This is one of my favourite breakfast/lunch/dinner flat breads ever.
I know this flatbread has many different names with slight variations depending on where you are from.
I come from Singapore and so this is known as roti prata to me. 🙂
I’ve always found it fun to make prata at home but never got around to doing it too often mainly because I could buy it from restaurants (and it even comes with it’s own curry).
I love it so much that I order take away every weekend and the man making the prata at the shop recognises me even though I have never ordered from him but the cashier at the restaurant. Lol.
But every since covid happened, that restaurant has ceased it’s prata production and is only doing stir fry dishes. And as you can imagine, that only proved to be motivation to make some at home.
Everything with this recipe is really simple and straight forward and the most daunting thing of this whole recipe would be actually flipping the dough.
That mysterious awe-inspiring flip that makes you wonder, how do they ever do that??
So to deal with this situation I broke it down into 2 parts.
1st part – A dough that is pliable, easy to manage, but at the same time soft yet not too soft, chewy once cooked yet crisp from the fry. This meant using both hot water and warm water along with warm milk. This is non-negotiable. The temperature plays a big part so please take care when making the dough.
With the hot water it essentially gelatinise the flour creating almost a “dead” dough and absorbs moisture to keep it moist and soft.
The warm water doesn’t kill the dough but helps with absorption and pliability.
The milk adds fat and enriches the dough which helps as well with the final dough product.
2nd part – The actual hand action itself.
This took me a few tries to figure out the best way to explain it, and the only way I can say is that clapping your hands and sliding them is the key to holding the dough.
That should then allow you to move in a natural way when flipping the dough.
The flipping action itself isn’t as much of a key as it is tossing it against the surface so it sticks.
And when you go to pull the dough off the surface so that it is in the air, it tugs on the dough and stretches it naturally.
So to break it down into a simple concept, you are just trying to get the dough to stick on the table so when you pull it stretches it.
Now this is my way of doing it, the professionals will probably say “this isn’t right”. But hey, it works.
And if you are low on space, just keep it simple and flatten it with your hands and tug on the dough like in my Pastel de Nata video where I shape the shell.
Things to note:
Resting your dough is essential and key to allow the gluten to relax and thus allowing it to stretch.
After dividing into dough balls, you can place them in the fridge over night and just bring them to room temp in the morning if you wish to have prata for breakfast.
There are 2 ways of shaping, the one in the video shows the coil method, but that requires you to rest the dough after coiling it for another 30 mins so that you can stretch it out before frying it. This shape creates those crisp spiral flakes.
The second way of shaping it is into a square which allows you to fry it after folding into a square. You can also fill it with an egg before wraping it into a square if you like egg prata.
The sugar and salt helps to flavour the dough so please keep it in. If you wish, you can reduce the sugar content in the dough.
As mentioned, the temperature of the liquid being added to the dough is crucial so try to ensure it is right.
Warm water and milk used is around 50-60c.
AP flour gives us a nice amount of chew without too much of a bite to it. Bread flour would work but make it too chewy.
A common addition to the dough is egg but in this instance I have opted out so you will notice that this dough recipe calls for no egg and just milk and water.
What you’ll need
225g ap flour
50g boiling water
50g warm milk (temp approx 50C-60C)
55g warm water (temp approx 50C-60C)
Oil for coating the dough balls prior to shaping (or ghee)
Melted ghee as needed for frying and shaping the dough
Mix the flour and boiling water together until combined. Add the sugar, salt, milk and water water and knead with a dough hook on medium for 9 minutes until dough is shiny and elastic.
Shape into a ball, oil the surface and place into a bowl. Cover with cling wrap or damp towel and let sit for 1hr minimum.
Divide into 4 equal balls and shape into balls. Oil the surface and cover to let rest for another hour at minimum or overnight in the fridge.
When ready to shape, (ensure your dough ball is at room temp if you have stored it in the fridge overnight) flip the dough as per the video where you essentially slam it against the table to stretch the dough.
When the dough is really thin and the edges are thin too, spread some ghee on the surface of the dough.
Fold in thirds along the width so that you have a long strip, and then picking up one end, coil it into a round tucking the tip under the dough.
Let rest for 30mins – 1hr. (I wouldn’t recommend resting it for longer)
Preheat a skillet on medium heat.
When ready to fry, flatten the dough with the palm of your hands into a relatively thin disk.
Add some ghee to your preheated pan and fry the dough on medium until golden on both sides.
Fluff the dough up by slamming your hands together in a cupping motion.
Serve warm with your favourite curry. 🙂
19 Comments Add yours
Any luck with this? I find myself spending a couple minutes flattening it out as best I can, then frying it straight away before it shrinks. Mostly works, but could be flatter still (I also fold mine into squares as my spirals come apart, maybe that makes a difference?).
I made roti prata again and I think the spiral method doesn’t not work very well, the dough does not stick together and falls apart. My 2nd attempt I was able to flatten the dough till quite thin. It tasted better but it needs to be more flaky. The next time I will add soda bicarbarbonate to make it flaky.
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Be sure to use sufficient amounts of ghee when you are rolling it and shaping it as it will affect as to whether the layers will stick together or seperate 🙂 and definitely let it rest for longer if the dough fights you back
Sounds like your dough just needs to rest for longer, if it is fighting you it is just the gluten that needs to relax a little more. 🙂 if you set it aside for awhile it should loosen up. And if your dough is cold from the fridge it will need to warm up to room temp.
Thanks for your tips. I will try what you recommended when I make my next batch. Yesterday went to have roti prata at a restaurant, mind tasted better than the restaurant’s.
I did your roti canai recipe last night. It was fine doing the dough. This morning, twirled the dough into a spiral and left it for 30mins. So far so good! But when it came to make it into a disc to fry it, the dough kept shrinking back and it was thick. Fried it but it was thick and not so crispy. Failed on the last huddle! What went wrong? Should I used a finer flour or more liquid? The taste is good though. Please help as the recipe is easy to follow and would like to try again. I am in the U.K. so may spend winter refining the recipe!!
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