Your Ultimate Guide To What Makes A Good Roti Canai, As Revealed By A Real Expert

It's actually a very tedious process.

  • By: Afiqah
  • Tuesday, 12 September 2017
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Your Ultimate Guide To What Makes A Good Roti Canai, As Revealed By A Real Expert
Image: The Rakyat Post
There is no denying that we, Malaysians, absolutely LOVE our roti canai. It is definitely an all-time favourite! We can eat it all day, every day, y’all!

With that said, roti canai lovers should know about Restoran Sri Melur Jaya. They serve roti canai throughout the day, people! Since its inception in 1995, Restoran Sri Melur Jaya has always been famous for their roti canai

In fact, in 2014, their restaurant in SS19/6, Subang Jaya was recognised as the Best Roti Canai Joint in the Klang Valley, as voted by the public for The Star People’s Food Awards. 
This is their outlet in SS19/6.
Restoran Sri Melur Jaya also has a couple other branches elsewhere -- namely USJ 17 and Setia Alam, Shah Alam -- which serve up satisfactory roti canai too!   

Until today, the quality of their roti canai remains top-notch! One of the contributing factors to the consistent delicious result has to be the quality control they conduct every now and then.

Yep, roti canai is a matter taken very seriously for the people at Sri Melur Jaya! 

We spoke to the person in charge whom we look up to as the expert in this field to know more about what sets a good roti canai apart from the not-so-good ones so that we can all be a self-proclaimed sophisticated roti canai critic too!

However, the roti canai expert prefers to keep a low-profile. Hence, as requested, we’re not disclosing her name or picture. But you can rest be assured that she's a real person and she knows her stuff!

Just for the record, the company, Sri Melur Jaya has their very own factory that produces roti canai dough! That’s how big they are in this field:

You know they’re the real deal when they manufacture the dough themselves!
Here's a little sneak peek inside the factory!

Going behind the scenes.
They also have a range of different types of frozen food such as thosai, roti canai and roti jala for sale!   

For you to 'tapau' home.
It is crucial to ensure the correct preparation of the raw dough. The dough pretty much determines the make or break of the end result (read: the roti canai)!

Taking pride in their products, the expert told Rojak Daily: “We only use good quality raw material to make our dough. There is no compromise." 

Their dough is also free of preservatives. 

She stated that they are not the ones who would cut down on the usage of ingredients just to save cost.

“It wouldn’t taste good,” she pointed out.

We were also informed that only by using high-quality margarine can the tempting aroma of roti canai be attainable. Well, now we know!

Here's another little known fact: the roti canai dough a.k.a canai balls (because of its shape) from their factory are also distributed to other roti canai joints too.

In fact, for only RM23, you can buy yourself a box of the dough as well! But what makes the roti canai at their shop taste better than others? 

The expert gave us a rundown.

The storage of the dough

Canai balls in the box, yo!
The dough needs to be kept at between 0°C to 4°C. The expert stated that the shelf life of the dough, when kept at the right temperature, is up to about seven days. However, it would be best to finish the lot within two days, she said.

With the constant high demand for roti canai at their restaurant, the dough has to always be fresh.

In addition to that, once the dough is taken out from the chiller, it is advisable to not put it back in again. In other words, once it’s out at room temperature, get cooking!

This is to ensure that you will get the best taste it could offer. If you choose to not take heed of this advice, the roti canai will taste slightly different and you have no one to blame but yourself.  

The preparation of the dough

This is how the canai balls look likeThe dough needs to be left in room temperature for a bit after you take it out of the chiller. It requires good judgment from an experienced Roti Master (yes, that’s what they call ‘em!) to determine how long the dough needs to sit before it gets worked on.

The expert explained to us that one of the factors that would affect the timing is the weather. If it’s a hot day, it would take a shorter time. If the weather is cooler, it will take a longer time. Ha! We bet you didn’t know that!

Flying the dough

In order to achieve a positive outcome, the spreading, tossing and folding of the dough require the right technique.

According to the expert, it takes a certain degree of skill to handle the dough, hence that's why they need a Roti Master. 

First, the Roti Master would have to flatten the dough till it looks like this:

Punch it until it's flat!
Then, he would have to spread the dough out only for it to then be folded again:

Spread it like peanut butter jelly.
After that, the dough gets folded again but this time, with air pockets:

Please tell us that we’re not the only ones who have the urge to pop them!
The dough then gets flattened and folded again. The Roti Master would then proceed to toss the dough:

The fine art of tossing roti canai!
Check out how this roti master put his skills on show!
Once the tossing is done, the roti canai dough is all set to sizzle on the griddle! 

Ready for the griddle. “To prepare a good roti canai, the dough needs to be tossed at least 7-10 times,” the expert told us.

The reason behind the repetition is to achieve the light, soft and fluffy finish with just the right amount of crispiness – all the features that make a marvellous roti canai.

She also told us that we should also pay attention to the execution of the technique. It makes all the difference in the world for the roti canai, apparently.

On the hot griddle, it goes!After a few minutes on the griddle, you'll notice that the dough will start to turn a little golden brown. That's a very good indication that your roti canai is almost ready:

Almost there.Oh, here's another fun fact: according to our expert, the remuneration for the person making the roti canai is usually higher than the other employees because tasty roti canai will almost certainly attract more customers!

So, in a way, you can say that the roti canai makers are the breadwinners of the mamak

The real star of the mamak.

The roti itself

So, when the raw dough has been transformed into a roti canai, you must first feast with your eyes. 

You know how after the roti canai has done its time on the griddle, the Roti Master intensely folds it with his two hands? Witness that action and observe how the roti canai comes into form.

Through this step, you’d be able to tell if the roti canai has the desired flakiness to it. Just look for the bits of crusts! 

Before the 'fold'.
 “You can tell if it’s a good roti canai or not just by looking at it,” she told us.

The expert revealed that the key words that we should be looking for are golden and brown. That, according to the expert, is a trait of a gorgeous roti canai!

Besides that, using your hands, you should be able to get the feel of the right texture of the roti canai. It shouldn’t be too thick to ensure its light crispiness.

The roti canai should also fall apart easily when you separate it into pieces, be it by hand or cutlery.

After the ‘fold’
If you’d have to sacrifice all your effort to deconstruct the roti canai into smaller pieces, you will probably have it tough – literally!  

Here's another tip from our friendly expert: if you see the roti canai the waiters are about to serve you is oily, be prepared for a let down. Chances are you'll be chewing on a roti canai that’s as chewy as a rubber band. 

When asked about pale roti canai, the expert said such condition is due to the lack of eggs in the raw dough. Yikes!

The condiments 

The roti canai at Sri Melur is so good; you can even eat it on its own as it has its very own distinctive taste. Children are big fans of consuming it this way, the expert told us. 

Hey there, good looking!Many of us have our preferred dips for roti canai. It’s definitely a personal preference kind of thing. However, it is dhal that we always associate with roti canai

According to the expert, the taste of the dhal is just as important as the taste of the roti canai.

“No matter how good your roti canai is, if the dhal is not good, it still wouldn’t be complete”, she said, adding that a well-made dhal has to be thick in consistency and rich in taste. Watery, tasteless dhal just wouldn’t make the cut.
At Restoran Sri Melur Jaya, dhal, sambal, and fish curry will be presented to you with your roti canai. Which is perfectly fine for us, foodies with broader taste palates to satisfy!

Dhal, sambal, or fish curry?Oh, you can also take a trip down memory lane and have it with sugar like you did when you were little!

Yep, those are the drills! Doesn’t it just make you appreciate the wholesome experience of devouring roti canai even more now, knowing that 110 per cent effort goes into making your favourite Malaysian food? 

If you want to taste Restoran Sri Melur Jaya’s scrumptious roti canai yourself and/or get your hands on their premium dough, you can drop by at any of their outlets: 

Restoran Sri Melur Jaya (M) Sdn Bhd
No. 2&2A, Jalan USJ 17/2, UEP 
47630 Subang Jaya,

Restoran Sri Melur Jaya 
No. 26, Jalan SS19/6,
47500 Subang Jaya,

Restoran Sri Melur Jaya
2-1-1A, Jalan Setia Prima C,
U13/C, Setia Alam,
40170 Shah Alam,

*The operating hours for all their outlets are from 6am to 1am

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