On an easy-lazy weekend morning when you want to minimize your kitchen time and yet have a hearty meal that can keep everyone going for a while, “Roti” brunches are the best option. A Roti in it’s simplest form is a flatbread, made by mixing the flour (whole grain or roots in some cases, experimented with oatmeal in this recipe) with water and salt into a soft but dry dough, rolled into flat sheets and baked on a hot griddle. With a history that goes back into the ancient Mesopotamian age, rotis have travelled time with human civilization across the world taking various forms and flavors. Today flatbreads can be found in some form or the other in most cultures around the world and remains a staple food in many parts of Asia, Middle East, Africa and parts of Americas. With a little change in the process and ingredients, rotis can be transformed into tasty meals for any time. The history , science and culture of rotis is a topic for another article in itself, hopefully will get there sometime.
Keeping up with the tradition of rotis I am exposed to, I want to share a recipe that I experimented recently, “Oatmeal-Banana Rotti”. Rotti is the name for a type of roti typically made out of rice flour in some parts of southern Indian states, especially the state of Karnataka, though there are again several variations across the region. I grew up eating one form, that uses rice flour and bananas to make the basic paste and builds on it by mixing it with additional flour. Though baking of the rotti is no different, the process of mixing the dough brings an entirely different texture and flavor to the rotti. Instead of rice flour, I tried oatmeal and was pleased with the output.
Rolled Oatmeal – 4 Cups or 2 cups of Oatmeal flour
Ripened Banana – 1
Salt to taste
If using the rolled oatmeal and grind it in the food processor to get a fine flour, I used regular breakfast oatmeal.
In a medium flat pan heat 1 cup water for 2 mins. Add chopped bananas into the water and mash them as the water boils. Add half a cup of oatmeal flour, pinch of salt and mix it well. Keep folding the mixture on medium heat so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and mixes well. Do it for 3-4 mins till the banana and flour is lightly cooked.
Once the mixture takes a thick sticky texture, remove the mixture from pan and add it into the remaining flour. Let it cool for a min or so, and start mixing the dry flour into the cooked paste. Sprinkle water and salt if needed, once the wet and dry flours are mixed well, bring the dough onto a flat surface and knead the dough for couple mins to get soft texture.
Split the dough into 6-7 small portions and make dough balls of half a tennis ball size. Now, the dough is ready to be rolled, which can be done the old fashioned way by rolling it on a flour sprinkled flat surface with a roller or the easy and fast way by using a tortilla press. My philosophy in cooking – have your time and use it too – only smartly. kitchen tools are a great way to create interesting recipes and yet make it effortless (or less effort!). So, a big hand to the tortilla press!!
Cut a gallon size ziplock sheet both sides and flatten it, place it on the inside of the tortilla press and lightly grease the surface with oil. Place the dough ball on the edge of the press and press it hard to flatten the dough while you heat the griddle on a stove on medium to medium-high heat for 5 mins.
Evenly cook/grill the rotti on both sides till the surface gets small brown patches. A trick here to cook the rotti well and yet retain sufficient moisture is, to take a sheet of kitchen tissue or a piece of clean cotton towel, dip it into water and keep pressing the surface of the rotti. You can also close the griddle with a lid occasionally, both of these techniques prevents the rotti from being overtly dry.
After about 2-3 mins on each sides (depending on your griddle and heat), take it out of the heat and repeat the process for remaining dough balls. Your healthy breakfast oatmeal is now fully transformed into a mildly banana flavored rotti! Enjoy with some fresh honey and butter. The overall process does not take more than 35-40 mins depending on the number of roti’s made.
This brings us to the end of one of the many forms of roti making. We will explore more forms of roti in this space, stay tuned.