The food in Malaysia has so much influence from the South Indian, that in many instances we cannot clearly tell if a particular dish originated from Malaysia or has it been brought from South India. I do suspect that this dish may have been brought in. I remember coming across similar dish in the BBC's 'Feast of India' documentary.
South Indians from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu have migrated to Malaysia in droves during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. The first wave came to take up position as clerks and supervisors in the administration and construction of public infrastructure like the railways, postal services, power generation and supply, etc., Then at the turn of the century, more came as labourers to work on the rubber estates to meet the demand for the rubber commodity. They brought with them the South Indian food culture that is so prevalent in Malaysia. To name a few, the Roti Canai (Prata), Doosai, and Teh Tarik (aerated Tea) etc.,
The Roti Jala is a lacy pancakes that is best served with dishes with lots of rich gravy. We usually served it with chicken curry (as in the photo). To make the pancake you need a special funnel with four or five spouts. You can improvise by using a sauce dispenser with a spout if you cannot get hold of this funnel.
2 cups (300 g) flour
2 cups (500 ml) fresh milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoon butter
- Sift the flour into a reasonably big bowl. Beat the milk and egg together, and mix with the flour, salt and turmeric powder to form a smooth batter. Strain the batter to remove any lumps. The add the oil, stir and set side.
- Heat a non-stick pan and brush the surface with the butter. Pour a ladleful of the batter into a special funnel and make a quick circular movements over the pan to form a lacy pattern.
- Cook the pancake until it sets, about 1 to 2 minutes, and set aside. Repeat until all the batter is used up.