Curried ground beef with peas and potatoes, wrapped in a delicious roti and cooked on a griddle or nonstick pan till golden brown and crispy. These warm, Spicy Curried Beef Roti are authentic Sri Lankan street food that are perfect for game day and tailgating!
We’ve been on an awesome Sri Lankan food kick lately. Maybe it’s because the cool, crisp Fall air is finally blowing in and we are craving comfort food. I thought I’d be craving for some creamy Mac n Cheese (not ruling it out, just yet), but we seem to be turning to our roots, instead.
I made a huge batch of Sri Lankan Curry Powder recently, and we have been feasting on some delicious curries – not limited to Sri Lankan curries, but also Thai green and red curries and Indian curries too.
Fall also means sports, tailgating, plenty of game days and food that’s worthy of feeding a crowd. And when Mr K sat down in front of the TV for the NBA season opener a few days ago, I had one amazing game day snack waiting for him – Sri Lankan Stuffed Curried Beef Roti!
Curried ground beef with peas and potatoes wrapped in a roti and cooked on a griddle to seal the wrap. This curried beef roti is straight up Sri Lankan street food that you can find with ease anywhere you go in the country. They are eaten warm usually with a tomato sauce or fiery chili sauce, but here I made a curry yogurt sauce and a spicy cilantro sauce in place of a dipping sauce.
October is also tailgating snacks month – organized by Debi from Life Currents too and I decided to bring something from our snacking culture to celebrate along with a few other fantastic food bloggers. 🙂 Just scroll down to see what everyone else brought to the party!
The roti dough used in this recipe has different names in different parts of South and South East Asia – Sri Lankans call it godhamba roti, Malaysians call it roti canai, Indians call it paratha roti. Whatever the name, it’s a delicious non-flaky roti that’s perfect for encasing that flavorful filling.
Sri Lankan “short-eats”
Like I said, these stuffed roti are a hot commodity in Sri Lanka. They can have different fillings – vegetarian and fish being the most popular. But since Mr K lives beef, I made a curried beef roti instead.
These snacks are an integral part of the Sri Lankan food culture. No matter where you go in the country, you will find different variations of Sri Lankan savory snacks (locally referred to as short-eats). They are like the Sri Lankan version of tapas. They range from stuffed roti like these, to deep fried crepes, cutlets (croquettes), pastries, patties (empanadas), to stuffed chiles and so much more! The flavors, the aromas, the textures are all very representative of the country’s food.
I can’t tell you how many great memories I have of sneaking off to eat short-eats with my school friends back in the day. They were these little morsels of comfort and deliciousness that were also very affordable. Although unfortunately that affordability seems to be a thing of the past now, because the last time Mr K and I were in that neck of the woods, they were ridiculously expensive – didn’t stop me from stuffing my face with them though.
These stuffed roti are special for me for another reason – I made stuffed vegetable roti all by myself, in front of
an audience the family, in my grandmother’s kitchen when I was in grade school. It was the first recipe (which I learned in school) I made for the whole family, by myself with no help, and the nostalgia is pretty strong with that memory. 🙂
What the hell is godhamba roti?
Godhamba roti or roti canai is easy to make but takes a bit of patience. The dough is known for its soft, flaky texture and is seriously addictive. It’s a simple dough that’s kneaded and allowed to rest overnight after being coated with oil and then stretched out thin (to the point of being almost see-through). The kneading and the oil-covered resting period build the gluten structure and soften the dough, which helps you stretch the dough for cooking. The oil also helps keep the roti nice and flaky for canai or paratha.
From this point, there are a few different ways in which you can cook this dough.
- Cook as is for godhamba roti (also known as “lensu” roti – i.e. handkerchief roti, due to the resemblance of the dough to handkerchiefs).
- Fold the edges towards the middle and cook on a griddle – for roti canai.
- Bunch up the roti and then twist it into a ball (like a snail shell) and then roll it out – for paratha.
- Or once the roti is cooked, you can shred it and mix it with vegetables, meat and curry for a lip-smacking, ass-kicking, killer dish called kottu roti (I will share that recipe on another day – that dish deserves a whole lot more love than a passing reference!).
- And finally, add some filling/stuffing (delicious curried beef in this case), wrap the roti around the filling and cook it on a griddle for stuffed roti like these curried beef roti.
The stuffing for this spicy beef roti is also really easy, and easily adaptable.
- Substitute with another meat like chicken, lamb, turkey or pork for other kinds of Stuffed Roti.
- Substitute with extra potatoes and/or sweet potatoes for a vegetarian/ vegan version of this recipe
- Substitute with equal amount of cooked fish (canned or fresh) for fish roti.
- Add half a full boiled egg with any kind of mix for an added twist or
- Cook an egg INSIDE the roti for egg roti
When you add cooked potatoes, just don’t mash it all into the filling. I especially like having bits and chunks of potatoes to bite into, in the spicy filling.
The roti can be shaped into whatever shape you want or find easy to form. Traditionally, different fillings are shaped differently in Sri Lanka so that it’s easy to identify which ones are vegetarian and which ones are fish and so on. I made triangles, but you can do squares, rectangles, rolls, rounds or whatever kind of geometry you fancy.
These stuffed beef roti are really great for something creative and fun for game day or tailgating! They are like a Sri Lankan version of burrito or wrap, except they are sealed and the dough/roti itself is addictive! You can make these ahead of time and then re-heat them in the oven (or on the grill) before serving. The curry dipping sauce is also optional, they are typically served with chili sauce or ketchup. They have such great depth of flavor, you don’t honestly need a dipping sauce anyway.
Curried Beef Roti (Sri Lankan Beef Roti)
- 500 g flour about 4 cups
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- Vegetable oil to coat
Curried Beef Filling
- 455 g ground beef 1 lb
- 226 g cooked potatoes boiled and peeled and at room temp.
- 2 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder
- 1 jalapeno chopped
- ½ medium red onion finely chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ¾ cup frozen peas thawed
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper optional (we like to add about 1½ tsp because we prefer a spicy filling)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Yogurt Curry Sauce
- 1 cup stock chicken or vegetable
- 2 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder
- ¼ onion yellow or red, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 tsp uncooked rice crushed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup unsweetened greek yogurt or more to taste
Godhamba Roti (there will be extra dough leftover for plain roti)
- Combine the flour, water and salt in a mixer bowl and knead for 6 - 10 minutes until soft and smooth.500 g flour, 1 cup warm water, 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- Alternatively, mix the flour and water and salt until you form a scraggly dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, knead the dough on a lightly floured counter for 2 - 3 minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Portion out 12- 13 dough balls for regular sized stuffed roti, or 24 - 26 dough balls for mini rotis.
- Coat each dough ball with oil and place it on a well-oiled tray in one layer. Make sure the dough balls are not touching each other as they can stick together easily.Vegetable oil
- Cover and leave them to rest for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Curried Beef Filling (make this while the roti dough is resting)
- Heat a non-stick pan with 1 tbsp of oil.Oil
- Add the onions, garlic and jalapeno (or green chili pepper) and saute until softened.½ medium red onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeno
- Add the curry powder and cayenne pepper and saute for just a few seconds.2 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder, ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Add the ground beef, a generous pinch of salt, and tomato ketchup. Cook while stirring, until the beef is cooked through and separated. Make sure the moisture in the ground beef is cooked out completely. Add the peas and cook until the peas are heated though and cooked.455 g ground beef, 3 tbsp tomato ketchup, Salt and pepper to taste, ¾ cup frozen peas
- Season to taste.
- Let the filling cool slightly and add the potatoes. Gently crush the potatoes into the filling and mix through. Having small chunks of potatoes in the filling is preferred, so you don’t have to mash it all the way.226 g cooked potatoes
- Taste and season again, if needed.Salt and pepper to taste
- Let the filling cool completely.
Making Beef Roti
- Place 1 dough ball on a flat, smooth and clean surface. Use oiled hands to flatten out the dough ball into a fairly thin, round sheet. Place a generous amount of filling in the middle of the roti (2 generous tablespoons for mini stuffed roti). To make it easier, shape the filling in the same shape that you want your roti to be.
- Wrap the roti around the filling to form the shape you prefer (squares and rolls are the easiest shapes). Make sure you wrap the filling by stretching the roti around itself to double wrap, and the filling is properly sealed in.
- Place the prepared rotis on an oiled plate until you're ready to cook them.
- Heat a griddle or a non-stick pan to medium high heat. Lightly oil the surface with a pastry brush.
- When the surface is nice and hot, place the stuffed roti on the griddle a few minutes per side until the roti is cooked and turns golden brown and crispy. Make sure all the sides of the roti are cooked.
- Serve warm with spicy chili sauce or tomato ketchup or yogurt curry sauce.
Yogurt Curry Sauce
- Place all the ingredients (except yogurt), in a saucepan. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes until the curry has thickened slightly. Season to taste and let it cool. You will end up with a little over ½ cup of curry sauce.1 cup stock, 2 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder, ¼ onion, 1 clove garlic, 2 tsp uncooked rice, Salt and pepper to taste
- When the curry is cooled, mix ½ cup of the cooled curry gravy with ¼ cup of greek yogurt. Season to taste. Add more yogurt to thicken the dip if needed.¼ cup unsweetened greek yogurt, Salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with the stuffed beef roti.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”