Grandma Lee’s Roti Jala

A traditional thin lacy pancake, typically served with curry. It used to be commonly sold at Malay hawker stalls but it less common now. It tends to be made in homes or sold at bazaars during festive celebrations.



  • 200 g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 400 ml milk
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • oil, for greasing


  1. Sift the flour to remove any lumps. Repeat, if necessary.
  2. Mix all the batter ingredients together.
  3. Beat the batter until it is smooth. Strain the batter to remove any lumps. Set the mixture aside to rest for a least 20 min (Place it in the refridgerator if it is left for longer).


  1. Lightly grease a crepe pan or flat pan with oil. Heat over a low-medium flame.
  2. Scoop some batter up using the Roti Jala dispenser or pour some batter in. Hold a small plate or bowl underneath the dispenser to prevent any excess batter from dripping.
  3. Using a circular motion, drizzle the batter onto the pan to form a thin lacy pancake. Again, use a small plate or bowl to prevent any excess batter from dripping onto the pan.
  4. The Roti Jala is cooked once it pulls away from the pan easily (about 3 min). Fold it into quarters then remove. Do not flip it as you would a pancake.
  5. Continue with steps 2–4, stirring the batter each time (as the flour tends to sink to the bottom).
  6. Cover the Roti Jala with cling film or a clean moist tea towel until it is ready to be served.



  • If the batter is too thin, it will spread on the pan and the ‘lacy’ texture will not be achieved. Sprinkle in a little flour to thicken the batter. Strain it again, if necessary.
  • If the batter is too thick, it will not flow through the Roti Jala dispenser smoothly and quickly enough, resulting in discontinuous lines or droplets on the pan. Add a little milk or beaten egg to thin the batter. Strain it again, if necessary.
  • In humid weather, the flour sometimes gets damp (basi). It is best to sun the flour or dry it in the oven at a low temperature. This would not be necessary if you are using a new packet of flour that has been vacuum-sealed.
  • It is crucial to strain the batter since lumps will clog the Roti Jala.

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