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roti canai

Roti Canai

Buttery, flaky fry bread dipped in a hot and creamy curry dipping sauce — what’s not to love? Roti canai was a treat my dad sometimes picked up on his way home from shopping around Elmhurst, Queens. There was a particular Malaysian food cart he would frequent, and I’d  light up with fat ass joy when he opened the curry cup lid. The smells are unforgettable. Once you tear a piece of roti and dunk it, ever so lovingly, into luscious hot curry, you will melt.

I’ve never visited Malaysia, but I can experience a taste of their culture, thanks to a street food cart in Queens. That’s the amazing thing about this borough. If you walk just two blocks away from that vendor in either direction, you can bite into an entirely different cuisine. Sure you can hop on that culture jump throughout NYC, but the experience is so much deeper and denser in this borough. John Wang, founder of Queens Night Market, even reminded us that “Queens is the world’s borough.” When I first read about his mission to bring an international night market to my hometown, I knew I had to meet him and learn more! This Queens gal’s gotta rep anytime she can!

We were pumped to have him cook with me in our little kitchen. He’s an awesome dude with a passion to help Queens finally get it’s turn in the foodie spotlight. That’s right, move OVA Brooklyn!

Learn more about Queens Night Market, donate, and spread the word!!


Roti Canai
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • Roti:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (extra for dusting)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • vegetable oil
  • Curry Dipping Sauce:
  • 4-5 tablespoon curry paste (panang and massaman are my favorites)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • salt to taste
  1. For the dough: Combine the flour and salt, and slowly incorporate the water a few tablespoons at a time, while mixing with your hands. Once a mass of dough is formed, begin kneading it on a flat surface for about 8-10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle in a little flour, until the dough feel smooth. Roll the dough into a log and pinch off palm-sized dough balls. Place them in a bowl and submerge them in vegetable oil. Let them rest for a few hours or overnight. This will relax the gluten and allow you to stretch it easily.
  2. While the dough is resting, make the curry dipping sauce. In a pot, heat the ghee and saute the shallot and garlic, until translucent. Stir in the curry paste and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, stir until well combined, and season with salt to taste. Set aside and work on the roti.
  3. On a well oiled surface (you may use vegetable oil or ghee) press and stretch each dough ball until you form a wide, paper thin disks or rectangles. Fold each edge toward the middle and pan fry in a little ghee for a few minutes. They are ready to flip when golden brown and bubbly.
  4. Fluff each roti by quickly pressing the edges towards to middle, and serve with a small bowl of hot curry sauce.