Sri Lankan Coconut Roti


I LOVE roti. Roti is a type of unleavened flatbread, which is popular in many South Asian countries. Growing up, we wouldn’t eat this often, so whenever my mom made this, it was definitely a treat. In Sri Lanka, the most popular type is probably the coconut roti (as we call it, pol roti), which has shredded coconut and wheat flour (and other optional add-ins), and it is usually eaten as a meal with other curries.

This recipe is really easy. It doesn’t require too many ingredients (unless you want to add in the optional ingredients, which I highly recommend — they really add to the flavour!). It’s something quick you can whip up after work, especially if you have leftover curry in the fridge.

Makes 10 rotis

  • 3 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour (or combination of both)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (medium or fine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 to 1 and 1/4 cups water
  • 3-4 tbsp of vegetable or grapeseed oil

Optional add-ins:

  • 2 tbsp onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 green chillis, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves, chopped (~10 leaves)


Moisten the 1 cup of shredded coconut with a bit of water (about a tbsp) and set aside for 2-3 minutes. Combine the flour, shredded coconut, salt, and oil. If using the add-ins, add them in also. To this, add 1 cup of water first to make a dough and knead for 3-5 minutes, adding more water as needed until the dough is only slightly sticky. If optional add-ins are added, it helps to fold the dough inward to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Pinch out a ball of dough that fits in your palm (more than a golf ball but less than a baseball). You should be able to get 10 of these.


Take one of the balls, and using a plate that has been greased with some oil (or alternatively, an oiled surface), spread/roll the ball into a thin, circular layer about 1/4 of an inch thick (it’s okay if you get small tears in the dough — you can seal it back). Heat a saucepan over medium heat and spray it or grease with some vegetable or grapeseed oil. Carefully lift shaped roti from the plate and transfer to hot pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until it becomes golden and slightly crispy and char marks appear.



Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, greasing the plate and pan as needed. It helps to prepare the next ball while one is cooking to be more time-efficient. Eat with sambol (Sri Lankan coconut condiment) or a side of your favourite curry, like this lentil curry!


I am unsure whether gluten-free flours could work, as it may be difficult to roll out to a thin layer and may alter the texture. Chickpea flour may work — report back if it does!

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