Nothing beats rotti and sambol

Last week I took a friend’s homemade sourdough bread, olive oil and caramalised balsamic to my parent’s home.

I chopped up the bread and poured a little oil and caramalised balsamic into a dish while ammah looked on curiously.

I showed her how to dip the bread and eat it and said –  ‘this is what white people serve before a main meal’. She tasted it and seemed quite perplexed and amused at the same time. As she didn’t look like she was going to have another piece – I said – ‘aren’t you going to have any more?’. Her reply was hilarious.

I have tried to write down what she said – but I can’t quite work out how to say it without it being lost in translation.  Her response included mentioning cows and goats. In summary – she wasn’t impressed and ended her reply with – “nothing beats a rotti and sambol”. I had to agree.

Here is the recipe for rotti and sambol which we made for dinner today.


2 cups plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbl butter
1 cup water
1 tsp oil (olive or vegetable)


1. Add the flour, self raising flour, salt and oil into a bowl and stir through.
2. slowly add the water until the mixture is rolled into a ball.
3. Leave aside for 30min-1 hour.
4. Break up the mixture into 3 equal balls – or as small or big as you want it.
5. Flatten 1 ball with the palm of your hands and then use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat circle.
6. Put the rotti on a flat fry pan set to medium heat.
7. Put some butter on the exposed side of the rotti.
8. Cook for 30 seconds and then turn it over.
7. Put butter on the newly exposed side and cook for 30 seconds.
8. Keep repeating this till cooked. It should take less than 5 minutes.
9. Use the back of a wooden or plastic spoon to press the rotti down intermittently while it is frying. There should be a few dark spots (see photo) when the rotti is done.
Note – you can keep the rotti mixture for about 5-6 hours.


1/2 cup desiccated packet coconut
1/4 of a medium sized lemon
1/4 of a small onion
12 dried chillies (vary this depending on hot you want your symbol)
15 curry leaves
1/2 spoon salt
The non veg variety would have maldive fish flakes (see previous Omlette post)

1. Sprinkle 2 tbl water on the coconut and put in the microwave for 1 min.
2. Put all ingredients minus the lemon in a grinder and grind.
3. Remove from grinder and place in a serving dish.
4. Squeeze the lemon and mix it through the sambol.
5. Serve the rotti and sambol with a banana or with curry.

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