Coconut roti with dhal
Photo by Tamara West
I enjoyed a free demo on how to make these roti when I watched a very deft woman turning out rotis for lunch atone of the Dilmah philanthropic institutes. Unlike Indian roti, the Sri Lankans add coconut, chillies, onion, curry leaves and sometimes a little grated Maldive fish (sun-dried smoked skipjack tuna) to theirs. The result has a rich flavour and a slightly chewier texture than a soft Indian roti. The following, although my version, tastes as I remember them. I buy curry leaves from my local Asian shop, freeze what I don’t use and then use the rest straight from the freezer when needed. They don’t taste of curry but have a citrusy smell and flavour. The name just comes from the fact that they are used in curries. Aromatic pandan leaves are also available from Asian grocers.
|150 g||Dried split yellow peas, well rinsed, soaked for 1 hour in cold water and drained|
|2 large||Red onions, one finely chopped the other thinly sliced|
|1||Green chilli, sliced|
|2 stalks||Lemongrass, bulb ends squashed|
|2 sprigs||Curry leaves|
|½ tsp||Ground turmeric|
|2 Tbsp||Fresh lime juice, or lemon juice|
|1 Tbsp||Vegetable oil|
|3 small||Red chillies, dried, rinsed and dried|
|3 cloves||Garlic, finely chopped|
|1 Tbsp||Mustard seeds|
- Put everything except the salt water and oil into a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the water and oil slowly, mixing continuously. Mix well so that you have a soft dough.
- Divide into 6 even balls. Roll each ball out on a clean floured surface about ½ cm thick and about 20cm in diameter.
- Heat a heavy frying pan over moderate to high heat. Lightly wipe a paper towel dipped in oil over the surface of the panand cook each roti for about 4 minutes each side or until well browned.
- Keep warm, wrapped in a clean cloth. Serve with the following dhal.
- Put the dhal, chopped onion, green chilli, pandan leaf, lemongrass, one sprig of curry leaves and the turmeric into a saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 3cm.
- Bring to the boil and simmer 40 minutes, or until the dhal is soft and the mixture thick.
- Discard the pandan leaf and lemongrass. Add the lime or lemon juice and mash the dhal coarsely with a potato masher. Taste and season with salt.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the sliced onion, the leaves from the other sprig of curry leaves, the dried chillies and garlic. Fry gently for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they pop. Sprinkle this mixture over the dhal and serve with the warm rotis.
Check out more of Ray McVinnie's Sri Lankan recipes