Vegetable Rotis – popular vegetarian street food in Sri Lanka

vegetable roti
vegetable roti

These dangerously addictive vegetable rotis are the most sorted street food in Sri Lanka! They are spicy, delicious, and wholesome! Whosoever tasted, would naturally want more! However, you can make a healthier version of these at home, keeping the same taste and appearance but with less oil and more fresh vegetables.

It is a bit of a cumbersome task to knead the floor to bring to the right texture but when it is being achieved, the rotis are soft and perfect in taste. I have used a generous amount of veggies and very little oil in this recipe to keep it healthy and appetising at the same time.

So, let’s make it,

1st Step: Make the dough for Rotis

You will need :

 All-purpose flour 3 cups
 Salt 1 tsp
Oil 1 tbsp
 Sugar 1 tsp

Knead

  • Rub flour, sugar, salt and oil together
  • Add lukewarm water little by little and knead for about 5 – 8 mins until the dough doesn’t 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 cling film and let them rest at least an hour (ideally, 2hrs)
Groti

2nd Step: Make the vegetable filling.

You will need :

Salt 1/2 tsp
Ground black pepper and chili powder 1/2 tsp each
Garlic chopped 3 cloves
Green chili slit 1
Onion chopped1 large
Boiled potatoes1/2 cup
Carrots – cut into thin strips 1 cup
Spring onions chopped or leek cut thinly1/4 cup
White Cabbage – shredded thinly 1 cup
Turmeric powder/Mild curry powder1/2 tsp each
Oil1 tbsp

Stir fry :

  • In a large wok, add 2 tbsp of oil and heat up
  • Add garlic and brown the chopped onion
  • Add carrots stripes, shredded cabbage and start stir-frying until they wilt slightly
  • Add the slit green chilli and leek and continue stir-frying for a min or two.  Do not overcook the veggies
  • Toss salt, turmeric powder and curry powder
  • Now add mashed boiled potatoes, leaving a few small chunks
  • Add a generous amount of ground black pepper.  Check the taste
  • Give a good mix, cover and keep aside

3rd Step: Fill and bake the Rotis

  • Heat up a non-stick flat pan and spray oil all over
  • Rub oil on your kitchen top and hands
  • Take a dough ball, flatten it by pressing down lightly and then drag from sides being careful not to tear it.
  • Place a heap of the veggie mix in the middle
  • Fold from sides, covering the veggie mix to shape it up as a rectangle
  • Place gently on the pan
  • Repeat the same steps with other dough balls
  • Arrange them around the pan and baking them, filliping over every now and again until the outer cover turns golden
  • Bake all the sides by tilting them up
  • Leave to cool
  • Serve warm with sliced raw onions or ketchup
  • Delicious!
kottu roti

Kottu Roti recipe – most popular street food in Sri Lanka

Kottu roti

You must not miss witnessing the roadside spectacle of making Kottu in Sri Lanka! The typical metal clashing and banging to the rhythm of deafening fast beat music, making kottu is an interesting roadside scene at night in many towns in Sri Lanka!

When the last of daylight dims down, bright white lights dazzle from the food stalls, while a circle of onlookers watching in amusement how their portions of Kottu are made in minutes, followed by a little jig, cling clang of metals, many ingredients being dropped and then disappeared in shreds! 

Finally, a heap of steaming kottu on a plate is offered 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 irresistible music aired to the wee hours of the night.

We can produce something similar at home even though we don’t have the metal plates or the need for a jig.  The packeted frozen Kottu Porottas, available in the freezer section of  Asian food stalls, are the best and easiest choice.  If you are unable to get that and you have time and patience, these rotis could be made at home and cut into small squares to make this dish.  Interestingly, these rotis are called Handkerchief rotis, considering their thin and flat appearance.  However, they are locally known as Godamba roti.

Recipes given below are;

  • Kottu roti
  • Handerchief roti
  • Chicken curry

Let’s make kottu

Prepare the frozen parotta 

  • Heat up a non-stick pan
  • Place a  frozen parotta and heat up both sides
  • Cut into small pieces
  • Make 3 cups for this recipe

Let’s get ready with these ingredients to make the Kottu dish;

Kottu Porotta3 cups
Soy sauce 3 tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Ground black pepper 1 tsp
Garlic chopped 
Green chili slit 1
Onion chopped1
Large onion cubed for tossing on at the end
Carrots – cut or shred into thin strips(Do not grate) 1/2 cup
Spring onions chopped or leek cut thinly1/4 cup
White Cabbage – shredded thinly 1 cup
Eggs 2 large

How to make:

Step by step recipe guidance

Stir fry

  • In a large wok, add 2 tbsp of oil and heat up
  • Add garlic and saute’ the chopped onion
  • Add shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, slit green chilli and start stir fry until slightly wilted
  • Add salt and ground black pepper

Add eggs

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

Mix all together

  • Now mix veggies and eggs together and give a good stir frying under high flame
  • Toss a bit more black pepper powder and add soy sauce.  Mix rapidly
  • Add the cut pieces of Kottu Porotta and give a good toss and a shake to mix everything together
  • Add some of the pieces of meat leaving the gravy and mix well
  • Throw the cubed onion on top.  Onions should be crunchy to bite.  So do not cover the lid or overcook at this point
  • Your basic Kottu dish is done!

Time to gobble it down

  • Now drench kottu in chicken gravy and tuck in (Mix gravy only when you are ready to eat it or else your kottu will be too soggy )
  • Delicious!

Handkerchief roti / Godamba roti

Flat rotis used for making Kottu

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 dough:

  • Rub flour, sugar, salt and oil together
  • Add water little by little knead for about 5 – 8 mins until the dough doesn’t stick on to your fingers
  • Divide into equal sized balls giving an extra kneed to each ball
  • Rub oil on each ball generously.  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 3 hours
Groti

Make rotis on the thawa :

  • Heat up a wide flat pan and spray oil all over
  • Grease the worktop 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 handkerchief 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 not to make them crispy
  • Cover with a lid or a tea towel until all the rotis are made
  • Cut into bite-size pieces and keep aside

Chicken curry that goes with Kottu 

Marinate

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
  • Chilli 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
  • Vinegar

Stir fry

  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan
  • Add 3 cloves, an inch long cinnamon stick, a few crushed cardamoms.  fry a minute
  • Brown a thinly sliced onion
  • Add 1 tbsp of ginger and garlic paste or both ground together as a pulp and a few crushed curry leaves
  • Add a slit green chilli
  • 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  let the chicken cook in its own juices for 10 mins
  • 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 15 mins
  • Give a good stir and add 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!
Mutton curry

best spicy Mutton curry – Deliciously flavourful Sri Lankan recipe

Mutton curry
mutton curry
Mutton curry
juicy, spicy mutton curry

This is the typical Sri Lankan way of cooking mutton, using the aromatic Sri Lankan roasted curry powder. You can buy this spice powder from Asian grocery shops or make it at home by roasting cloves, cardamoms, chili, and cinnamon sticks and grinding them into a powder that is aromatic, flavourful, and has numerous health benefits. (Pls see the recipe given below)

These succulent pieces of mutton in a thick spicy gravy could be the ultimate comfort food in cold winter months, where your body yarns for the warmth of a rich diet. Make sure your buy mutton from a reliable butcher, not the sealed packs from the freezers in supermarkets. The freshly cut meat has lots of flavours intact which contribute a great deal to the overall taste.

What you need to make it:

Good quality mutton from a shoulder joint-medium size pieces300 g
Onion and green chili – slit in the middle1 each
Ginger and garlic – freshly grated2 tbsp
Roasted curry powder2 tbsp
Chili powder1 tbsp
Vinegar2 tbsp
Salt1 tsp or more to taste
Pepper powder1 tsp
Maggi coconut milk powder or thick fresh coconut milk1 tbsp
Whole spices- a Cinnamon quill, a few cardamoms, 3 cloves 

Let’s make it:

Marinate

  • Marinate the mutton pieces with :   Roasted curry powder; chili powder;grated ginger and garlic; vinegar;salt and pepper powder
  • Cover and keep aside for at least 2hrs or preferably over night

Fry

  • Fry the onion until golden and add some freshly grated ginger and garlic. Brown them.
  • Toss some crushed curry leaves, a few cloves, a cinnamon stick, 3,4 cardamoms and fry.
  • Add the green chili.
  • Now add the marinated mutton pieces and stir fry them for 5 – 10 mins under medium heat until all the pieces turn light brown and the pan gets a bit dry.

Simmer

  • Cover with the lid, lower the flame to the minimum and leave for 10-15 mins.  This will allow all the natural juices of mutton pieces to ooze out.  
  • Open after 8-10 mins and stir well, wrapping the muttom pieces with the juices.
  • Now keep adding boiling water little by little while vigorously mixing and frying the mutton for 10-15mins. This frying determind the taste of the final outcome of this dish
  • Scrape the juices and mix thoroughly until all come together.  Check the taste.  Add more salt or pepper if needed

Cook further

  • Now pour warm water a little above the mutton pieces
  • Cover and cook under a low flame, about 1/2 hr while stringing from time to time
  • Add more water. Cover and cook further
  • Cook until the mutton pieces are tender and properly cooked
  • Add 1 tbsp of Maggi coconut milk which will enhance the flavours in a great deal
  • Toss some fresh curry leaves on top, switch the flame off, cover and let the pan rest for at least 1/2 hr
  • Serve with a dome of hot rice, bread or rotis