Some have called Nasi Lemak (a rice dish) the national dish of Malaysia, but I think Roti Canai (roti=bread, canai=knead) is a pretty serious contender. When we headed over for our recent visit, roti was our go-to breakfast.
Mr. Kitchen Hand is a pretty conventional breakfast eater: toast, cereal, eggs, and usually finds it hard to come to terms with what I consider breakfast: noodles, rice congee, bak kut teh, but roti canai is one thing we can both agree on.
Roti canai served with (l-r): anchovy sambal, dhal and fish curry. Yes, curry for breakfast :)
Actually, roti canai is not just for breakfast, it can be eaten any time of day. Catching up with friends over a roti and a teh tarik (pulled tea), is the Malaysian equivalent of a coffee break.
I’ve never attempted to make roti canai at home because one of the steps involves tossing and throwing the balls of dough around until it is stretched paper thin. I’d rather leave it to the experts, and considering a plain roti canai costs about 70 Malaysian cents, it’s definitely an affordable indulgence. (Indulgence is the right word when you take into account how much oil / margarine is put into the dough – best not to think about it).
When you get tired of the plain version, you can get other variations including ones with egg (roti telur), sardines (roti sardin) and onions (roti bawang).
Or go sweet with either roti tisu or roti bom. Both of these are sort of the same flavour but the texture is different. Roti tisu (named after tissue), is ultra thin and crispy, while roti bom (named after bombs?) is dense, thick and chewy – both slathered in margarine and crusted with sugar (I repeat, do not think about it too much).
Here comes the roti tisu! This roti started out as a small plate-sized version, then someone got the bright idea to make a 1m tall version, so everyone started doing it.
It's so huge, it needs two plates!
The MC's LOVED it!
This is roti bom - doesn't look like much at first
Look inside: crusty sugary bits
And of course, if roti canai gets too much, there are other sorts of breakfast bread to enjoy:
This is a rice flour based bread, called apom/apam
Top view of the apam. It is served with sweet coconut milk
Puri: deep fried puffy bread (don't think about it).
Hope you enjoyed today’s roti, and a little birdie has told me that a blogger friend will be joining me with a Malaysian Monday post too (EDIT: YEs, the birdie was right, everyone say hello to Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies who's joined me today).
Why don’t you join in too? Come along next Monday to find out how.
As an added bonus, you can check email while having your roti! :)