This flaky, buttery bread is a staple in Malaysia’s Mamak stalls. Use it to mop up a modern favourite – butter prawns.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (22 votes)


  • 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) milk 
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 150 g ghee, melted, cooled


Butter prawns

  • 1 kg green king prawns
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry, plus 1 tbsp extra
  • 30 g (⅓ cup) desiccated coconut
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 100 g butter, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 bird’s-eye chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh curry leaves (see Note)
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar

Cook's notes

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.


Soaking time overnight

Place flour, a pinch of salt, 150 ml water, milk, egg, oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead for 6 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Place balls in a large dish, pour over ghee and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temperature.

The next day, remove balls from dish. Working one at a time on a clean work surface, using your hands, stretch out dough as thin as possible. Fold in 2 sides to form a rectangle, then working from the shorter ends, fold both ends towards centre, making sure they overlap slightly. Set aside.

To make butter prawns, peel shell away from body of prawns, leaving heads and tails intact. Half-fill a deep-fryer or a large saucepan with oil and heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches, cook prawns for 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add coconut and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds or until golden. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 2 tsp oil, then add egg yolks and cook, stirring with a fork, until broken up and stringy. Remove from pan and set aside. Add butter and remaining 2 tsp oil, then add garlic and chilli. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add curry leaves and cook for 30 seconds, then add soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar. Add prawns to pan with reserved coconut and eggs, and toss to combine. Keep warm.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Working 2 at a time, add roti and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately with butter prawns.



• Curry leaves are available from select greengrocers and Asian food shops.


Photography Chris Chen


As seen in Feast magazine, March 2014, Issue 29. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.