Every culture, every society, every country has superstitions. Whether we believe them or not, they play some part in our everyday lives. Some of them are based on religion, some based on folk legends but if you are Indian, there are more than a few superstitions about roti and most of them are about finding a husband or keeping your mother in law happy.
Here are some of the roti superstitions I grew up with…
1.The roti dough always needs to be made by hand and not a mixer – shows your mother in law that you are capable and if you do use an electric mixer, you will always have hard roti, not to mention the embarrassment and shame your mother will have to live with.
2. I used to cut out my roti using an AMC pot lid to save my mother the social embarrassment of having rather odd-shaped roti served at the table. I was told that this would also make the roti hard and biscuity…how??? Is there a scientific reason? Mrs Anne Bramdeo, who is just so dear to me convinced me that I needed to break my pot lid habit and gave me some lessons. The pot lid is now used for the rightful purpose.
3. It is bad luck to take the ‘roti pan’ off the heat while you are cooking them…you should cook off the roti without commercial breaks…in today’s world that means you don’t have time for selfies!
4. The first roti should never be eaten…it is for the birds! I say it is for the Mother in Law! The first roti is much like the first pancake, it never turns out right.
5. ‘Save the last roti’…I always got busted for this. Apparently, the last roti was saved to ‘save the family’ from starving but also in case God visited. Why waste a perfectly good roti? In the shloks or religious verses, it states ‘Treat your guests as God’ and if there was an unexpected guest, they should have at least one roti. I would happily cook up a batch at anytime, a fresh roti is a delicious treat.
6. If the roti puffs up, your mother in law is going to love you…I can safely say that this one is just a con to get women trying harder at roti…mine puff beautifully and I can swear there isn’t a loving mother in law in sight! I have had two, the first was never the loving type but the second….tjo tjo tjo! We all have those stories, don’t we?
7. If you don’t make good roti, you won’t find a husband…I know women who have no desire to make two minute noodles, but have found amazing husbands, women who laugh about their flying saucer style roti, wonky rotis, dry ones and maps of Africa.
I am going to be bold and brave, declaring that none of these superstitions ring true in my case, that is….I make a pretty mean roti, haven’t found lasting love, a loving mother in law or an amazing husband but I am having the time of my life! Roti superstitions were craftily conjured to keep women in the kitchen and trying harder! If you have any roti superstitions, please share them in the comments section…I am sure I missed a few! While you are visiting this blog site, click follow to get the recipes sent to you via email.
The first attempt can always be a bit of a disaster…remember it only gets better each time you try. Every batch becomes less messy and your ‘roti lap time’ improves!
Here is my simple recipe, but before you get started here are 3 tips to remember!
Make sure the boiled water is not recently boiled or left to cool slightly, it needs to be bubbling when poured into the flour.
I use sunflower oil instead of butter, as this keeps the roti softer for longer. Butter gives the roti a more shortcrust like texture.
Work quickly with bringing the dough together, this makes it much easier.
750ml cake flour
5ml fine salt
375ml boiled water…I mean hot hot hot
90ml sunflower oil
Melted butter, to cook roti
Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
Pour the boiled water over the dry ingredients.
Mix the water into the flour.
Add the sunflower oil and knead the dough until smooth.
Roll the dough into a ‘log’ and slice into 12 pieces.
Roll each piece into a length and curl up half .
Curl up the other half in the opposite direction.
Fold one curled section over the other and flatten the dough slightly.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth.
Roll each piece into a round ensuring that the work surface is dusted with flour.
Repeat until all the dough has been rolled out.
Place the roti on a hot pan, when small bubbles appear, flip the roti over.
Drizzle with melted butter, then flip the roti again, drizzle again and then flip the roti.
Brown the roti, and remove from the pan.
Pile the rotis and leave to cool before storing them away.
Store rotis in a cake tin lined with wax paper.
Reheat in a microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.
Flavor the dough with 2,5ml cumin seeds.