So I’m staying in one of the best home stays I’ve been at in Sri Lanka, and that’s mainly due to the awesome host. The guy’s name is Winston and he is a retired banker. Now a host who enjoys talking to and cooking for tourists. After he found out I wanted to learn all about Sri Lankan food, he set out to teach me some classic dishes. This Sri Lankan Roti is different than its Indian counterpart in that it uses coconut in the dough.
The dish isn’t difficult to make, and that’s coming from someone who is notoriously bad at bread baking. This dish however doesn’t need an oven, as you cook it just on a griddle.
While this recipe is authentic Sri Lankan, there is one addition which could be considered controversial depending on the Sri Lankan you ask. This is the addition of sugar. Not a lot, but just enough to help the roti rise a bit while they are on the griddle. Some people may prefer a Sri Lankan roti without sugar, that is a bit more crisp.
While this recipe is just a recipe for Sri Lankan Roti by itself, you can very easily add fillings into the dough before you fry it. Things like sauteed potatoes or carrots would be great, as would vegetable curries. All you would have to do is make two smaller disks of dough and press them together with the filling inside, or fold it like a calzone.
The Sri Lankan Roti dough itself is quite easy to make, and only needs one hour to proof. This means you can make the dough, then go about your normal morning routine before frying them up for 10 minutes.
One important trick when rolling out the dough ball is to smooth it in your hands until the ball is round and there are no cracks. This helps the roti to cook evenly and not puff or burn in random places.
Sri Lankan Roti
- 300 grams AP Flour
- 1 cup Coconut freshly grated (about 1/2 of a coconut). If using packaged coconut, soak in cold water for about 5 minutes to add back some moisture.
- 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 3 tsp Palm Sugar or regular brown sugar will do.
- Mix all ingredients together, then add 1 cup of
water, and then possibly another half cup of water.
- Knead into dough for about 10 minutes.
- Place the dough into a bowl or pot and cover with a wet cloth. Allow to proof for 1 hour (or up to two max).
- Divide the dough into quarters and roll each quarter into a smooth ball. You can use some vegetable oil to grease the balls and make them smoother.
- Roll the balls out into 6-8 inch rounds. The thinner you roll them the more crispy they will get. I like the 6 inch size more because there is a bit of chew to the bread.
- Heat a skillet on a medium low flame. Place on the rolled out roti dough and cook for two minutes, then flip, and cook for another two minutes. Total cooking time is 8-10 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes.
- Serve hot with butter or jam or chili sambal.
Some of my other favorite Sri Lankan recipes are:
Sri Lankan Mixed Vegetable Curry
Ambul Thiyal (Sri Lankan Tuna Curry)
This recipe also features in my article Best Sri Lankan Recipes and Bread To Bake During Quarantine.
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