kottu roti

Kottu Roti – All times favourite street food in Sri Lanka

kottu roti
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 them 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 porotta 

  • 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 – shreded 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 togther

  • 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!
coconut rotis

Sri Lankan Pol Roti – Irresistible Coconut discs

coconut rotis

I am not wasting many words to describe how much the native Sri Lankans love these creamy discs. Tourists from various countries tour around the island never forget to taste these and cherish them.

The most popular is the plain creamy version made by mixing flour and scraped coconut together with salt and a dash of chilli powder. But my favourite is the more flavourful version made by tossing onions, curry leaves, grated carrots and chopped green chillies into the dough and bake on the traditional cast iron pan.

Image result for frozen coconut vaani
Fresh frozen grated coconut is available in Asian supermarkets

Ingredients needed:

Plain creamy version
Fresh coconut1 cup
Plain flour2 cups
Onion1 chopped into very small pieces
Chilli powder1 tsp
Salt1 tsp
Butter1 tbsp
Lukewarm water to knead the dough1 cup
Flavourful version
Green chili1 chopped
Curry leavesA handful cut into thin pieces
Salt1tsp or to taste
Red chili powder1/4 tsp
Butter / coconut oil1 tbsp
Lukewarm water to knead the dough1 cup or a little more

Let’s make:

The creamy, plain version

  • Mix flour, salt, coconut, chilli powder and butter together and knead by adding lukewarm water little by little. Make a soft dough ball, cover and keep aside for 20-30 mins
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The flavourful version

  • Mix chopped onion, green chilli, red chilli powder, curry leaves, grated carrots, salt and butter with scraped coconut using your fingers and then mix with flour. Add lukewarm water little by little and make a softball. Cover and keep aside for 20-30 mins for all the flavours to combine nicely
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  • From the dough, make equal size balls and place them on a foil sheet
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  • On another foil sheet flatten one ball and cut into a disc shape using a round lid or a cookie cutter
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  • Heat up a flat cast iron pan or a roti tawa and brush a little oil
  •  Place a dough ball on the hot pan taking care not to damage the shape.  The easiest way is to bring the foil itself near and slowly lower it onto the pan
  • After a minute, flip over and keep flipping over and until the disc is baked properly on both sides. If you pan has space you can place two or three discs at the same time. Press gently and if a whoosh sound emits then it has to bake further a 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 a blob of butter along with lunu miris make it simply irresistible.
  • Lunu Miris/Chilli chutney – pound together chilli powder/chilli flakes with salt, some scraped Maldive fish and finally mixing a dash of lemon juice to balance the taste.

Do not forget to sip a plain tea made with sugar and crushed ginger to finish off to give the fullest satisfaction of this meal.