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Author Notes: How to make soft, chewy and layered roti (or unleavened flat bread) at home. It's ALL about the dough. And what's a roti without its dip? Curried cannellli puree with cayenne spiced olive oil. —Mandy @ Lady and pups
Makes three 8" roti
Chewy layered roti:
- 300 grams (appox 2 1/3 cup + 1 tsp) of unbleached bread flour
- 4 grams (3/4 tsp) of salt + more for sprinkling later
- 240 grams (1 cup + 1/2 tsp) of warm/hot water, 130ºF/55ºC
- 30 grams (2 tbsp) of cold water
- 113 grams (1 stick/8 tbsp) of clarified butter, warmed
- NOTE: The ratio between flour and water in this dough, is 1 part flour : 0.9 part water by weight. So that’s a “90% hydration”, sometimes up to 95%, which means 100 grams of flour will need 90 grams ~ 95 grams of water. Very, very wet. The roti-dough absorbs all this water in 2 stages, which somehow increases the amount of water the flour can absorb, and the smoothness/shine of the overall texture. I’ve tried my best to provide the measurement in volume, but it’s highly recommended that you measure by weight. Because of the super-wetness, I’m not sure if this can be done by hand. Perhaps mixing the dough vigorously with the back of a wooden spoon would work.
- Combine bread flour and salt in a stand-mixer with a dough-hook. Microwave the water (a little bit more than you’ll need just to be safe) on high for 1 min. The water shouldn’t burn your finger, but should be too warm to leave your fingers in comfortably for more than a few sec, around 130ºF/55ºC. Measure 240 grams of this water into the stand-mixer and mix on low first for a couple min. The dough would look “dry” in the very beginning, then extremely wet and sticky once the flour/water are completely blended. Increase to high-speed and beat the dough for another 6 ~ 7 min, scraping down the sides once in between. At the end of which, the dough should be able to pull away from the bowl when machine’s running, but sticks right back once the machine stops.
- Now we add the remaining 30 grams/2 tbsp of water. One tbsp first and knead on high for 1 ~ 2 min until the dough pulls away cleanly from the bowl again, then add the next tbsp and repeat. Check the texture of the dough, which should be extremely shiny, smooth and elastic, like lava-silk with small pockets of air within. The dough should run to the side when the bowl’s tilted. Suspend it high in the air, and it should droop down and stretch slowly without breaking. If it breaks/tears easily or seems grainy in texture, it’s too dry. Add another tbsp of water. If it doesn’t pull away cleanly from the mixer-bowl, it’s too wet. Add a couple tbsp of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic-wrap. Let sit for 1 ~ 2 hours (meanwhile make the dip).
- Preheat the oven on 450ºF/230ºC, with a pizza-stone or a flat cast-iron skillet on middle-upper rack.
- Lightly flour the working surface, then with well-oiled hands, divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Lightly flour 1 portion, form into a ball, then gently and slowly roll it out into 1/4? ~ 1/8? thick circle (keep the bottom floured or it’ll stick). Brush the top evenly with clarified butter and sprinkle with a bit of salt, then roll it into a log and curl it up like a snail. With the seam/curl-side facing sideway (smooth side up), shape it back into a ball by gently tucking the dough underneath itself with your hands (see pic). Lightly flour the dough again, then gently/slowly roll it out into 1/4? thick disk (thicker roti will be stringy and chewy, whereas thinner roti will be crispy and flaky). Brush a sheet of parchment with clarified butter and transfer the dough on top. Brush the dough again with clarified butter.
- Switch the oven on top-broiler, and move the parchment with the roti on top of the pizza-stone or cast-iron skillet. Bake until golden browned and puffed, approx 5 ~ 6 min. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Curried cannellini puree + cayenne spiced oil:
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (400 grams) of cannellini beans
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2~3 teaspoons potato starch or cornstarch
- *** CAYENNE SPICED OIL:
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook sliced red onion, chopped garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, curry powder, ground cumin, salt and black pepper in a pot over medium heat. Once the onion is very soft, drain the canned cannellin very well and add to the mixture. Cook for a couple min more, then transfer the mixture to a blender. Add 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and 1 tsp of potato starch (or cornstarch), then blend until smoothly pureed. Add 1 more tsp of potato starch if the mixture needs to be thickened further. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil with ground cayenne pepper, ground cumin and black pepper, and let it sizzle for 15 seconds. Swirl the spiced oil into the cannellini puree, and serve with layered roti.
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