With a crispy, crunchy exterior and a stretchy, chewy interior, these Malaysian flatbread (roti canai) are easier to make than they look. Served alongside a delicious curried lentil dip, this taste combination is ridiculously good!


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

30 mins
1 hr 35 mins
8 hrs 10 mins
9 hrs 75 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Roti Canai:
Curried Lentil Dip:


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine bread flour, sugar, kosher salt, egg, melted butter, and water for roti canai in a mixing bowl. Mix with your hands until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a work surface and knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 7 minutes.

  • Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and form each one into a ball. Coat each ball with vegetable oil, transfer to a plate, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 hours, to overnight.

  • Melt butter for dip in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic, kosher salt, curry powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper; stir together and saute until onion has softened and spices are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it starts to toast and caramelize on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.

  • Stir in cold water and coconut milk. Add lentils; stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Reduce heat to low and keep warm while you prepare the roti canai.

  • Place 1/4 cup melted butter in a bowl. Transfer rested dough balls onto a lightly oiled work surface. Flatten each ball slightly and rub a little melted butter on top. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it warm up slightly, about 10 minutes.

  • Press on top of the plastic wrap to flatten warmed dough. Remove plastic wrap and add a bit more butter. Stretch each piece from the center out to get it as thin as possible (until almost see-through), adding more butter as needed. Don't worry if there are a few small tears.

  • Sprinkle on more melted butter, then pull two sides in towards the center until touching and overlapping slightly. Pull the other two edges in the same way to form a square. Cover with plastic wrap and flatten roti canai one more time.

  • Add some melted butter to a skillet set over medium or medium-low heat. Add roti canai and cook until browned, flaky, and crispy on the outside and fully cooked through on the inside, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

  • Remove from the skillet and smush it with your hands to fluff it up and separate the layers of dough. Repeat to cook remaining roti canai.

  • Sprinkle the curried red lentil dip with cilantro and sliced serrano peppers and serve alongside the roti canai.

Chef's Notes:

You can use 1 teaspoon fine salt in place of 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt for the roti canai. You can use any lentils in place of red lentils.

Nutrition Facts

565 calories; protein 16.2g; carbohydrates 67g; fat 26.8g; cholesterol 57.6mg; sodium 810.6mg. Full Nutrition

Reviews (1)

Rating: 5 stars
I recently made Guyanese roti for first time & can't wait to try this out. This Malaysian version is similar but results in a crisper "crust" - looks really appealing. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Outrageously good. Not as coconutty as I thought it would be which is perfect for me. Will be making this plenty more times. I only made the curried lentil dip and for the flatbread I just bought some great store bought bengali porota which is an amazing substitute for making the canai. Read More