Roti Jala (Net Crepes)

Roti Jala (Net Crepes)

The literal translation of roti jala is “net bread” in Malay. Since they do not look anything like bread (well, at least the ones that we’re all accustomed to), calling them “net crepes” is more appropriate. One might ask why go through all the trouble of making the crepes lacy? I used to have the same thought so I have made the conventional crepes instead. And the result was not awful but not great. Somehow having a solid piece of crepe with coconut and turmeric flavouring  can be overpowering, so I deduce by making the crepes lacy will actually ease their richness in flavour.

Net Crepes

Sometimes I think roti jalas are only meant for Malaysian Chicken Curry. How could I possibly have this curry without these  delicious crepes?  Maybe I have exaggerated a little but I do believe curry and crepes belong to each other. Not only the latter look seductive on a plate, they are addictive when used to mop up curry sauce.  You can say that it is my acquired taste from childhood but I think one should give this recipe a go before discounting it to a lookbook.

{Need to strain the roti jala batter through a sieve to remove the lumpy bits from blocking the tunnels of roti jala mould. See how tiny the tunnels are?}

Roti Jala Cup

{Roti Jala Mould/Cup}

Roti Jala (Net Crepes)

(adapted from malaysianfood.net)

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups coconut milk

1 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

cooking oil to grease pan

Method:

1. Whisk coconut milk, eggs, water, salt and turmeric powder.

2. Sift all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl.

3. Stir in coconut-egg mixture gradually and mix until a thin “crepe-like batter” is achieved.

4. Strain the batter through a fine sieve.

5. On med-low heat, grease and heat a griddle or a medium sized non-stick pan.

6. Put a ladleful of better into a roti jala mould/cup and in a circular motion, form a thin lacy pattern in the pan [about 8 inch in diameter].

7. Cook until set, turn over onto a plate. [There is no need to cook the other side].

8. Fold each crepe into quarters, staking them up as you go.

9. As you make the crepes, grease the pan. [Add a little water to the batter if it becomes too thick]

(Emily’s note: If you don’t have coconut milk on hand, you can substitute 2 cups of coconut milk and 1 cup of water to 3 cups of milk. When I made these (photos above), I’ve used milk instead. Also, rather to grease the pan every so often, I’ve added about 3 tbsp of vegetable oil. I have only greased the pan before the first crepe and subsequently the oil in the batter did the job for me.)

So, what if you don’t have a roti jala mould?

Here are some ideas to create a lacy crepe without the gadget:-

DIY roti jala mould/cup (adapted from malaysianfood.net)

1 empty tin can [i.e a 12oz can]

Using a hammer and 0.2 inch nail, make 5 or 6 holes. Make sure the holes are evenly spaced on the bottom of  the can.

Hammer out any sharp edges.

(Emily’s note: If you aren’t good in hammering work like me and you are likely to end up with a few holes on your fingers instead on the tin can, then the next method is for you. :))

RECYCLE your old ketchup dispenser (fuss free cooking method)

1 cleaned and empty ketchup dispenser

When you are on step 4 (refer to the methods above), run the batter through a fine sieve into a measuring cup. The pour the sieved batter from the measuring cup into the ketchup dispenser. For this purpose, you will need a medium to large sized measuring cup.

Net Crepes{For me this is a pretty fun process, just like a creating an abstract art on a pan. :D  With the ketcup dispenser fully loaded with batter, first draw a circle then scribble figure eight patterns to create the lace in the circle. Make sure the patterns are not too close together. Then flip the crepe to cook on both side as this method will create a thicker laced crepes as compared to the mould. I would suggest that you first start on low heat so that the whole crepe will cook evenly as you scribble the patterns. As you become more confident, you can increase the heat as you wish.}

Meatless Recipes, Other. permalink.



15 thoughts on “Roti Jala (Net Crepes)

  1. At first I thought that it was just sliced cheese with holes! I think that even regular crepes would be good with those kinds of designs.

      • Yes very well explained.thanks they do look great.but wheni first tried i forgot eggs,and to strain the batter,it all squirted out of the tomatoe sauce mould.so strainins through sieve is very important.

  2. Hi Emily,

    I live in Cape Town, SA, and I was wondering if you know of any place that would sell the Jala mould. I’ve been hunting high and low and am determined to get my hands on one, lol! I’m soooo looking forward to making these net crepes and I know you mentioned alternatives to the mould but would still like to have the real thing, hehehe…

    Look forward to hearing from you!
    Thx

  3. Hi Juanita,

    Sorry to tell you this but I haven’t been able find it in any stores that I know around Sydney. I got mine from my mum when I went back to Malaysia. Just for you, I tried to look up online store / ebay and guess what, I found a Malaysian Ebay store which sells the mould and actually does shipping to Oz.

    I’m not sure how comfortable are you with shopping online and just so you know, I haven’t bought anything from this store before.

    Hope this helps! :)

  4. Hi Emily,
    Your roti jala receipt looks good, but since I am vegetarian and I can’t use eggs, can I not use the eggs, will it makes any different in taste or in frying it. Thanks

    • Hi Nithia,
      I haven’t tried without eggs but I don’t think it will greatly affect the taste. I have a feeling being eggless may affect the texture a little, making the roti jala less moist perhaps?

  5. Hi – I tried these with Atta flour (sifted) but it didn’t work too well. Don’t like using refined flour, so is there any way I could do it with atta if I used less flour?

    Many thanks

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