Saturday, August 12, 2006
Healthy Prata? No Way!
I tried a Roti Canai recipe today. Just across the Causeway, what is known as Roti Prata here is called Roti Canai there. I honestly do not know if there is a difference between the two. To me, it is the same oil soaked doughball, flattened and fried in plenty of oil in a hot griddle. They are both served in similar manner with a dipping of curry or sugar for the kids.
If you think that a homemade prata is healthy then think again. I can only, in my humble opinion, say that it is only marginally healthier because you can control the amount of oil needed to make this Indian pancake.
Last night, after kneading the Roti Canai dough, it was scaled into balls the size of a big lemon and left to soak, yes soak, in oil overnight. If you do not want to soak the balls, you can use much lesser oil but then, you would have to turn the balls around every so often so that the balls are well coated with oil. The soaking is supposed to relax and make the dough more tender rendering it more stretchable.
The finished pancake is very flaky and tasted very much like what a Roti Canai should be. However, it does lack depth because, despite a fair bit of oil is used, the overall amount is far lesser than what is used by the hawkers. Hence the richness is absent on the tongue..
The balls being soaked in oil overnight.
If you can flip the dough, congratulations to you. If you can't, then oil the table well, start using the heels of your palm to slowly push the dough outwards thinly. Spreading more oil on it's surface makes it easier to push it outwards!
Lift the dough up so that it falls into a strip and start coiling it inwards.
Shape it into a ball and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes on a well oiled surface.
Oil palm well and start to flatten the ball in the clockwise direction moving from the centre outwards.
Pan fry over medium heat till cooked. The only concession here, is that you could fry it in a non-stick pan therefore using slightly lesser oil than the Roti Canai man.