Thursday, 17 March 2011

J is for... Jolada roti

Jolada, also (conveniently for J night) known as jowar, roti looked easy enough to make. It's a simple enough recipe with only three ingredients - jowar flour (jolad hittu), water and salt. I watched a video on YouTube where the roti was bashed flat by hand. Naively, I thought it looked quite easy. And fun. I looked at other videos of roti-making where people rolled their's out with a rolling pin. A rolling pin? Pfff. "I don't need a rolling pin," I thought, "I have two hands and want to swirl the dough around a board banging and patting it as I go, like the woman on YouTube did. If she can do, so can I. It can't be that hard, right?"

Wrong. My dough kept breaking up and falling to bits and every time I swirled it round on the board, I managed to turn it exactly 360° so I bashed the same side every time. I decided to turn it a little before swirling, hoping my exceptional accuracy for turning the dough 360° would continue. It didn't. Wherever I started the swirl from, I still managed to bash the same spot again and again, which left me with a big fat ball with a thin, flat tail. I tried not swirling it, just bashing it, and it looked pretty good. Until I realised it was completely stuck to the board. I opened the drawer and looked fondly at my two beautiful non-stick rolling pins, before looking back at my sad messy pile of dough. I closed the drawer and nodded my head with authority at my dough - "We've come this far without a pin. We can't give up now". 

After much swirling and bashing and with as much flour on my face and in my hair as on the board, I did it! I managed to make a  pretty good looking roti. It took ages, but I did it. And then I burned it. Badly. It turns out they take almost no time at all to cook and really do need constant watching. Great. Maybe I shouldn't have had that second Journalist. By this time, I was bored of the swirling and bashing and made podgy little jolada rotis which didn't look as authentic as I'd have liked, but tasted quite good regardless. 

Next time, I'm getting the rolling pin out...

Jolada roti

5 oz/ 125 g jowar flour (jolad hittu)
375 ml water

Heat the water and salt together in a saucepan. When it starts to boil, add the flour and mix continuously until the water has absorbed. Take the pan off the heat and spoon the hot dough out on a board. Knead the dough until it forms a large smooth ball. break the ball into pieces about the size of a golf ball and roll the ball between your hands. You can try the swirling and bashing method seen in the video or you can roll out into a flat circle on a well floured surface. Place the roti in a preheated non-stick frying pan. While the underside of the roti is cooking, spread the top with a little water after about 30 seconds to a minute turn the roti over. It will puff up but keep pushing the top down with a spatula and shaking the pan to ensure the bottom doesn't stick. It is done when both sides are mottled with brown spots.

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