Not too long ago, Farwin, a food blogger and writer/photographer behind the blog, Love and other Spices got in touch with me wishing to introduce Sri Lankan cuisine to Rasa Malaysia readers. I was thrilled as I have never been to Srilanka and would love to learn more about the food and its culture. Farwin is a Sri Lankan currently residing in UAE with her family and Love and other Spices is about the traditional food she grew up eating. For this guest post, Love and other Spices shares her Koththu Roti recipe with us. Please welcome Farwin and let’s celebrate the inclusion of Sri Lankan food on Rasa Malaysia!
When I recently stumbled upon Bee’s site, being a Sri Lankan I was so delighted to find many names I was familiar with like Sambal and Roti. Did you know that “Rasa” means taste in the Sri Lankan local Sinhalese language? Thanks to Bee for letting me share in her space, to introduce Sri Lankan food to her readers. Sri Lankan food is a mix of many Asian cuisines, influenced by the migrant South Indians and Malay workers and also from the colonial influences by the English, Dutch and the Portuguese.
The first dish that sprang to my mind is Koththu roti, a popular street food which can be found in every nook and corner in Sri Lanka. Koththu literally means “chop.” It’s a mix of shredded roti, meat, curry and vegetables. Koththu is blended together on a flat iron skillet using two metal blades with wooden handles. The clashing of the metal blades with the iron skillet creates a distinctive musical sound and the aroma of freshly cooked Koththu is enough to draw a passerby to stop and indulge in this flavorful dish.
The roti used in this dish is same as the famous Malaysian “Roti Canai” and the South Indian “Parotta.” The traditional way of cooking this is very cumbersome and requires the dough to be dunked in oil. But I’m giving an easy recipe with less oil for you to try. You can also buy the premade Roti Canai or Parotta in Asian stores if it’s accessible, or even use flour tortillas and skip the part of making the roti.
Makes about 8 rotis
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp oil & more
2/3 cup warm water
1 pound chicken breast, ashed and cut into thin strips
2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cloves } whole spices
1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 3 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp ground
pepper } spice mix
Juice of half a lime/around 2 tsp
2 tsp crushed ginger & garlic paste
2 onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup sliced capsicum
1 large carrot thinly sliced
4 tbsp oil
Few curry leaves
Salt, to taste
For the rotis, sieve the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix the oil first and gradually add warm water. Keep mixing until the dough is formed and not sticky. Add another 1 tbsp oil and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 8 balls and flatten each ball a bit and lightly brush it with oil. Keep it in the same bowl, covered, for about 2 hours. Take each ball, roll it between your palms or on a board and shape it into a spiral as seen in the picture. Flatten this spiral using a rolling pin and cook both sides on a pre-heated skillet until brown spots appear. Cut the rotis into 2-inch thin strips for the Koththu.
For the Koththu, first marinate the chicken strips with 1/2 of the spice mix, lime juice and salt for about 30 minutes. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add the whole spices, curry leaves, half of the sliced onions and saute until the onions turn light brown. Add 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute and add the marinated chicken. Add the remaining spice mix and keep sauteing until the chicken is half cooked. Add the tomato paste, salt, 3/4 cup of water, coconut milk and let it cook further until the chicken is fully cooked and the curry is a bit thick. Add sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.
In a separate pan, heat the remaining oil, add the remaining ginger garlic paste, the onions, few curry leaves, cook until the onions become translucent. Add the capsicum and carrot, salt and a sprinkle of ground black pepper, saute until the vegetables are half done. Push the vegetables to the side in the pan and add the eggs and scramble them. In the same pan, add about 1 to 1 1/2 cup of cooked chicken curry with the meat, then the shredded roti and mix well. Cook for a few more minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve with more chicken curry on the side. You can also sprinkle some lime or lemon juice for extra tang.
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