Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Sri Lanka

coconut roti - Sri Lanka

Week 7: Coconut roti

I’m a sucker for anything that involves fresh coconut and our coconut roti certainly did not disappoint. They were more like dense pancakes than the layered roti we’re used to, but that didn’t take anything away from the fact that they tasted AMAZING. Our only disappointment was that we didn’t make more! Once we got past the initial hurdle of actually cracking the coconut open (a feat that involved a hammer, a screwdriver and a small axe in our case), we found the process of making this recipe really simple. The firmness of the dough also makes them a lot easier for little hands to flip than traditional pancakes. And with just four ingredients, you won’t have to turn the kitchen inside-out to make them.

In Sri Lanka, coconut roti is served both as a savoury (often as a side dish with curry) and a sweet dish (for example, served with palm syrup). We didn’t have any palm syrup on hand so we settled for maple syrup. The bananas were our own embellishment. The recipe below was drawn from a number of different sources, including this excellent video tutorial on making coconut roti that was actually filmed in Sri Lanka.

Around the world in 18 breakfasts - sri lanka

Makes 4 roti of approx. 10cm diameter.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut flesh (even though we have a mature coconut pictured above with the dish, we actually used a young drinking coconut bought from Woollies to make the roti)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • water (approx. 2tbsp)
  • a blender
  • oil
  • heavy-based frypan
  • optional, for serving – sliced fresh banana and maple syrup

Making coconut roti

1. Blend coconut flesh until well ‘minced’.
2. Add flour and salt and work through the coconut to a breadcrumb-like consistency (much like you would do with butter and flour when making scones).
3. Gradually add water and knead through to create a dough. The amount of water you need will depend on how watery your coconut is but we used about 2 tablespoons. Knead the mix until all the flour is worked through. Roll the dough into balls (about the size of golf balls).
4. Let sit for 20 minutes.
5. Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy-based frypan over medium heat. Flatten out each ball of dough to about half a centimetre in thickness and cook until golden brown.
6. Serve with banana and maple syrup or your topping of choice.


Join us on our journey!
This is the seventh of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Switzerland!


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