Friday, July 30, 2010

The Roti Experiment

If you follow me on twitter, you'll know that a while ago a tried making roti without success. (Roti is a kind of flat bread eaten with many Pakistani dishes.) The dough was basically sticking to everything--the bowl, the rolling pin, the counter, and me!--and the only fruits of my labor were three little pieces of roti that made it to the frying pan. My husband likened them to the San Juan Islands (a local vacation destination--three small islands) making fun of their pitiful size and distorted shape. But he said they tasted good--although, how hard is it to mess up the "taste" of something which is only flour and water?

So while I've been hoping that my visiting mother-in-law will teach me many of her extremely delicious recipes (I haven't tried one dish yet that I didn't like), I'm especially hoping that she will teach me to make roti. My husband has mentioned a few times that he'd really like for me to make roti (even though I can't make the accompanying dishes--he can make some of them) and it would make him extremely happy for me to have fresh roti when he comes home from work. (I guess I can take the not-so-subtle hint.)

So after being a little too late to the kitchen for a few days when roti was being made, I recently made a point to observe when the opportunity arose. And she showed me how she rolled the dough into a ball, floured it some more, rolled it flat and then patted it around to make it get big, then dropped it in the pan. I tried once with the patting it and it didn't get exactly round--sort of like a rounded oblong triangle...

But this evening when some food was left over late at night, but very little roti, I thought I'd try it again myself--in secret, so I didn't embarrass myself. I took small pieces of dough from the fridge (my mother-in-law had already made this, and I didn't want to use it all up, or try making it myself either) and made miniature dough balls. I rolled them in the flour, rolled them flat, and tried patting them too (although, they were really too small for this to have much effect.) Then dropped them onto the pan and cooked them. And although they weren't the best--not as big, soft, and stretchy as my mother-in-law's--they looked sort of decent, though small. And so when my husband came to the kitchen I proudly showed him my 2 little round mini rotis, thinking he'd be happy, praise me, and then eat them with the gravy on the stove. But no.

Right away he took the basket straight to the bedroom where my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were, and showed it to them. He was happy--and so were they--and explained that I was too shy to try making it while they were around. Actually, I was too embarrassed and his showing off didn't help any! Then they tried and confirmed that it tasted just right (again--is it even possible to mess up the taste?) even though it was small, and my mother-in-law told me that she learned this way too--by starting with small ones and working up until they're larger.

So it was supposed to be secret roti--just for me and my husband. But instead everyone knows--so I guess it's a good thing the experiment wasn't a total failure!


Umm Aaminah said...

A'salaamu alaikum sis. My first try at making roti was assembly-line style in Nagpur, India with all the DILs of the house watching and offering non-English advice. Masha'Allah. :-) They were so sweet and praised my misshapen roti and presented them to my husband at dinner saying "Your wife made them".

Made me look like I shoulda been on the short bus. LOL

jana z. said...

loool, oh amy i was laughing at your hiding in the kitchen trying to make roti in secret. inshallah youll have it so down pat after a while, your learning days will be all but forgotten.

and double lol at umm aaminah and the short bus...looool