Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes


Roti Canai Recipe

4 servings


1 hour

active time

5 hours 10 minutes

total time


500 g all purpose flour (about 4 cups of flour, measured by spoon and level method)

1 tsp sea salt

180 mL boiling water (¾ cup)

180 mL room temperature water (¾ cup)

Oil (for coating, layering, and cooking)

Butter or ghee (optional)


About 10 hours before you want to cook the roti (or at least 3 hours)

In a large bowl, place the flour and salt. Stir to combine.

While stirring the flour with a fork or spatula, add the hot water to form clumps in the flour. Stir until the water is dispersed throughout the dough (forming smaller clumps).

Add the room temperature water while mixing (preferably with your hands), until you form a scraggly dough. The dough should be fairly soft, but not sticky.

Once you form a rough dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the dough should have absorbed all of the water well, and softened a little bit. Knead this dough for about 2 - 3 minutes to form a dough with a smooth, satiny surface.

Weigh the dough, and divide it into 8 equal portions (about 90 - 100 g per portion). Shape each dough portion into a smooth dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Keep a small bowl and a large plate (or flat container) ready. Place some vegetable oil in the bowl. Spread some oil on the bottom of the large plate / flat container as well.

Roll the dough balls in the oil to coat. Place each coated dough ball on the plate. Make sure there is at least ½ inch space between the dough balls if possible (otherwise they will stick to each other).

Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours. I prefer to let the dough rest for at least 2 hours (they are more pliable this way) if I'm in a hurry, OR overnight whenever possible.

Shaping the roti canai

Place some oil (or butter and ghee) in a bowl.

Take one dough ball and flatten it out on a smooth work surface. Use your hands to stretch out the dough until they are paper thin, and you can see through the dough.

TIP - To stretch the dough, flatten the dough with your palm to get a circle / square shape. Press one end of the dough onto your work surface, so that it lightly sticks to the surface. Then gently stretch the opposite end of the dough. Repeat all around, so that you stretch out the dough evenly. It can be a circle or rectangle in shape. Try your best not to tear the roti. With practice, you will get fewer and fewer tears.

Spread some oil (or butter or ghee) on the surface of the roti. Don’t make this layer of fat too thick.

Roll up the dough into a tube. Make sure you roll up the dough firmly into a log. Alternatively, you can gather the dough from either end in 0.5 - 1 inch folds that are on top of each other (see the panel of images in the post - "the roti after folding").

Once you have rolled up / folded the dough, coil the dough into a spiral (see pictures in the post). Make sure the spiral is tightly coiled. Also make sure to tuck the ends of the dough under the spiral, and then press down the spiral with your palm. This should hopefully help seal the spiral/coil.

Place this on the plate again (with some oil at the bottom). Repeat with the rest of the dough portions.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least another hour.

Cooking the roti canai

Please note that the heat recommended for cooking the roti can vary from stove to stove. So adjust the heat accordingly.

Use at least an 8 inch non-stick pan (or tawa). Heat over medium heat.

Once the pan is heated, place one portion of the coiled roti on your work surface and flatten it out into a 6 - 7 inch roti using your hands. You can use a rolling pin as well, but I personally prefer to use my hands.

Add a few drops of oil into the pan, or brush the surface of the pan with some oil. Place the roti in the pan and cook until golden brown. Flip the roti and cook until the other side is also golden brown and cooked through. The total cook time (for me) is about 4 minutes per roti. I flip the roti throughout the cooking process to ensure even browning on both sides.

Place the cooked roti on a cooling rack. While it’s still hot, use your hands to squash the roti (kind of in a clapping motion). This helps separate the layers in the cooked roti.

Repeat with all of the dough portions.

Serve while warm, with curry, or however you like!


Serving Size

2 rotis


557 kcal

Total Fat

13 g

Saturated Fat

7 g

Unsaturated Fat

4 g

Trans Fat

1 g


31 mg


685 mg

Total Carbohydrate

95 g

Dietary Fiber

3 g

Total Sugars

1 g


13 g

4 servings


1 hour

active time

5 hours 10 minutes

total time
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