Mention Roti Jala to any fellow Malaysian and immediately you would see this glee on his/her face in recognition of this delicacy. It is nothing really, just some crepe, all in its lacy appearance. But when paired with some good dish of curry, oh wow, it is just amazing. The crepe itself is savoury, infused with coconut milk to make it fragrant, creamy and rich. The essence of a good Roti Jala is in its fluffiness and richness. This is one pancake that you would want to go back for more and more. No wonder it is a popular festive food. You would most certainly find it on occasions like Hari Raya and Malay weddings.
Making the Roti Jala itself would require a special mould that has several holes at the bottom. This is one equipment that I do not have and do not intend to buy. Therefore, I copied online suggestions of using a water bottle punctured with several holes (see pix below). Works marginally well. This is a very straight-forward recipe but rather time consuming as you need to care for each individual piece. But it is well worth it when you get some beautifully laced turmeric scented fluffy crepe. All you have to do is dunk it into your favourite curry sauce to make it complete.
Roti Jala/Lacy Pancakes 网煎饼Makes 22 pieces
2 cups plain flour
280 ml water
200 ml coconut milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
butter/oil to grease pan
pandan leaves to grease pan (optional)
Roti jala mould/one plastic bottle puncture with holes
1. Mix all ingredients except oil/butter and pandan leaves. Whisk until there are no lumps. Strain ingredients through a strainer.
2. Pour ingredients into bottle. Heat a flat non-stick pan. Brush some oil/butter using the pandan leaves as your brush.
3. Pour batter onto pan making circular motion to form net/lace.
4. When the batter is set, fold crepe into 1/4 of a circle and remove. Alternatively, you could remove the crepe and fold it into a roll. Repeat until finish.
5. Serve with curry on the side.
Evaporate milk can also be used as a replacement to coconut milk. If fresh coconut milk is used, make sure the crepe is cooked enough or else, it will become stale quickly.
Don't forget the curry. Click here for the most delicious Chicken Curry recipe: