, shu han.. and it's so very nicely done ^^ i've always been afraid of making roti jala.. but more so, having to cook curry chicken to accompany this! ^^

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    1. really not difficult! it looks impressive but is easier than normal pancakes I would say, because there's no need to worry about it being nice round and even haha! I always have leftover curry with this, so there's only heating up required, no faff! :)

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  19. Really stunning Shu huan, I don't know how I missed these. Love the pancake graphic art, too!

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  20. Oh, I have had the roti jala when I was in Malaysia for a week. These taste so soft and fabulous! I loved the way you demonstrated the whole recipe. Makes it much easier for the readers to understand. Lovely pictures, dear!

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    1. Thanks purabi! I hope this helps you make your own too :) I'm sure you're missing them now that you've left Malaysia haha.

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  21. These pancakes are so delicate and pretty!! Love how they look :) Thanks so much for your comment on Aiden's Valentine's pictures - you cracked me up :) xo

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  22. You always teach me something. I've never had these but they really look lovely...nice spices!

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  23. i love roti very much. thanks for sharing xx

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  24. Just seeing these. One word: ge-orgeous!

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    1. hee hee surely that counts as two?

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  25. this is so cute! Its like crepe art!

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  26. Love these! Very pretty indeed, if a little leaky. I may use a more viscous sauce on these rather than the typical lemon and sugar. I love the idea of dipping them into curry, though. I made some rice pancakes last week and all I could think about was dipping them into a southern Indian curry!

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    1. just fold and stack them up and they won't leak ;) I would love to try those rice pancakes omg. do you mean the south indian dosa? love those, dipped in some good spicy curry!

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  27. Love the jali roti ( jali means lacy in Urdu too), especially with some curry! Your roti is so beautiful!

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  28. Oh these are lovely. I adore roti, not seen these before. Rather like dosa I am sure these must be delicious with curry

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