Learn how to make Malaysian roti jala without the special roti jala dispenser with this easy and fool-proof recipe. Can be made vegan and gluten-free.
My kids love crepes for breakfast on weekend morning and one day it just hit me that I could have made the crepes into net crepes. When the kids saw me made this net crepes, they couldn’t help but to say “oooohhh” and “ahhhhh”. I think I have so much fun making these crepes (as much as eating them). I can tell you that roti jala is more forgiving than making regular French crepes. Even if the crepes tear or doesn’t turn out perfectly lacy, once you roll it up, it’s hard to tell 😉 but, you won’t have problem with making this roti jala because it’s pretty straight forward!
NET PANCAKES / LACY PANCAKES
I remembered when we traveled to Malaysia, about 1 hour by plane from the city we lived at in Indonesia, we had this bread what the local called Roti (bread) Jala (Net). Though it is called roti, but it is actually more of the texture of crepes. The roti is made with crepe batter and dispenses through a special roti jala dispenser that has many holes to create the net or lacy patterns on the pan. Basically it’s a crepe with lacy pattern 🙂
DO I NEED ROTI JALA DISPENSER OR MOULD?
No you don’t. If you have roti jala dispenser, great, use it! But I don’t and I found that using a condiment dispenser like this, works like a charm.
I have made roti jala at least a handful time and never had any problem with it. Some people use a metal can and puncture several holes on the base to mimic roti jala dispenser. That will work too, but it’s more work than just using a condiment dispenser or any squeeze bottles.
HOW TO MAKE ROTI JALA WITHOUT DISPENSER / MOULD
1. PREPARE THE BATTER (WITHOUT USING A BLENDER)
Combine coconut milk and water and mix the dry ingredients: flour, salt, turmeric powder in another large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs
Add 1/3 of coconut milk and water mixture and whisk.
Then add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Continue to alternate and whisk until you run out of the coconut milk and flour mixture. Refer to the recipe card below if you want to use a blender or immersion blender to make the batter.
Strain the batter to another large mixing bowl or a jug or measuring cup with a pouring spout would be helpful later. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
Transfer batter to a condiment dispenser or squeeze bottle or roti jala dispenser if you have one.
2. COOK THE ROTI JALA
Place an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Rub a paper towel oiled with cooking oil over the cooking surface.
Gently squeeze the batter onto the pan, starting from the side of the pan, in sort of an up and down motion.
Then left and right motion to create that net look.
Then diagonally to create that “jala/net” look.
Cook for about 2 minutes over low-medium heat. Do not overcook the crepe. It should not be brown or crispy. There’s no need to flip over to cook the other side.
Use a rubber spatula to remove the net crepe onto a plate. Cover the crepe with aluminum foil to keep them warm while you cook the rest of the crepes.
3. FOLD THE ROTI JALA
Fold both sides in.
Roll from the side near you all the way up. Repeat with the rest.
It’s not as complicated as it seems, does it?
IMPORTANT TIPS TO MAKE REALLY GOOD ROTI JALA
1. REST THE BATTER
Most recipe does not require that you rest the batter for roti jala, but like making a good French crepe, I prefer to let it rest for at least 20 minutes or longer if you use blender or immersion blender to blend the batter. It allows the gluten to relax after all those blending or mixing. If you are making a gluten-free roti jala, you don’t need to rest the batter, there’s no gluten in it.
2. COOK OVER LOW TO MEDIUM HEAT
Keep the heat somewhere between low to medium, you’ll have to experiment a bit at first. The goal is to have a soft crepe that doesn’t brown to make a roti jala. If the crepe browns or get to the point of crispy, it will break when you fold it later.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MAKING ROTI JALA
CAN I MAKE GLUTEN-FREE ROTI JALA?
You can use store-bought gluten-free all-purpose flour to replace the regular all-purpose flour used in this recipe.
CAN I MAKE VEGAN ROTI JALA?
Yes you can. Simply omit the eggs and reduce the amount of liquid to: 125 ml of coconut milk (or any nut milk of your choice) and 150 ml of water.
CAN I USE LEFTOVER YOGURT WHEY TO MAKE ROTI JALA?
Yes, you can. I have made it with this recipe by using yogurt whey (leftover from making Easy Thick Creamy Instant Pot Greek Yogurt (from yogurt or whey)) without any coconut milk or water and it turned out great. Please note that there’s some sourness to it if you don’t mind it. You can always mix half and half with water. But this is one of a great way to use up that acid whey from making Greek yogurt 😉
THE ROTI JALA KEEPS BREAKING
It’s most likely that the roti jala is undercooked. When you try to lift them off the pan, they break. Make sure you cook them for about 1-2 minutes over low-medium heat, but do not let them brown. Another reason it could be that the lacy pattern that you create is too thin and so it breaks when you lift them up from the pan.
THE ROTI JALA TASTES RUBBERY
Allowing the batter to rest for about 20 minutes will help to eliminate this issue, not applicable to gluten-free roti jala. When the batter is undercooked, the roti jala will have a rubbery texture too.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH ROTI JALA?
Roti jala is usually served with curry. I served mine with this Indonesian Kari Ayam and my mom, who’s picky about her curry, loves it!
You can serve it with whatever you want really. I’ve served it a Western twist by using ricotta and smoked salmon (super yum). You can make it sweet by using maple syrup.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT LEFTOVER ROTI JALA
IN THE FRIDGE: Cover roti jala with a cling wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days max for best result. I won’t recommend any longer if possible.
IN THE FREEZER: You can make ahead and place the folded roti jala on a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper, not touching each other and freeze for one hour and then transfer to a freezer bag to save some space. They won’t be stuck to each other anymore that way. Thaw them in the fridge before serving and proceed to reheat.
REHEAT: Simply reheat in a microwave for 10-15 seconds or if you have a steamer, simply reheat over high heat for 1 minute or so.
DID YOU MAKE THIS MALAYSIAN ROTI JALA (NET CREPES) RECIPE?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
How To Make Malaysian Roti Jala (Net Crepes) - without special dispenser
Prepare the batter (without using blender):
- Combine the coconut milk and water and stir to mix. Place the flour, turmeric powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to mix. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, add 1/3 of coconut milk and water mixture and whisk, then add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Continue to alternate and whisk until you run out of the coconut milk and flour mixture. Strain the batter to another large mixing bowl or measuring cups with a pouring spout will help to make the job easier later. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes. You can skip the resting if you use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Prepare the blender (with a blender or immersion blender):
- You can put everything into a blender (except for cooking oil) and blend until you get a smooth batter or you can put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. I recommend allowing the batter to rest for at least 20 minutes or 1 hour if possible if you use blender or immersion blender. You can skip the resting if you use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Transfer the batter to a condiment dispenser:
- Pour the batter to a large measuring cup if you have one. It will make your life easier. Then transfer the batter to a condiment dispenser (as shown in photo above). It makes the job easier
- Place an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Rub a paper towel oiled with cooking oil over the cooking surface
- Gently squeeze the batter onto the pan, starting from the side of the pan, in sort of an up and down motion and then move to the top of the pan and left and right motion to create that net look. Cook for about 2 minutes over low-medium heat. Do not overcook the crepe. It should not be brown or crispy. There's no need to flip over to cook the other side. Use a rubber spatula to remove the net crepe onto a plate. Cover the crepe with aluminum foil to keep them warm while you cook the rest of the crepes
Fold the roti jala:
- Fold both sides in and then roll from the side near you all the way up. Repeat with the rest
- Serve roti jala with any curry you like. I serve them with chicken curry. So yum!