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 :
You will need :
|All purpose flour||3 cups|
|Olive oil (Any cooking oil would do)||1 tbsp|
|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
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!
You will need :
|Ground black pepper||1 tsp|
|Green chili slit||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|
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 :
- Now drench kottu with chcken and gravy tuck in !!
- Delicious !!
- 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