Most people know roti as an Indian savoury flatbread to mop up curries, but in Thailand it is often served as a sweet pastry. I find them irresistible, especially when stuffed with banana and served with a good drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and a sprinkling of sugar.
- 1 tsp salt
- 500 g (3⅓ cups) plain flour
- 1 egg
- 100 g cold ghee, cut into in small pieces
- 500 ml (2 cups) coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 5 bananas, thinly sliced
- condensed milk and white sugar, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 3½ hours
Stir the salt into 250 ml (1 cup) water until dissolved.
Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the egg and stir to form a crumbly dough. Gradually work in the salted water and knead for about 15 minutes until the dough is silky and soft. Shape the dough into a large ball, then place in a bowl well- greased with a little of the ghee (10 g) and turn to coat. Cover and stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 10 pieces about 60-65 g each. Shape each piece into smooth ball and place in a small deep tray not touching each other. Place a small sliver of ghee on each ball (about 40 g in total), then carefully pour over the coconut oil. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and steep in a warm place, for a few hours or overnight if time permits. Be careful the ambient temperature is not too hot as you do not want the ghee to melt.
Oil your work hands well with some of the oil. Working with one piece of dough at a time, press the dough out into a disc about 13-16 cm-round. Cast the disc over the work surface with one hand until as thin as possible. Roll the pastry up, then shape into a disc again. Flatten and place in a deep tray while you prepare the other pieces of dough. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and stand for another 30 minutes.
Press out each piece of dough on a lightly oiled surface until about 12 cm-round and 2.5 mm-thick. Now what follows is a hard method to describe but here goes …
Place the fingers of your left hand under the pastry with the thumb on the top of the dough. The right had should be in reverse, that is, with the fingers on top and the thumb underneath. Holding one side of the pastry, throw it over your work surface to stretch it to a thin, elongated disk. Continue to turn, throwing and stretching the pastry until it is very thin – almost transparent. Place on your work surface and fold in the outer edges to make a large square.
Heat a barbeque hot plate or large non-stick frying pan over medium heat - it needs to be hot, but not scorching hot or the pastry will burn before it is cooked. Smear some of the remaining ghee onto the hot plate, then add the roti, shuffling it around a little so it doesn’t stick. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then place ½ sliced banana in the centre of the pastry. Fold in the outer pieces of the pastry over the banana to form an envelope. Add another teaspoon of ghee to the hotplate and continue cook the roti, flipping 2 or 3 times until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towel, then repeat with the remaining pastry, banana and ghee. To serve, cut the banana roti into slices and serve drizzled with condensed milk and sprinkled with white sugar.