This vegan version of Roti Jala leverages the superior flavor and nutrition of Maskal Teff®, making it pretty, delicious and just better for you!
As someone who’s had a lifetime obsession with intricate lace work, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first time I saw Roti Jala, it was love at first sight, which soon grew into an obsession that would not be appeased until I made myself some. I was not disappointed. Even though I made an eggless version, which essentially made it a Vegan Roti Jala, it was delicious, soft, fluffy and soaked up the curry like the most beautiful sponge.
Beloved by the Malay people, I’ve heard that this lacy crepe has its origins in South Indian cuisine from String Hoppers / Idiyappam, which is made with a rice flour dough that’s squeezed through a special press to form thin strings that are then steamed.
The Roti Jala however, isn’t steamed, rather cooked in a pan, much like a crepe. Still, it is almost oil-free. Almost.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Teff Company. All opinions, as always, are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Love is in my tummy.
Now that I’d had my fill of Roti Jala, I set out to making it a little more nutritious. It must be age, that has me trying to pack in nutrition even in indulgences.
When I think of flour and nutrition, especially for vegans, nothing can be better than Teff!
From the Maskal Teff® website:
“Teff leads all the grains – by a wide margin – in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach. Teff is high in resistant starch, a newly-discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood sugar management, weight control, and colon health. It’s estimated that 20-40% of the carbohydrates in teff are resistant starches. A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, teff is a healthy and versatile ingredient for many gluten-free products.”
Even though it is a gluten-free flour, I’ve come to substitute half of all-purpose flour in my recipes with Teff, both for its taste as well as nutrition. Which is how I came to making this Teff Roti Jala!
Making your own Roti Jala Mold
Every culture has their own tools and implements to complement their unique dishes. The Roti Jala is no exception. If you’re a huge fan of Roti Jala, I would absolutely recommend buying your own Roti Jala mold, otherwise, you can make your own using a disposable plastic bottle.
Unscrew the cap and turn the cap upside down. Pierce three holes in the bottle cap in the shape of a triangle using a wooden toothpick. Fill the batter into this bottle and screw the cap back on. There, you have your own makeshift Roti Jala mold.
Making the classic lace pattern
It’s really simple, and in just a few tries, you’ll be spinning circles like a pro! Holding the bottle at a 45° angle to the pan, and applying a very soft pressure to the bottle to dispense the batter, draw interlocking circles around the pan. Once you’ve covered the pan, go through a few more circles to connect the rings a little more.
Cook in low for a minute until all traces of liquid are gone and you have a lacy crepe that’s ready to be lifted.
A lot of recipes call for you to brush your pan with a little oil before pouring the batter. But if you’re using a good quality nonstick pan, you don’t need to do that at all. With a gentle prodding from a spatula, it’ll slide right off without trouble!
Just remember to wipe down the pan with a paper towel to remove any batter bits that detached from the crepe before pouring the batter for the next roti jala.
Yes, while this is just pretty enough to plate as is (I mean, would you look at that!), it’s not really convenient to serve – rolled, it still looks pretty and you can pick it up without trouble!
There are many ways of rolling your Roti Jala, but this is my favorite way – it shows off the lace pattern beautifully, and turns into a perfectly dunkable finger food you can pass around at parties.
The Teff Roti Jala is a great medium for you to soak up the accompanying curry – choose your favorite curry, it works with everything!
Here are some of my favorites:
- 100 grams Maskal Teff® flour (Ivory or brown) *see notes
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 200 mL canned coconut milk
- 300 mL water, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Prepare a Roti Jala mold
- You can buy a Roti Jala mold or make your own: take an empty disposable plastic water bottle. Unscrew the cap and turn it upside down. Pierce three holes in the bottle cap in the shape of a triangle using a wooden toothpick. This bottle can be used as a makeshift Roti Jala mold.
Make the batter
- In a bowl, combine the teff flour, all-purpose flour and salt. If your flours are lumpy, sift them first. Make a well in the center and add the liquids: coconut milk, water and vegetable oil. Using a whisk, combine the wet and dry ingredients till you get a smooth, lump-free batter. If you see lumps, pour batter through a sieve to break them apart.
- Let batter rest for 15-20 minutes.
Fill the mold
- Pour batter into the Roti Jala mold and screw back the cap with the holes on it.
- Heat a 10” nonstick skillet on low heat. Once warm, pour the batter from the mold, squeezing the bottle with a light pressure, making interlocking circles. Let it cook for a minute, or until the tops of the roti are no longer wet, and it lifts off the pan without any difficulty.
- Transfer the cooked roti to a plate or chopping board. Fold the sides in to form a rectangle, then roll from the bottom till you get a neat roll. Set aside.
- Wipe down the pan with a paper towel, transferring any bits of roti onto a plate before making another roti. Repeat with the remaining batter, cooking and folding in turn. While one roti cooks, fold the previous one. Make sure to shake the bottle before pouring onto pan, as the liquids may separate.
- Serve warm with your favorite coconut curry. Dunk and enjoy!
- The two colors of Roti Jala seen here come from Ivory Maskal Teff® (light color) and Brown Maskal Teff® (darker color). I made two kinds of batter with each flour respectively, and it makes for a beautiful two-toned platter.
- While Roti Jala is best eaten immediately, leftovers can be refrigerated for upto 2-3 days in a clean, lidded container. Reheat in a pan, in a single layer, sprinkled with a little water and covered with a lid until warm and steamy.
- The water is to dilute the canned coconut milk to the correct consistency. (I use Chaokoh coconut milk which is quite thick and creamy). If you are using freshly homemade coconut milk, omit the water and use 500ml of coconut milk in thin consistency.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 22 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.