Bitter Melon Roti
25 Min

Bitter Melon Roti

My sister in law Gita, an amazing and creative cook, made these rotis for me one morning. I could not believe how good bitter melon peel, which essentially was waste in the past, tasted in the roti. An important technique for making a roti dough is in the pressing action of the palm while forming the dough to make it as smooth as possible without over working it. A soft roti dough makes for a moist, satisfying roti.
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Cook Time

25 Minutes



Step 1
Combine roti flour, sesame seeds, ajwain, salt, pepper, and grated bitter melon peel. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Add 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and water. Feel for the dough consistency. If dough is still dry, slowly add additional water in small increments. If the dough becomes too wet add a bit more roti flour. Mix by pressing the dough continuously with the palm of your hand* ensuring to incorporate all dough and liquid that is on the sides of the bowl. When a large ball of soft dough forms let the roti rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
Step 2
Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a medium ball with your palms, pat gently to make a flat ball, flour on both sides and set aside. Repeat for each additional roti. 
Step 3
Flour the working surface and rolling pin. Using even pressure, roll the dough into a 6-inch  diameter disk. On a dry (with no oil) flat top or cast iron skillet, cook the roti for roughly 2 to 3 minutes (until brown cooking spots form) and flip. Repeat for each. At this point, you may stack the rotis with parchment paper in-between each and freeze or set aside for serving later. 
Step 4
When ready to serve, turn your gas stove burner to high heat. Place the roti right on the burner and fire for 10 to 20 seconds until charred. Rub olive oil (or ghee) on one side and squish with your hand a couple of times. This softens the roti. Serve immediately.
1 to 2 cups bitter melon peel, grated
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups (250g) roti flour + extra to flour working surface
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ajwain
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup water (may vary)

Notes & Variations

  • Use beet or carrot as part of the base instead of the bitter melon.
  • Replace ajwain with coriander or fenugreek leaves.
  • If you do not have a gas stove, use a cast iron skillet for the last step.
  • Rub olive oil on your palms if the dough is sticking to your hands.
  • Grate the outside of the bitter melon on a box grater or large microplane until you reach the smooth layer underneath.
25 Min

Calling all foodies! This one's for you.

Karela, or the Indian bitter melon, is an acquired taste. If you feel like expanding your palate, give these a shot!