Sri Lankan recipes not only reflect the indigenous flora and fauna, but the waves of cultures that have crossed our island’s path. We have cokies from the Dutch, we have pittu from the Tamils, the best sweets are Muslim, and we have godamba roti from Singapore.

godamba roti, chicken curry, purripu, cabbage, and cucumber salad

godamba roti, chicken curry, purripu, cabbage, and cucumber salad

Godamba roti or murtaba as it is called in Singapore is part of our street food culture.   In small “hotels” along the streets – aka restaurants, they would serve kotthu rotti – which is sliced up godamba roti, tossed with egg, vegetables and meat  – all on a hot griddle and served right away. My sister and I went traveling all around Sri Lanka by ourselves one summer and our father told us not to eat food from street-side vendors or those hotels.  Of course, we ignored him and ate some of the best vadai, kotthu roti, fruit and ice cream that we ever had.  And our tummies were fine.  The only time we got sick was when we over ate passionfruit.  But what are you going to do?  Its passionfruit!

Anyhoo, godamba roti can also be wrapped around a savory filling – my favorite.  And it can be served plain, with some curries.  I remember getting it in Sri Lanka, with ladlefuls of steaming curry on top.  I like to serve mine on the side because I don’t want my roti to get soggy.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 cup lukewarm water
½ cup oil

Mix together the flour, salt and the tablespoon of oil and rub together.  Then add all at once, the lukewarm water, and mix.  Knead for approximately 10 minutes.


Divide into equal-sized balls, and then cover with the ½ cup of oil (add more if necessary) and let rest for at least one hour.


Put a griddle on the heat – flat side up – or heat up the widest pan you have.

Take a little oil from the bowl and grease your cutting board (plastic or marble works best for this dough) and take one the balls and press it down flat, spreading the dough like you were smoothing a bedsheet out (thanks to Charmaine Solomon for the imagery).  Don’t worry about any holes or its shape.  We are not professional godamba roti men – who can spin it out like pizza dough into nearly translucent thinness.  Although I think I did pretty well towards the end.
img_4032img_4038Then transfer the roti carefully (this is hard, I admit) to your extremely hot pan, and cook for approx. 1 minute on each side – until golden brown spots appear.  You can set them aside as they are done, one on top of each other, and cover the whole thing with a lid.


Serve with curries and enjoy.  The godamba rotis also keep really well.  Just put it in a Ziploc and freeze or refrigerate it.  You can put it in the oven or in the microwave to heat up.