Kottu Roti – All times favourite street food in Sri Lanka

With a typical metal clashing and banging to the rhythem of deafning fast beat music, making kottu is a roadside spectale at night in the island nation of Sri Lanka!

Kottu, literally means cut rotis, originated from the Southern part of India and found its way to Sri Lanka with a  delicious interlude.  Rather than using a knife to chop rotis into bite-sized pieces, the expert, street-food vendors use two thin metal plates to rhythmically chop them, while giving a little jig.

When the last of daylight dims down, bright white lights dazzle from the foodstalls, while a circle of onlookers watching in amasement how their portions of Kottu are made in minutes, followed by a  a rock and roll dance, cling clang of metals, many ingredients being dropped and then dissappered in shreds!  Finally, a heap of steaming kottu on a plate is offered in no time and while you are digging a fork between a combination of soft flakes of roti, glistering pieces of meat and shreds of veggies,  involuntarily; your legs will dance to the irresistable music aired to the wee hours of night.

We can produce something similar at home even though we don’t have the metal plates or the need of a jig.  The packeted frozen Kottu Porottas, available in the freezer section of  Asian food stalls, are the best and easiest choice or if you have time and patience, these rotis could be made at home and cut them according to the required size.  Interstingly, these rotis are called Hankerchief rotis, considering their thin and flat appearance.  However, they are locally known as Godamba roti.

Let’s make the rotis first and then the chicken curry that goes with Kottu.   If you have managed to get the Frozen Kottu Porottas, you can skip making the rotis:

Hankerchief roti / Godamba roti

Other delicious recipes that you could try out using the same rotis :

http://happyrecipes.co.uk/fish-rotis-triangles-filled-with-fish-and-potatoes/

You will need :

 All purpose flour  3 cups
 Salt  1 tsp
 Olive oil (Any cooking oil would do)  1 tbsp
 Sugar  1 tsp
Baking powder  1/2 tsp

Knead it :

  • Rub flour, sugar, salt and oil together
  • Add water little by little knead for about 5 – 8 mins until the dough doesnt stick on to your fingers
  • Divide into equal sized balls giving an extra kneed to each ball
  • Rub oil on each ball.  Place on a tray a little apart from each other
  • Cover with a wet tea towel or a cling film and let them rest at least an hour

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Bake it :

  • Heat up a wide flat pan and spray oil all over
  • Grease the work top as well as your fingers with little oil
  • Place a dough ball on top and press it down from the middle and slowly spread it out from sides to look like a flat hankerchief or a bed sheet
  • Lift up slowly and place on the heated pan
  • Immediately after a few seconds, flip on to the other side
  • Bake both sides quickly, being careful no to make them crispy or burn
  • Cover with a lid or a tea towel until all the rotis are made
  • Cut into bite size pieces and keep aside

If you are buying Frozen Kottu Porotta rotis from Asian food stores:

  • Frozen kottu porotta pieces must be placed in a tray and stick it in the oven to thaw for a few minutes.  It is tastier this way than defrosting in the microwave.
  • But if you are buying whole frozen rotis like what you see in this picture, thaw both sides on a non-stick pan and then cut into small pieces.

 

 

 

 

Let’s make the chicken curry that goes with Kottu 

Marinate it :

Marinate 300g of chicken legs or thighs cut into medium size pieces with the following and keep aside for 1hr in the fridge:

  • Salt 1/4 tsp
  • Chili powder 1/4 tsp
  • Roasted curry powder  1/4 tsp (Could use garam masala in place of this)
  • Black pepper powder 1/8 tsp
  • Turmeric 1/8 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic grated or paste
  • Olive oil 1 tsp

Stir fry it:

  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan
  • Add 3 cloves, an inch long cinnamon stick, a few crushed cardamoms.  fry a minute.
  • Sweat a thinly sliced onion
  • Add a chopped garlic or two and a few crushed curry leaves.
  • Add a slit green chili
  • Drop the marinated chicken into the pan and fry for about 5 minutes under medium flame.
  • Now close the lid, lower the flame to the minimum and  the chicken cook for 10 mins.  (The juices from the meat will run out at this point)
  • Open the lid, mix all the juices and the chicken together and fry for another 2 mins.

Cook it :

  • Add water a little above the chicken pieces, cover the lid and cook for 10 – 15 mins.
  • Give a good stir and more water as you need a lot of gravy for Kottu.
  • Cover and cook further a few mins.
  • Finally, add a tablespoon of Maggi coconut milk powder to enhance the flavours.
  • Drop a few crushed curry leaves on top, cover and let it rest.
  • Your juicy chicken curry is  now ready!

 

 Make Kottu

You will need :

Rotis  3 cups
Salt  1/2 tsp
Ground black pepper  1 tsp
Garlic chopped
Green chili slit  1
Onion chopped 1
Large onion cubed 1
Carrots – cut into thin strips  1/2 cup
Spring onions chopped or leek cut thinly 1/4 cup
White Cabbage – shreded thinly  1 cup
Eggs  2 large

Veggie Mix

Stir fry it :

  • In a large wok, add 2 tbsp of oil and heat up
  • Add garlic and sweat the chopped onion
  • Add carrots stripes, shreded cabbage, slit green chilli and start stir frying until they wilt.
  • Add salt and ground black pepper

Egg it :

  • Now push the veggies to a side of the wok and break all 2 eggs into the pan.

  • Immediately scramble the eggs

Mix it :

  • Now mix veggies and eggs together and give a good stir frying under high flame.
  • Adjust the taste at this point.
  • Toss a bit more black pepper powder for enhancing the taste.
  • Add the cut pieces of Kottu Porotta and give a good toss and a shake to mix everything together.
  • Throw the cubed onion on top.  Onions should be crunchy to bite.  So do not cover the lid or over cook at this point

  • Your basic Kottu dish is done and taste delicious in every bite !

Eat it :

kottu

  • Now pour chcken and gravy on top of kottu and tuck in !!
  • Delicious !!

Tips :

  • Do not cover Kottu at any point as the onions could wilt.
  • You could make the chicken curry and rotis on the previous day to save time.
  • Mix the gravy and pieces of meat to Kottu only when you are ready to eat

 

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Sri Lankan Coconut Roti – Pol Roti

Sri Lankan Roti

These creamy coconut rotis are everybody’s favourite in Sri Lanka as well as tourists who visit there from abroad to enjoy the picturesque scenaries in the country  and explore the country’s authentic cuisine.

Some love a plain creamy version of rotis by just mixing flour and scraped coconut together with salt, but I make it much more flavourful , by tossing onions and curry leaves into the dough as it gives a mouthwatering aroma while baking.

They go deliciously well with a mutton, fish or chicken curry,  simple lunu miris – a tongue burning mixture of chili and red onion chopped together with a dash of lemon juice.  I serve these rotis cut into stripes to my little son  with just a knob of butter which tastes creamy and buttery in every mouthful.

It’s not so difficult to find fresh coconut even in the West these days,  as the Asian supermarkets store fresh frozen grated-coconut.  You just have to defrost the pack in the microwave for 5-10 mins to turn it into fresh aromatic coconut for any of your culinary needs.  Desiccated coconut also could be used if softened by adding some hot water into it which gives a unique taste.

You need the following few items to make these:

Fresh coconut 1 cup
Plain flour 2 cups
Onion 1 chopped into very small pieces
Green chili 1 chopped
Curry leaves A handful cut into thin pieces
Salt 1tsp or to taste
Red chili powder 1/4 tsp
Butter / coconut oil 1 tbsp
Lukewarm water to kneed the dough 1 cup or a little more

 images (2)  IMG_1364

Let’s make it:

  • Mix well chopped onion, green chili , red chili powder, curry leaves, salt and butter/oil with scraped coconut using your fingers.

roti7

  • Now add flour into it and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour lukewarm water gradually while kneading until everything comes together and not sticking onto  your fingers.  Check the taste and adjust salt at this point.
  • Let it rest for 20 mins so that all flavours binds together.

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  • From the dough, make equal size balls and place them on a foil sheet.

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  • On a another foil sheet flatten one ball and cut into disc shape using a round lid or a cookie cutter.

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  • Heat up a flat pan, tawa or a non-stick flat pan. Brush little oil.
  •  Place on the hot pan taking care not to damage the shape.  The easiest way is to bring the foil itself near the pan and slowly lower the disc shaped roti onto the pan.
  • Bake both sides until it turns golden colour.  If you pan has space you can place two or three rotis at the same time. Press gently and if a whoosh sound emits then it has to bake further few mins as the water has not evaporated fully.

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  • Once out of the pan, let them release steam by placing  on a wire rack.
  • Serve hot with a spicy chicken or mutton curry or just with a blob of butter.
  • yummy !!

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