Roti jala (net bread)
I know that there are a few pancake recipes on this blog, but this one is kind of special. These strange looking net pancakes are called roti jala. Roti jala (net bread) are a Malay savory snack that is usually served at tea time. And they are so cute and delicious.
They might give you the impression that they are difficult to make, but I have to say that it’s quite the opposite. There is only one trick, you need a special kind of bottle, and you can make it yourself! I understand that some stores have them, but I couldn’t find a bottle with three holes on the cap. If you look at the advice section, I explained how I made such a bottle. It was really easy, and you can do it too.
You might notice that my net bread is not perfectly shaped, the strings should be a bit thinner. These pictures are from my first attempt ever, but I still liked them enough to post them here.
Now, I always say that there are no health benefits to be had from eating pancakes. But if you look at the ingredient list, you might notice a very popular spice that is responsible for the color of these net pancakes. You might have heard that it is really healthy, and I decided to write down why it is so.
Some health benefits
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin can suppress many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation, and it neutralizes free radicals on its own but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
It boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain. Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium, and leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.
This substance can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease. Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
These are some pretty good reasons to incorporate this spice into your meals. I use it any chance I get, sometimes even as food coloring (see the lemon blueberry cake post). You can put it in almost any savory dish (rice, pasta, curry, noodles), but in case you need some ideas, there are a ton of recipes out there.
A piece of advice
The first thing you need to know is how to make the bottle, in case you can’t buy one. Make sure you find a soft squeezable bottle with a cap. All you need to do is pierce 3 holes on the cap, in a triangle shape (two next to one another and one in the middle above them). I punched these holes with a nail that I heated with a lighter, it was pretty easy.
Make sure that your non-stick pan is well heated (medium heat). Pour the roti jala dough into the bottle and seal with the cap. Squeeze the mixture in the pan in circles anti-clockwise until you get a thin net (connect in the middle and ends). Don’t beat yourself up if the shape is not perfect right away. For some people (including me) it takes time to get it right. I am still improving as well.
Remove the net from the pan gently with a fork or your fingers (be careful not to burn yourself) after 2 minutes. Lay it on a plate and fold 2 sides inward, then continue to roll it down the middle. And that’s it! Your net bread is done and ready for serving (with some curry sauce).
I don’t know if you can achieve a similar effect with piercing a corner of a zip lock bag, I never tried that, but it would probably be somewhat difficult to get the three holes where you want them. It is not something I would advise, but if that’s something you want to do, let me know how it went.
80 g of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
a pinch of salt
6 tbsp of aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
115 ml of coconut milk
115 ml of water
Mix all ingredients except curry sauce in a deep bowl. Mix well and pour in a squeezable bottle with a cap with 3 holes (you can make it yourself, just punch 3 holes in a triangle shape on the bottle cap).
Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat. Squeeze the mixture in circles anti-clockwise until you get a thin net (connect in the middle and ends). Cook the roti jala for about 2 minutes, remove and roll into a small pancake (fold the sides and roll it down the middle).
Serve them with curry sauce.
If you liked this recipe, make sure you check out my other recipes like:
Feel free to tell me what you think about this in the comments below, or send me the pictures of your own roti jala (net bread). If you did something differently, I would also like to hear that, I’d love to see the things you come up with.
P.S. for more recipes like this and a bunch of other stuff, follow me on instagram, @margo_drobi.
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