Roti Jala Recipe

Photographs: Carey Jones

Roti canai is probably Malaysia's more famous roti, but the lacy, crepe-like pancakes known as roti jala are even prettier—and much simpler to make. A simple batter of eggs, coconut milk, and flour is drizzled in concentric circles onto a hot pan, cooking in seconds and then folded to form a loose, netlike pancake whose nooks and crannies are ideally suited to mopping up curries and sauces.

While practiced cooks whirl out the batter with beautiful precision, it takes a few tries to get these beautiful, even circles. A few tips: keep your hand moving constantly, or the strands will be too thick; keep your hand low to the pan, lest you end up with splatters instead of smooth threads; and don't go back over your first circles, even if they don't look quite perfect—a double-dose of batter will give you pancakes that are too thick and don't have that light, lace-like texture.

This recipe comes from Malaysian cooking instructor Rohani Jelani and was prepared at her beautiful cooking school, Bayan Indah Culinary Retreat outside Kuala Lumpur.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 30 servings

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  • 300g (about 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

  • 3 ounces coconut milk

  • 2 cups water, divided

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons light vegetable oil

  • Oil for greasing


  1. Sift flour, salt and turmeric into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix coconut milk and about a third of the water. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour in coconut milk mixture, eggs, another third of the water, and oil. Using a wooden spoon, gradually incorporate flour into the liquid to make a smooth, thick batter free from lumps. Do not over-mix.

  2. Stir in remaining water. Strain batter through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.

  3. Heat a heavy iron griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat and brush surface lightly with oil.

  4. Stir batter. Dip roti jala mould into it, filling it about half-full. Moving in steady concentric circles, form fine, lacy pancakes.

  5. Once roti jala is lightly colored, remove using a spatula and place, top-side down, on a plate. (There is no need to cook both sides.) Fold into wedges or form into small neat rolls.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
60 Calories
2g Fat
8g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 30
Amount per serving
Calories 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 79mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 24mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)