I’d been revisiting some of the old recipes I’d blogged about before recently. Sometimes, its because some friends had shared with me a “discovery” or “revelation” about a dish which I knew which prompted me to relook at it. Otherwise, it is simply because I have a craving for it. Roti Jala is one of those things which you’d miss eating once in a while. I turned an ayam peksak (poached chicken) from my mum’s semayang see kee (death anniversary prayers) into a pot of kari ayam, the best excuse to make some roti jala to go along.
Kari Ayam is a familiar favorite to most of us here at home. Different communities have their own versions, be it the Malays, Indians, Peranakans, Eurasians or the Chinese. Even within each ethnic group, one could easily find a plethora of variations to the which this dish is being prepared, differing by the concoction of spices or other ingredients used, and sometimes even with the process which the curry is being cooked. I remember reading someone exclaim that the number of ways we know of today to cook curry is as plentiful as the stars in the sky. Well, that is a lovely literary exaggeration if you ask me, but that said the piquant flavours which this dish is beautifully imbued with is by no means any less stellar.
Roti Jala is much of an icon in Malay and Straits cuisine. Though it is said to have originated from Johor, its popularity stretches northwards to practically all states along the Peninsula. While they are largely found at Indian Muslim foodstalls in most place, there are extremely popular amongst the local Malay community in Penang. “Roti” means bread in Malay as well as the Indian languages, while “Jala” means “fishing net”, these fishnet crepes are otherwise also known as “Roti Renda” which some have translated to become “lacy pancakes”.