Kottu roti with coconut sambal

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Home editor Wicus Pretorius discovered this wonderful dish whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka. If you can’t find rotis or parathas, simply stir your favourite cooked rice through the stir-fried vegetables, egg and chicken.


Preparation time: 35 minutes 

Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 5ml fennel seeds
  • 3ml black mustard seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 15ml masala
  • 10ml turmeric
  • 15ml tamarind paste
  • 3ml salt
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 15ml oil
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 green chilli, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1 leek (just the white part), rinsed and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thin sticks or grated
  • 200g button mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cooked rotis or parathas, rolled and cut into thin strips, then chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • soy sauce and coconut sambal, to serve (see recipe below)

1. Crush all the spices with a mortar and pestle. Remove the skin of the chicken thighs (set aside), debone the chicken and cut the meat into cubes. Mix the chicken with the spice mixture and set aside for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Heat a pan and fry the chicken skin slowly until crispy. The fat from the skin will grease the pan sufficiently for you to fry the chicken in it. Add the chicken cubes, keep the heat moderate and cook until done. Remove the meat from the pan, cool slightly and chop smaller; set aside.

3. Add about 15ml oil to the pan and fry the curry leaves, garlic, ginger and chilli for half a minute. Stir in the leek, carrot and mushrooms and stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables just start to become glossy. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the eggs. Make scrambled eggs (it takes less than a minute), stir in the rotis or parathas and the cooked chicken and mix through. Stir-fry everything together for about 5 minutes until fragrant and serve immediately with soy sauce to taste and the coconut sambal.


• If you’re short on time, instead of rendering the fat out of the skin, buy chicken fillets and then fry them in oil.

• Look for parathas in your supermarket freezer. This thin, flaky Indian flatbread is sometimes sold uncooked and frozen, but it’s easy to thaw the prepared dough and fry in a little oil until golden-brown and puffed up.

If you can’t find a fresh coconut, feel free to use dried coconut. I used a recipe from S is for Sri Lankan by Quadrille Publishing as a starting point and adjusted some of the ingredient quantities. Mix half a finely diced onion, 5ml dried chilli flakes, 10ml fish sauce, 5ml salt and the juice of 1 lime into a paste. Add 1 heaped cup freshly grated coconut and mix through. It’s as easy as that! A sprinkling of fresh coriander might not be traditional, but I love adding it.  

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April 2023

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