January 06, 2007

Easy Kerala Porotta-1/ Layered Flat Bread

The New Year has already started and I am still writing about it with capitals and struggling to get over the hurdle of what to post first in 2007. Remember "kya karoon kya na karoon...yeh kaisi mushkil hai.."
Everybody had time to set beautiful first posts while I was knee deep playing host, spending time with my son and partying! :(
Now you all must know what kind of student I was in school! And blogging with so many events feels like school sometimes! Submissions, Assignments, Research!!
Anyway so to start you all off on a wonderful year, let me introduce you to one of my favorite recipes, the Kerala Porotta.

The Kerala Porotta is a flaky pastry like multilayered flat bread, a speciality of Kerala. It is made from maida, (enriched wheat flour) by a long labor and time intensive process. The flour is mixed with water, oil and egg to make a soft dough, and allowed to rise for 5-6 hrs. It is stretched and flattened by hand in order to save the air pockets which arise from the stretching and then cooked on a griddle.

...It is stretched like pizza dough until it becomes wafer thin, then gathered and twisted into a circle...

While at home, my experience with the porotta was limited to the fun part of stretching and flipping, rolling it into the twisted circles.The first few times I tried making it were a disaster with the porotta stretching w..e..l..l… but then rebounding back like elastic. It looked soft, it left soft but on cooking, it was a hard unyielding mass, not at all like the flaky porotta from home.

I blamed it on the flour and we relegated ourselves to buying the frozen greasy Porottas from Wynad Foods. Till my good friend Gattina blogged about her Scallion Hot Cakes. So now I found an easy breezy way as per Gattina’s method; and figured out the problems with my traditional labor intensive way. More about that in my next post on the Kerala Porotta. This post is about the easy way.
...an easy version of the Kerala Porotta, a derivative of the Malaysianbread Roti Canai...

At the same time, a friend’s mom (who had previously lived in Malaysia) was visiting and she demostrated the easier way Malaysians make the same porotta. I have mentioned the similarities in Malay and Mallu cooking in one of my earlier posts.
The Malaysian Roti Canai is either stretched out and fried as it is or folded into squares, a process which is easy and retains all the pastry like layers intact.

The baking powder and the hot water help in overcoming the elasticity of the dough and make it pliable enough to work with. So I have Gattina and my friend’s mom to thank for this easy version of the Kerala Porotta. This is much healthier than the frozen Malaysian Porottas so do try it on a weekend with a a nice spicy dipping chicken or lentil curry.

You will need:
Unbleached all purpose flour-2 cups
Baking powder-1/4 tsp
Fine salt-1/4 tsp
Oil-2 tsp
Hot boiling water-1 cup
1.In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 2 tsps of oil and fine salt.
2. Bring a cup of water to boil, immediately pour into the flour mixture, use a mixing spoon to stir, and after 5-10 minutes, knead it with your hand until it is a smooth blend. Do not add any more water.
3. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rest for an hour.

4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces.Roll out the ball as big and as thin as you can get it to be, sprinkling a little flour as you go along. Gattina suggests that whenever you feel the dough refuse to spread, cover and let it rest,and continue working on others.

5. Brush a drop of oil on the whole surface and fold as shown in the pictures, brushing oil on each alternate layer. Take care not to put too much oil or it won't roll out. Once it is a square, roll it out to be about 6" wide on each side.

6. Pre-heat a griddle, and cook on medium high heat on each sides. Flip only after one side gets a little opaque. When the layers start puffing up, spread half a teaspoon of oil on each side to let it crisp. Each porotta takes about 2-3 minutes for cooking. Maintain medium heat throughout to evenly cook it with hardening it.
If the heat is too high or too low, the porotta will get hardened.
7. Remove the porotta and serve hot.

Thanks to all of you who voted for us. It made us the second place winner! Don't forget to check out my post over at the Daily Tiffin..Its on kids's cooking this time.

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Vini K said...

Hey Shaheen,nice way of making kerala porotta.I have always wondered how they make it..only friday evening,we(me and my friends were discussing baout different types of parotha and someone mentioned the kerala porotta..I have tasted a typical malaysian porotta(forgot the name though) when I was in the US(frozen ones with lot of fat ofcourse,but still bery flaky an tasty..will try this one for sure and let you know..looks very tempting..I think I will also try the traditional method you mentioned..I like experimenting..

BTW,today morning when I tried to access your page,a message came up saying I would have to take permission from you to view the blog..thank god I could access it now else I would be missing some very good recipes!

indosungod said...

Shaheen, lovely porotta my favorite, we used to frequent a Malaysian restaurant to eat this, and seeing your step by step I might even be able to make them.
I also notice your new name like it.

Anonymous said...

ha! one of my all time favs. now one of our staple travelling time food. any nook n corner in malaysia, u get 'roti canai'. here u get it stuffed too. cheese, egg, plaintains are commonly filled in (if u ask for). and normaly it is served with chicken gravy,sambhal(A hot n spicy curry/chutney,its key ingredient is dried fish)and dal/sambhar.and its quite cheap.
n we get good quality frozen porottas too.
here i go babbling...
but then porotta n chicken curry is one of my all time favorites.
a nice start. looking forward to more n more of mouthwatering recipes

Coffee said...

This is nice..... We get the frozen malasian parottas over here...... but as vini said they are fully laden with OIL!!!! Your way sounds easy breezy!!!!!!! Thanks for that shaheen. :)


Anita said...

Me, I'm waiting for the Kerala parotta! That is my fav, and yes, so much work! I remember seeing a very well illustrated post on a Mallu blog a while back which made it possible for me to attempt it. The street vendors make it seem so simple! Looking forward to you blog about it.

Mallugirl said...

Vini, the frozen ones are very flaky and tasty , but this is easy so do try this. The taste is the same as the Kerala porotta. I will be blogging about that soon.

Indo,Do try and let me know. I make this frequently for my family. My son loves the layers.

Ki, Now I want to visit Malaysia!Stuffed ones would be so good. Love ur babbling so don't stop. Maybe on my next trip to India, I will go thru KL.

Coffee, Yep, frozen ones are the most common ones and we do have some good Malaysian restaurants too here. Do try.

Anita, The traditional way is not too hard unless you decide to make it for a group of people and then OMG, it took forever!
I will post that soon. U are right, the street vendors do make it look eady.

Krithika said...

Thanks for the tip about using hot water. Will surely try this.

RP said...

Yummy! I am a porotta lover. Tried annita's recipe once. It was tasty but I couldn't make that much layers. I hate working with dough...too tedious for me. But when I start doing it, it is not that difficult. A starting trouble is there always. :)
I asked about cutting copra(do u even remember? it was long time ago) to make chicken varuthathu. Today only I could post a picture of it.

Sri said...

Thnakyou Shaheen for the kerala porotta recipe now i could try it out at home too...and stop using the frozen malaysia porotta...you sounds simple will deifinitely try it this weekend.....Thankyou so much. :)

Sandeepa said...

The porottas look so good and i also liked the way you spelled it not "paratha" we also say "porota"
Also liked your post design a lot, very professional

Gattina said...

whao!!! I'm in awe! Your porotta is so flaky! Thanks for mentioning my name :D In fact your dough looks much better than mine... your looks so soft but not wet while mine sometimes ends up too sticky. Don't know the reason, probably different brand of flour, what do you think?
I always stopped and looked (then oooh-aaah...) the street vendor making this type of bread when I lived in Singapore... really a work of art!

Mallugirl said...

Krithika, I think the hot water really made a big difference in making it plastic.

RP, I love the traditional way but liked the final product of this one as it had a lot more layers and a lot less oil.and I will check out ur post.

Sri, It is pretty easy since we all anyway make chappathis and paranthas.DO try.

Sandeepa, Thanks!I am trying to make the page a little different.Too much time went into doing that.Anyway, we do call it porotta or even borotta.

Gattina, Try with Pillsbury and ur dough will be the same. It is not difficult at all.And u are welcome. U showed me a new way to make it so I am thankful to u.:)

Meena Kandlakuti said...

Wish U Avey Very happy New Year.

Nidhi said...

Nice recipe for Paranthas (can I call them paranthas). I really love layered flat bread.

Mostly punjabis make this kind of bread in North India which goes well with 'Bangan ka Bharta'. OhI I love it...its making my mouth watery.

Thanks for sharing.


Chandrika said...

Shaheen, thank you for such an easy way to make porottas. I love porottas, but always stayed away from the labour intensive process.

Seema said...

Shaheen: Just love this parotta dear. I have never had authentic kerala parotta but I have had malasian parotta -Roti Canai at a restaurant called Penang here in NJ. Believe me they have it so beautifully done that we often go to Penang(name of the restaurant) just to have Roti Canai. Thanx a bunch for posting this recipe. Will try it out soon and let you know

Anonymous said...

Great blog and a wonderful demonstration for the porotta.


surya said...

Hi mallugirl,
Very good recipe shaheen.very easy compared to kerala porotta.I am a porotta fan and I will try it for sure.Actually I use frozen ones when I carving for this dish.Beautiful presentation,step by step instructions,No more words to say.Thanks a lot.

Linda said...

Hi Shaheen, don't these look delicious! Will definitely try :)

Loved the photos in your coconut post...

Wishing you all the best for the New Year!

Pavani said...

Hi Shaheen, I never in million have thought Malaysian parathas can be made at home and that this simple. I always thought they are the most labor intensive parathas ever. Thanks for the detailed instructions and pictures. Cant wait to try these.

Mallugirl said...

Meena, thanks for your wishes. Wish you the best in this year!

Nidhi,U can call them paranthas as porottas are probably a corruption of the word or vice versa.Baigan ka bharta with this sounds good. Is the Punjabi one made with whole wheat flour or maida?

Chandrika, this is just as easy or as difficult as making regular paranthas.dO try and let me know.

Seema, didn't know u are from Nj. I have tried out the Penang roti canai and it is really yum. u are right, it makes a good dinner in intself even though they call it an appetiser.

Anon, thanks a lot.
Surya, Thanks a lot. Now if you make it and let me know, I will be happier.:)

Linda, welcome back. I was visitng ur blog and saw no activity. Happy new year to u too.

padmaja said...

I love malaysian porotta...finally i got easy recipe from ur blog. thanks for demostartion with ur pictures and wonderful notes. Got ur blog thru sandeepa's

Resna said...

Hey Shaheen, I happened to read this blog as i was searching for mallu resturants in the new Jersey are to satisfy my cravings fro good mallu parotha...Good mallu parotha is what i miss the most after coming to U.S...During pregnancy time i had huge cravings for parotta and had to settle with the greasy frozen parothas. Really wish i had this recepie during pregnancy time...Anyways i'm going to try it this weekend ,defenetly....Lets see how it turns out :)

Mallugirl said...

SO Resna, are u no longer craving it?:) Hope u do try it and get it right.The only good mallu restauaran ti know is Kerala Kitchen in NY city.

Resna Arun said...

I couldn't wait till weekend to try it out...so i made my husband babysit who was working from home and gave it a shot. It came out pretty welll.....was very light and soft but it tasted more like Roti Canai instead of mallu poratta....any myself and husband also liked it...

Arundathi said...

That looks like a simple way to make the porotta. Its one of my all-time favourite foods. I've gotta try this one...hopefully it'll come out well and I can stop buying from the local restaurant!

Anonymous said...


I tried this one just in t noon. I tried with Golden Temple All purpose flour...it was a bleached one...hence I added 1 cups maida and reduced apf to 1 cup...rest all the same process, but i dint get the elasticity. Wondering why... Shouldnt I have used bleached APF? Or if i use it, anything to be added or removed out? I got crispy outer layers and half-cooked inner layers. :(( Help Pls.

Viji said...

Hi Shaheen,
Very impressive photos and really easy to make.It was good.Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone here,

I am situated in Malaysia and currently open up a Chapatti making factory in Serendah, Selangor. I serve catering company to fulfill customer needs who are looking for better food choice rather than the old style Beriyani Rice and other menu.

My contact number 60123092876 and my name is azman. Please do not hesitate to place order if u r in Malaysia because i am providing best choice of food that can help in a lot of ways to reduce diabetic since it is made from wheat flour.

Give me some comments and ideas to expand this business since my pure intentions is to bring choice to healtier eating habits.

Mishmash ! said...

hey I made this tonight for our dinner and turned out well. Mine were not this big, even though i made only 11 balls out of the whole dough... any idea why ?

Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe...:)

aflailingcook said...

Hi Shaheen, This recipe was the first one I tried from your blog. Instructions were simple but i must have done something wrong. I used half the measurements and created papads, enjoyed eating it though. Tried again with softer results but i could get only four. Will try till i get them layers, maybe more oil. Any ideas?
Thank you for the recipe. Not a silent lurker no more.

pinky said...

Thanks for such a good and simple recipe.this is my ever fav food.. I gonna try it today itself..hope it will come out good..
thank you again..

Anonymous said...

finally, i got something that had become an obsession to ma head,, thanx very much, am gonna practice that tomorrow and it will be my special dish on easter thanks again

Anonymous said...

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