Thai-Style Roti Bread - A Street Vendor Favorite

Roti is a wheat flour pan-fried bread with Muslim origins. In Thailand, roti bread is similar to India's flat bread maida paratha and Malaysia's roti canai. It is most popularly served as a snack topped with sweetened condensed milk, white sugar and banana or even chocolate. In the South it is also served alongside curry, especially for breakfast. It is difficult to get the technique down, but the main objective is to get the dough as thin as possible. Watch a Thai street vendor expertly prepare a plain roti in this video.


  • 1 lb. unbleached white flour (3 1/4 cups)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil (safflower, palm or peanut) or ghee
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Sweetened condensed milk and sugar to serve (optional)


  1. Sift flour into a bowl. Mix in sugar and salt. Form a well in the center and stir in beaten egg and milk. Add water, stir to mix.
  2. Turn out onto a table and knead until elastic, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
  3. Roll the dough into a long log shape. Divide into 16 portions (a kitchen scale is useful) and shape into small balls. Brush each with oil, return to the bowl (stacking is ok) and cover. Rest for another 30 minutes (or longer).
  4. Take one portion, spread a little oil on top with fingertips and flatten with your hands or a rolling pin.
  5. Pick up the flattened dough by the edge closest so that your left hand is holding it with the thumb under the dough and the fingers on top and with your right hand hold it with the thumb on top and the side of the index finger underneath. Rotate and stretch the dough in a forward, circular, clockwise motion, slapping the far end on the table. Continue to rotate several times, until it becomes almost see-through. Then lift the dough at one point with two fingers in such a way that it drapes down like a piece of cloth and using a circular motion, spin the dough loosely into a snail-like round. Set aside on a greased surface.
  6. Heat a griddle pan well covered in oil over high heat. Flatten the dough snail again into a approximately 5-inch round. Fry, lowering the heat to medium. Turn to brown both sides, brushing with butter.
  7. Remove from the griddle and serve hot with curry or drizzle with sweetened condensed milk and sugar. Serve the sweet roti rolled up in greaseproof paper and if desired beat lightly in the paper with a rolling pin to flake the bread before serving.

Serves 4.

Dough for Roti


Dough for Roti

Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.

Dividing the Dough


Dividing the Dough

Divide the dough into equal portions (a kitchen scale is helpful).

Form dough snails.


Dough Snails

Pat the dough flat and then form into dough snails and rest.

Roti on the hot plate


Grill the Roti

Grill the Roti on both sides until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Kasma Loha-unchit. Recipe and images © 2010

Roti Vendor Video  

Here's how a street vendor in Thailand would prepare a roti. You will probably not be able to replicate her technique of flipping and stretching the dough as this takes a lot of practice. However, if you follow the method above and make 'dough snails' you should produce tasty results.

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