Street Food Challenge #1: Sweet Rotis

Roti filled with banana and sweetened condensed milk

Rotis drizzled with sweetened condensed milk were a staple of my childhood.  Sometimes Mom served them with eggs for breakfast.  She could make them from scratch but usually, to save time, she used the pre-made frozen variety that she found at the Asian market.  I could eat an entire package of these in one sitting, if no one stops me.  When I found out that DP had been eating these and green onion pancakes long before we met, I knew he was stuck with me.  That’s my idea of romance.

In Chiang Mai, the roti stands were dominated by Thai Muslims who were exceptionally skilled at working the unleavened bread on a hot griddle while you waited.  Condensed milk is a must, and for a few extra baht, you could add a beaten egg, sliced bananas, or chocolate sprinkles.  It was the perfect ending to a stroll through the night bazaar or Saturday market on Wualai Road.  Like jok stands and the khaling man, roti vendors should exist on every corner.

When I started thinking about what I should bring to the next Fiesta Friday, I made up my mind to do something I’ve been meaning to do since 2006: learn to make all of my favorite Southeast Asian street foods.

That’s right – I’ve called myself out.  Everyone at Fiesta Friday #10 will be my witness.

I will learn to make one street food dish each week as often as I can, until I finish the list.  I got a little cocky there, but let’s be real: I only managed to pull out something outrageous last week because of a rare stroke of genius.  Since rotis are basically just fried dough with some form of oil, they’re not nearly as healthy of an offering as last week.

After a little bit of research, I discovered that there really isn’t a whole lot to roti dough, which makes me suspicious because they are so chewy and crispy, a mix between crepes and puff pastry.  Surely it cannot be easy.  I used this recipe from Importfood.com.  That entire website is an awesome resource for authentic Thai food, with some helpful videos straight from the streets of Thailand.

Alas, I forgot we were out of butter.  I substituted with vegetable oil, which I saw used in other recipes around the Web.  I left the condensed milk out of the dough because there is plenty in the finished product.  I’ll be honest with you – as far as folding the dough as described on the website, I have no idea what they are talking about.  I just winged it.

I will have to practice a lot more before I can whip the dough around like the man in the suggested video.  He is like the Sbarro pizza guy at the mall when I was kid.  My dough kept tearing.  Seriously, watch the video; you will be mesmerized.

This one goes down in the  books as: Tasty But Needs More Practice. I recommend adding Nutella, any type of berries, or even peanut butter.  I am a simple gal and just take mine with milk and bananas.

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26 thoughts on “Street Food Challenge #1: Sweet Rotis”

  1. How come I’ve never had this?! I do buy frozen paratha, just like your mommy, but I thought they’re meant for curries! And I used to have a Thai roommate in college! I really like the sound of this one, Noony, maybe with banana and nutella, like crepes!

    1. People all your life have been holding out on you, Angie! You’re right, they are very similar to crepes, but I really enjoy the texture of the paratha.

  2. This is totally new to me Noony – it sounds and looks delicious! As with many things practice does make perfect – so keep going at it!

    1. Angie and I agreed it was very similar to crepes, just with a different texture. I have some tweaking to do to figure out how to get it flakier…yet chewy and slightly crispy too. Thanks, Nancy!

  3. You are certainly off to a good start in your promise to make regular (maybe once a week) Southeast Asian street food. We here at Fiesta Friday will be watching and waiting.

      1. When I lived in Singapore, I thought of writing a book about street food, doing recipes from all the places I travelled to. Of course, I never did it, but my interest in street food is still strong. I’m glad this genre is gaining attention and I am very curious to see what your take on this is.

  4. You amaze me Noony! You have this lovely spirit of adventure that is refreshing and inspiring! I love Thai street food, or most street food for that matter. I found a wonderful Street food cookbook in my library and would love to make some treasures from it as well – so maybe we can compare notes! I think your roti looks gorgeous and I completely admire you for trying to make it. If it were me, I would just buy it from my local Indian restaurant 😀 Thanks so much for bringing your hard work to the party! 🙂

    1. Why didn’t I think to invest in a Street Food cookbook? Now you really must share. I kept trying to find the frozen rotis around here and haven’t been successful, so I thought why not try to make them from scratch? The dough is easy to prepare…after that, it gets a bit tricky. lol

  5. Roti! I’ll never forget the first time I had one. In fact, we just bought sweetened condensed milk because we had roti in the freezer. Thanks for dedicating a post to one of the best desserts ever (if you’d call it that).

    1. Thanks, Patty! I hope I can stay motivated. Once I see a list of ingredients that I have to go on a scavenger hunt for (I know it’s coming), I will get intimidated. I need encouragement from my FF friends!

  6. Your roti looks pretty good! I’ve had savoury ones, but not yet one drizzled with condensed milk. That would be heaven! I need to find a proper roti stand straight away!!

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