Cooking The HD Way – Thai Pancakes

Thai pancakesI remember the first time I clapped eyes on a Thai street food vendor’s remarkable dishes, it was in Bangkok back in 1999 on my very first trip to Thailand. The soup type dish looked to me like rancid Yak vomit mixed with battery acid and had hamster droppings floating on the top of its oily surface, I have since learned the error of my judgement.

Food that appears to look bland or reminiscent of the contents from an empty washing up bowl can in fact be quite delicious. On the other side of the frying pan Western food ( UK especially ) appears in general to be well prepared, neatly arranged and tempting to the nostrils but can taste rather jejune. I do however still much prefer Britain’s innocuous and rather flavorless food.

Thai curries are my favourite Thai dish and I can on occasion push myself to the limit and try a little papaya pok pok or tom yum krung but apologies beforehand, give me bangers and mash everytime. So it was with great delight that on my last trip to Thailand I tried a simple Thai delicacy that was one of my favourites back home, pancakes or as they are known in Udon Thani, Roti (Lo-ti).

Thai Pancakes (Roti)

proudly sponsored by HD Sauce


  • 1/2 kilo white flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbs whole milk
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • sugar for topping
  • sweet condensed milk for topping

Sweet RotiPour the flour into a bowl and form a well in the middle. Add the salt, sugar, egg, butter, milk and cold water into the well then knead into a dough. Divide the dough by forming into two inch diameter balls. Lightly coat each ball in oil, place back in the bowl, cover the top and let them lie for at least one hour.

When you are ready to make your roti, take the dough balls and roll them on a greased surface until they are wafer thin and then trim into 7-8 inch squares. Heat a frying pan and pour in a little oil. Cook the roti by coating it with a little butter on both sides and fry by continually flipping the pancake until golden brown, making sure that any puffs and lumps that form are flattened with a spatula.

When finished remove the roti onto a paper towel to absorb any excess oil and then sprinkle on some sugar. Lightly layer the pancake with condensed milk and then roll it up as shown in the photo above. Lastly roll it into some paper which will absorb any remaining grease and keep the roti piping hot.

RotiRoti originates from India and is extremely popular around Asia. A less sweet bread type Roti is an accompaniment to curries and is an integral part of Indian and Pakistani diets but the sweetened version is a big seller in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The bread / pancake is also a favourite on many of the West Indies islands in the Caribbean.

I watched the ‘Pancake Man’ in high speed action in Phen, a small town in Udon Thani Province, and had to wait my turn as a queue of customers patiently waited for their sweet Thai treat.

The rotis in Phen sell for 9 baht and are an evening treat for many families in the small town. The vendor arrives at around 5 pm and four hours later he has sold out and long gone home. In Phen and most Thai towns and cities it’s ‘Pancake Day’ everyday, the roti or loti as its often pronounced is for me a Thai treat with the taste of home. Delicious.


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

14 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    HD lovely jubbly as an old East End friend of mine used to say.

    I quite like mine with shredded coconut, sickly sweet!
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Swine Flu Thailand: Clean Up =-.

  2. malcolm says:

    Martyn , great post and you really pushed my sweet tooth button , as rotis are my favorite snack ,and our local vendor, makes one with egg and banana and let me tell you that they are to kill for , and I promise when you come for a visit I will treat you to on and if Ciejay is not looking I may just have two .lol.I sent the recipe to my daughter-in-law in the USA , she has a cooking school in her home and when she does her Thai classes it will be a great addition thanks Malcolm
    .-= malcolm´s last blog ..THE HOT NEW MASSAGE (THAI TRADITIONAL MASSAGE) =-.

  3. These are just too gorgeous. I love the egg and banana ones too, piping hot straight off the pan. I love a loti. Yum.
    .-= Ben Shingleton´s last blog ..A year in Thailand =-.

  4. Hoo Don says:

    Mike they certainly are sickly sweet, Wilai swears by the banana loti but I haven’t tried it as banana gives me terrible heartburn.

    Malcolm rotis are one of my favourite Thai snacks but as I replied to Mike, banana is off the menu for me. I hope the recipe is okay for your daughter-in-law and anyway I’m sure she can dress it up a bit. I’m still hoping to make a trip to Kanchanaburi on my next trip.

  5. Talen says:

    Definitely a favorite of mine and I have to side with Wilai on this one…the banana loti is the way to go.

    All this talk of Thai food has me hungry and with no decent Thai place anywhere near me grrrrr.
    .-= Talen´s last blog ..Pattaya Declared Virus Free =-.

  6. expatudon08 says:

    the street food in Thailand is just superb its really the atmosphere street life that makes its taste so much better then closed inside some fancy restaurant i also made my first trip to Thailand in late 1999 from Nepal and India just when i thought the trip could get no better i arrived in Thailand the amount of banana pancakes i stuffed down my neck was silly
    .-= expatudon08´s last blog clock photo album udon thani thailand =-.

  7. Hoo Don says:

    Ben happy 1st birthday and why not celebrate with a loti or two, plus a few bottles of the amber stuff. Congratulations on your first year of the Thai Pirate.

    Talen I am not going to disagree with young Wilai that could be more than my LOT IS worth (terrible). Swindon has a couple of Thai restaurants and a few takeaway joints plus quite a lot of the bars have some Thai dishes on the menu, I didn’t realize I lived in such a cosmopolitan town.

    John I know what you mean about the atmosphere at these street life eateries. I really like going to the Thai night markets and seeing the thriving food stalls and small restaurants, great social activity. I hope you are starting to feel better.

  8. Emm says:

    Yum. I love pancakes and I love roti too. I like eating it with savoury mince or some such dish.
    .-= Emm´s last blog ..New York day 2: Times Square =-.

  9. Frances says:

    I am definitely going to try these, crepes are my fave so this will be a yummy variation.
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..Problems with flies in France – but not with Obama’s swatting =-.

  10. Hoo Don says:

    Emm and Frances thank you for your comments. Everyone loves a pancake it’s just the filling that splits opinion. I do like the sound of the savoury mince and roti, just up my street.

  11. samon says:

    From what I know, Roti is Indian Food. Correct me if I wrong. Regardless of country, I love it. It’s delicious.
    .-= samon´s last blog ..Site Content =-.

  12. Hoo Don says:

    Samon you are right, roti does originate from India.

  13. Emilie says:

    Wow Thank you so much for this recipe I cant wait to try it out and remember the fantastic times of watching them make the pancakes in Thailand and Laos street markets.

  14. Hoo Don says:

    Emilie I hope you enjoy the pancakes and thanks for the comment.

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