December 17, 2010

Roti Prata (Indian Pancake)

Prata is so delicious (your kids will love it, guaranteed!) and flexible that
you can eat it with just about anything.  Here, I have mine with sambal
tumis ikan bilis (cooked chilli paste with anchovies)

When you think of pancake in the Western definition of the word, you would typically think of maple syrup, butter, strawberries, blueberries and even fresh cream.  I've always felt that as a breakfast food, that combination is extravagantly sweet, like a sugar rush dynamite.  I'm not quite a fan of sweet stuff, as I've mentioned before.  If you give me something chilli hot, now that will be a different story.  Yes, chilli hot in the morning.  I am a serious chilli eater and for many Asians, a savoury cooked breakfast sounds more delectable than a sugary one.  Which brings me to another type of pancake.

In Singapore, it's called Roti Prata but in Malaysia it's commonly known as Roti Canai.  Prata or Canai, it's an Indian pancake made largely from flour, butter, some sprinkles of salt, sugar, milk and other little ingredients.  Sounds easy peasy, ok. But the trick is in the kneading and flipping the dough.  I've seen Italian chefs doing some fancy pizza boomerang. Nice but that's an optional showmanship. In prata making, flipping is a key technique.  It gives the prata the ultimate post-fried crispy texture.  See video - the guy in white is a Singaporean Member of Parliament.  Told you it's no mean feat, even a honcho can't flip a prata dough! 

I'm so fond of prata that weeks before I left Singapore, my brother bought me prata with fish curry (I love it best like that) almost everyday.  In case I couldn't find prata in Australia, that daily consumption was meant to settle me into the initial period of my migration until I learned to make my own prata.  I was able to endure prata's absence from my life for about 2 months.  It was when friends started posting pictures of this nationally-loved pancake with all sorts of accompaniments (curry, dhal, sambal tumis) on Facebook and tagging me to the pictures that I decided to get into prata action.  I was glad that among the things I had packed with me to Australia were heaps of cook books (I'd stored my mum's recipes in my memory).

I made fish curry to soak my prata into. Over the years, prata in Singapore has been
revolutionised such that there's a mind boggling variety - from mushroom cheese prata
to plane prata (light and long like a paper aeroplane) 

I was quite elated when I found a modified recipe and technique that required no flipping.  Hooray! There were some extra steps to follow, no doubt.  But at least I could be sure I wasn't required to clumsily toss and flip the dough and raise my neighbour's suspicion of dangerous kitchen frisbee going on in my house.  I can safely say no animals or humans were harmed during the making of this prata in my kitchen.

I've decided to just scan the recipe page and share it with you here.  Try making your own prata.  A kilogram of flour goes a looooong prata way!

Fearlessly Simple & Home Cooked


  1. I roti, I always eat this at tea time when I used to work in Malaysia. My favourite ones are roti pisang (banana), roti nangka (jackfruit), roti telur (egg) and the normal roti but with lots of sambal. Thanks for the recipe now I can do it at home

  2. Hi there,

    I came across your blog via My Halal Kitchen. :)
    I'm a fellow S'porean who resides in Oz as well!

    Really heartened to see I'm not the only one who misses SG food. :)
    I've been searching high and low for prata recipes, so really thanks alot for the recipe share.
    Your pictures look awesome and I love the bright and cheery blog design as well.

    Noticed your last entry was 17 dec so I hope you haven't 'forgotten' about your site just yet as I'm probably going to be a avid reader of your blog! :)

    Keep cooking and enjoy the Aussie lifestyle. :)

  3. Hi angsarap!
    oh yes! they hv become very creative with prata. roti nangka is something i must try!!

    Hello MissX
    Majulah Singapura! I hope you are enjoying Australia too. Thank you for dropping by. I went into "hiatus" for a while (see blog entry dated 15 Dec). Am making a come back. Keep visiting the blog, yeah. It's really wonderful to know another like-minded Singaporean in the neck of the woods, connected by the love for ...makan! :-D