Now I have one guilty pleasure from when I was traveling around Thailand (and it’s not what you’re thinking!), condensed milk and banana roti. It’s such a simple but addictive dish, with a crispy, buttery roti dough, wrapped around a soft banana and drowned in condensed milk- it’s a fat man’s dream.
Anywhere you travel around Thailand you’re sure to bump into a roti stand. The Thai’s have truly mastered the art of quick, flavoursome and intricate street food. If you’re there and love food, I’m sure you won’t be able to help yourself to try as much as possible. However if you see a roti stand don’t hesitate! Run at it like a seagull that’s nicked your sandwich and grab the first one you can get your hands on. Once you’ve got one don’t stray too far, if you feel like another you may have gained too many pounds to run back.
Recently I have been doing a little research into the origins of the roti dough. Besides seeing it when I was out there, I have only seen it at work. Due to this I had assumed that it was a Thai dish, however (as per usual) I was wrong.
The Roti was first introduced into Thai culture via South Asian immigrants, who borrowed the dish from Indian cuisine. Roti’s were cheap to produce and delicious to eat, so they became common form on the streets. As time passed roti popularity continued to rise, so too did the amount of roti stools. Before you knew it the roti got to where it is today. You can find it on the streets, in malls and in homes, being cooked by everyone, everywhere. Now you understand why I say run if you see one, there will be others behind you. Dommy Gonzalez gives a great insight into how the roti has spread around America in his article from ‘LA Weekly’. This is further evidence of how this gem of a dish is rapidly expanding and occurring in cultures all around the globe.
Now this amazing little dish has not just expanded in terms of popularity. You can now find an endless array of delicious fillings and coatings, both sweet and savoury. From what began as just a simple condensed milk and sugar filling, has now evolved into bananas, strawberry jam, Italian Nutella and apparently you can even get pizza toppings (not that I have seen this with my own eyes). These days anything goes really so I figured I would share a recipe with you guys to have a go yourself.
Right! History lesson over, this now brings us to my dish. I was recently lucky enough to find myself on a long weekend in the Lake District. As soon as I had a free moment I had a sudden urge to make a roti – that’s normal, right? Anyway, so I rattled around in my head and decided that a savoury roti was the way forward. I didn’t think that a condensed milk and sugar roti was going to do me any favours this close to Christmas ( I’ve already told myself, I’m not getting fat until I’m at least 30).
So, savoury it was. I managed to get some smoked salmon fillets, which were bloody awesome so I used them. Whilst writing this I also realised that I haven’t once used smoked salmon on ‘Articuleat’! This just wont do, how have I gone through nearly a year without introducing this amazing product into my repertoire? Well today, this stops, ‘Articuleat’ has found a home for this lovely ingredient, and a pretty tasty one at that.
I decided to poach my smoked salmon fillets in fresh coconut cream and a little fish stock in order to heat the fish and create a delicious sauce. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on any flowering chives for this recipe, however if I could I would have used them. The combination of coconut cream, chives and smoked salmon works really well with a crispy, buttery roti dough. You can buy coconut cream in tins, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can make it yourself. Fresh coconut cream is a far superior product to use if you have time, try it – you’ll love it. This is my version of this historical dish I hope you enjoy.
-5, Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
-2, smoked salmon fillets, roughly 400g (if you can’t get your hands on these just use normal fillets with around 100g of sliced smoked salmon)
-2 spring onions, finely sliced
-2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
-3 coriander roots,cleaned, chopped and pounded in a pestle and mortar.
-20g, flowering chives, if you can’t get flowering chives then british chives are fine.
-4 coconuts (follow instructions to make coconut cream) or 400ml coconut cream
-200ml clear fish stock
-1tspn whole white peppercorns, toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar.
-1 large chunk of ginger, peeled and fine julienned
-50g clarified butter (for cooking the roti)
-1 1/2 tbspn thin soy sauce
(For the roti dough)
-250g, all plain flour, sieved
-1 large egg, beaten
-1 heaped tbspn coriander seeds, toasted and lightly bruised in a pestle and mortar)
– 2 tbspn unsalted butter, soft but not boiling
-1 pinch Maldon sea salt, crushed to fine powder
-1tbspn caster sugar
-200ml, warm water
-olive oil for coating
Method (makes two large roti’s with a little spare dough)
1. Firstly make the roti dough. Dissolve sugar and salt in the water. Add milk, egg and melted butter. Beat the egg lightly. Add all the sieved flour and coriander seeds then Knead for around 10-15 minutes. The dough should be tacky but not sticking to the container or your hand. This dough is quite wet compared to regular bread dough. Once ready, lightly oil a bowl and place the dough upon it (it’s easier to just oil your hands at the stage), this ensures that the dough does not stick to the bowl during the resting process. Lastly cover the dough with cling film, be sure to have the cling film in direct contact with the dough to stop it crusting over, leave to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
2. Next make the sauce, to make you own coconut cream follow my instructions from this previous recipe. Firstly fry the garlic, coriander root and Thai shallots in a little oil until golden brown and fragrant. When ready add the fish stock, half of the coconut cream and half of the ginger, add the white peppercorns, the soy and bring to a gentle simmer. Next place the salmon fillets gently into the simmer (and the sliced smoked salmon if using) for around five minutes, then carefully remove and place to one side. Finish the sauce by adding the rest of the ginger and coconut cream, chives and spring onion. Check seasoning, bare in mind that the smoked salmon adds salt. Bring this back to a simmer, but don’t boil or the coconut cream will split from the stock, a light split is fine.
3. Now for the fun bit, cooking the roti. If you’re feeling lucky then try the traditional method by slapping out the roti dough. Lightly oil a clean surface. Form a small ball by pulling a side of the dough mix and tucking it in the middle. Rotate and repeat the pulling and tucking until the ball is smooth. It should not take more than half a minute per ball. Finally, push the dough from the bottom through the space between your thumb and your index finger. The ball should be smooth and tight and around the size of a golf ball. Tuck the rest in and pinch it together. You’ll have enough spare dough to have a few attempts so don’t worry too much about not getting it right first time.
4. Once you have a portion sized ball place it on the oiled surface. Flatten it into a rough circular shape and then gently lift the closest side to you and drag towards you, lift quickly but delicately and slap back onto the surface (the elasticity and stickiness of the dough means that it doesn’t rip too easily and it stretches bigger as you drag it). Repeat this process until the dough is roughly 2-3mm thick (the thinner the better but don’t make it too hard on yourself to lift into the pan), a few holes are fine. Alternatively you can use a rolling pin. I have watched many chefs attempt this process and none, including myself got it perfect first time, so don’t worry if it all goes a little pear shaped, it will still taste amazing.
5. Meanwhile heat half the clarified butter in a large, flat frying pan to a medium heat (the butter needs to be really hot in order to crisp the dough, but not burned). Delicately lift the dough into the pan, If it sizzles you’re doing it right. Quickly place one of the salmon fillets in the center of the dough and using a holed spoon scoop some of the vegetables out of the sauce and place on top of the salmon (be careful not to put much sauce in the dough as it could make it go soggy). Fold the dough into a rectangle shape and then flip over, adding a little more butter if needed. Fry for roughly three minutes on each side until it is golden brown and crispy on both sides. Repeat this process with the other roti and then serve upon the sauce with a cheek of lemon.
This dough can be used for sweet and savoury roti’s so use it however you like. You can also cook the dough on its own and dip it into curries.
Thanks very much for stopping by at ‘Articuleat’ and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.
See you next time,