Sri Lankan Coconut Roti

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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.

Ingredients
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.

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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.

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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!

Notes

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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