When having to choose between delicacies from Kerala, my natural ‘bread’ option is usually the appam. These hoppers, made from a fermented rice-flour batter, are crisp and lacy along their edges and soft and spongy in the centre, making them ideal for soaking up the light, coconut-laced curries of the region. However, a Malabar porotta is unmatched in its perfect pairing with a robust beef fry. The silken strands of this multi-layered flatbread are a great mopping-up agent and when wrapped around leftover chunks of kebabs or simply a fried egg, makes for a comforting snack as well.


  • 240 gm maida (plain flour) + some for dusting
  • 30 gm sugar
  • 5 gm salt
  • 120 ml whole-fat milk, at room temperature
  • 50-60 ml water (more or less, as required)
  • 50 ml vegetable oil (more or less, as required) for the inner layers and for roasting on the tava
  • 1 egg (optional, but recommended)


  1. Place the milk, sugar and egg in a coffee mug or small mixing bowl and beat lightly with a fork to combine.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, place the flour and salt. Mix to combine. Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk and egg mixture and bring the dough together by kneading briefly, adding about two to three tablespoons of water, as required, to make a loose dough. Cover with a damp muslin or plastic wrap and leave to rest for 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Tip the dough onto a well-floured work surface or kitchen counter and knead using both your hands, until the dough is soft, but not annoyingly sticky and wet.
  4. Add two tablespoons of the vegetable oil to the dough and knead for five to eight minutes or until the oil is almost completely absorbed into the dough.
  5. Divide the dough into four portions and roll into balls on the kitchen counter. Dip each ball in vegetable oil to coat well. Return to the mixing bowl, cover with a damp muslin cloth or kitchen towel and allow to rest for twenty to twenty-five minutes.

Excerpted with permission from Crumbs!: Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen, Saee Koranne-Khandekar, Hachette India.

Saee Koranne-Khandekar

Saee Koranne-Khandekar

Saee Koranne-Khandekar has been a food writer and culinary consultant since 2008. She is the author of the widely reviewed ‘Crumbs!: Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen’ and writes extensively on regional cuisines in their historical and socio-cultural contexts. Her work can be read on www.saeekhandekar.com, and in various print and online journals.

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