Roti Canai

Quick facts about Roti Canai:

  • Evolved from roti paratha which is originally from India
  • Morphed into roti canai in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia
  • Circular flatbread most commonly eaten for breakfast
  • Usually served with curry or dhal

I could write multiple posts about roti canai and it still wouldn’t be enough to describe what a staple and much beloved food this is in Malaysia. The main ingredients are water, flour and ghee.  The dough is kneaded, flattened, oiled and folded, then the whole process is repeated.  It is time consuming and requires deft hands and technique.

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The resulting layers are flaky and buttery.  It’s like eating a flattened croissant!  I am always amazed at how cheap roti canai is when you consider the laborious effort needed to make one. It cost around US$1 each and this comes with either chicken or fish head curry, dhal and a side sambar (spicy vegetable stew). It is cheap, delicious and filling.  Sometimes roti canai is stuffed with different ingredients such as eggs, onions, cheese, coconut jam, etc.. to form a compact and easy to eat  pastry.  

Roti Telur or Egg Roti:

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Roti cheese

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Roti canai is what my girls ask for daily for breakfast and sometimes lunch whenever we visit Malaysia.  Luckily, there are frozen versions that we can now buy in Asian grocery stores in the US. They’re not as good as fresh roti canai but they’re a close second and always brings back good memories of visits to Malaysia for all of us.

Malaysia 2009

Malaysia 2009

12 comments to Roti Canai

  • BuzzingBee  says:

    That looks like something I could eat every day for breakfast!

    It also looks quite similar to what’s known as a Malabar Paratha. Are they the same?

    • Lila  says:

      These are simply delicious and addicting. I just googled Malabar Paratha and I think they are very similar. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • Nana Prah  says:

    It’s interesting how foods cross over. I was introduced to Trinidadian roti by a good friend of mine. It is so delicious, filled with curried, beef, chicken, goat, or vegetables. I wonder if it has a similar taste.

    • Lila  says:

      The Trinidadian roti sounds very familiar. Can you get it in Ghana?

  • Nats  says:

    I wannna eat one right nowww! Looks so yum. Lovely family pic :)

    • Lila  says:

      Thank You. I think a previous blogger told me-the Malabar paratha is very similar so you may get to try one without having to travel all the way to Malaysia! :)

  • Raquel  says:

    You and your family are gorgeous! And I’ve never tried this before– but I must. I’m an absolute nut over croissants and this reminds me a little bit of my g-ma’s empanadas…. savory stuffed flat croissants just sound like heaven!

    • Lila  says:

      Thank you for your kind words. There are quite a few Malaysian restaurants in NYC, so hurry to one and try the roti canai. I know you will be raving about it. :)

  • Corinne  says:

    Ok, this is also one of my favorite things…on Earth! We ate it everyday, at least once! Love it!

    • Lila  says:

      So very glad you got to eat roti canai. Isn’t it just the best? Glad you can verify my unending praises and love for this flatbread! :)

  • Donna Amis Davis  says:

    We LOVE roti! Your picture makes it look delicious.
    Donna On Palawan @ Quintessential San Diego From A to Z

    • Lila  says:

      Donna, Glad you enjoy the pictures. Try the roti canai if you ever get a chance. I think there is an Indonesian restaurant called Bali Thai in San Diego that may have it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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