Monday, 2 August 2010

Roti John

Legend has it that the Roti John was created by a stall in my home country. Consisting of a baguette topped with egg and minced mutton before the entire assembly is cooked on a skillet and served with ketchup, the name came about from concatenating the Malay name for bread and a humourous reference to the Western origins of some of its ingredients.

Given its European influences and the Brits' penchant for sandwiches, a few people I know have toyed with the idea of starting a chain of shops selling Roti John, believing that it would be a hit with homesick students from Southeast Asia and hungry City workers alike. I too have thought of featuring this on my blog for some time, but it was only when I found the Sainsbury's Basics Part Baked Baguettes that I decided that this has to be done as soon as I can.

Basics products do come with their own set of drawbacks however, and this one is no exception. Notice that the baguettes were made using broad bean flour. The label also warns that the product is made in a factory that is exposed to more varieties of gluten than the regular ones, and so, would affect those who suffer from allergies from those varieties. Still, at 39p for a pair of baguettes that can keep for about 7 weeks, this isn't a bad addition to have in your cupboard, and can be a nice alternative to regular sliced bread if you can afford the 10 minutes it takes to bake it. Bear in mind that each baguette is big enough to serve just one.

While searching for a recipe, I've managed to stumble across a blog maintained by somebody who used to be under similar circumstances to my own. Like me, she suffers from occasional bouts of homesickness and turns to culinary and personal blogging as an outlet. She has since left London for home, but to my luck, while she was based here, she posted her own recipe for Roti John. Given our similarities, I feel obliged to feature the recipe in today's post.

Prepare some onion, garlic, and Basics mince. Chop the latter into fine pieces, if possible.

Fry the mince until very well-done. 

Meanwhile, beat 2 eggs until very frothy. Add the onion and garlic, and once it has cooled down, the mince. 

Split the baguette in half and then in sections that can fit into the frying pan if necessary, and top each section with the beef and egg mixture. Place each section beef side down on the frying pan, adding oil before placing the baguette section if necessary, and using a spatula to scrape it off the pan when done. You can fry any excess beef, egg and onion mixture for use as filling for murtabak or other sandwiches. 

The finished Roti John should look like below:

Today's lunch was hearty, despite the baguette breaking down upon slicing. On hindsight, I would probably should have cut the baguette starting from very tip of the stick, rather than from the start of its side. Still an enjoyable meal however, and probably one of the more useful recipes in the blog, being cheap and easy to make and offering stranded university students some reminder of home.

Price per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Part Baked Baguettes£0.392+£0.51No use of broad bean flour, fewer possible allergens

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