Roti Prata!

Roti Prata is one of my favourite meals in Singapore and I can eat it any time of day, breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper. Roti Prata is a flour based bread that is fried on a flat grill. It is flat like a pancake and it can be prepared with a variety of different fillings including such things as egg, cheese, sausage, chilli, floss, pineapple, mushroom, garlic, onion and also sweet ingredients such as chocolate, banana, milo, or sweetened condensed milk.  Of course you can combine several of these ingredients in one prata to make delicious combinations, pineapple cheese is one of my favourites. The filling is usually stuffed inside the prata before it is fried, though there are other variants such as a plaster, where a prata is fried inside a wrapping of egg.

Prata is served with curry which you can either dip your prata in or you can ladle large spoonfuls over your prata, the latter is generally preferred when eating with company. The curry itself comes in different flavours include chicken, fish and a vegetarian option. The combination of a cheese prata coated in delicious curry is something you must experience. The curry is more flavoursome than spicy, but for those who can’t take much spice, you can do as many Singaporean kids do, and sprinkle a nice helping of sugar over your prata making it more like a sweet pancake. In fact roti prata is often referred to as Indian Pancakes and as such you will rarely hear the phrase ‘flat as a pancake in Singapore’ because people will often say ‘flat like roti prata’ instead.

My apologies that the photo below is not of a full meal, but our passion for prata means that we rarely remember to take a photo until we are halfway through our food. The photo shows (from top to bottom) the remains of an egg cheese prata, a plate of mee goreng with chilli sauce, a bowl of delicious curry gravy, two kosongs (plain prata) and half a cheese prata.

Prata can be found all over Singapore, and as always people will have their opinion on which store makes the best prata, though this is greatly affected by whether you prefer your prata crispy and hard like a biscuit or with a softer texture.

Our favourite place to go for Roti Prata is Casuarina Curry (not to be confused with Casuarina Prison in Perth) located at 136 Casuarina Road (Off Upper Thomson). We go to this restaurant on a regular basis, in fact at one point we were going so often, and I was eating so much cheese prata, that one of the staff began referring to me as the ‘Cheese Ambassador’. The staff in this place have amazing memories and depsite never using notepads, they can correctly take an order for a table of ten people, and still recite the order an hour later, if there is any question about the bill. It really is ridiculous how well they remember orders.

No matter how often we go, we never tire of the food here, especially due to the large variety of options available. As well as prata, you can try Murtabak, crispier prata filled with denser fillings such as vegetables or meat; Thosai a soft bread with a pancake like texture that is folded in a triangle around delicious fillings like potato masala. If you’re not in the mood for bread, there is also a variety of fried noodles and fried rice such as Mee Goreng, Maggi Goreng, Bee Hoon Goreng and Nasi Goreng, or you can also have a Briyani set, the vegetarian briyani set is a delicious pile of fresh steamed rice served with several different curries and vegetable dishes.

The photo of the menu below will show just how wide the range is, and also just how happy I am when I go out to eat prata.

The reverse side of the menu is covered with drinks, including everything from soft drinks, tea and coffee, to flavoured Lassi and lime or coconut juice. If you’re feeling adventurous I recommend the Teh Halia, a spicy and sweet ginger tea which will also aid your digestion. Though you also can’t go wrong with a Teh Tarik, a pulled tea, whereby the tea maker pours the tea between two mugs from increasing distances until the tea is frothy and light.

Dessert prata are also quite common, such as those filled with sweetened condensed milk, or banana and caramel, as well as tissue or paper prata which is cooked in a cone or bridge shape and covered with sweet syrups such as the chocolate paper prata I am peering through in the next photo.

If you’d like to see a prata man in action as he stretches out the dough for two plain prata you can check out the Youtube link attached:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5W_5ZVHNpQ

No matter how long or short your stay in Singapore, you should definitely make the time to try this delicious piece of the Singaporean food puzzle.

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