Kothu parotta or kothu roti – a home style version that is delicious, healthier and easier to make. If North India has its buttery and hearty parathas, then the South has it crunchy and flaky parotta. Much like a plate of hot pakodas or masala vadas, this dish is perfect for those wet, rainy days or the cold winter evenings, when you want to eat something warm and spicy. Want to serve your hungry kids with some impressive and tasty street food that comes together quickly?
Treat them to my kothu roti recipe. I’d wouldn’t call it the ultra-meal brimming with nutrients, but it’s as healthy as a homemade fast food can be.
What is kothu parotta?
Kothu parotta is a popular Tamil Nadu street food where flaky shredded flatbreads are cooked in a spicy curry masala.
The name is derived from the Tamil word Kothu which translates to shred. Parotta are flaky white flour flatbreads. So kothu parotta translates to shredded flatbreads that are cooked with salna or kurma and spiced up with savory spices to create a delectable fast-food dish.
What is salna? This is a flavorful gravy made with spices, vegetables or meat.
The soft, yet crisp and flaky maida parotta is cut by hand or with a knife into small pieces and is repeatedly pounded on a hot iron griddle. An egg or meat gravy is added to the parotta and minced together with the help of two iron spatulas.
The dish is usually served with onion raita, but you can enjoy it plain.
Although the dish has origins in Sri Lanka, this dish has become a favorite across the pond. It also has fans in Singapore, Malaysia, and Maldives.
This street food is popular in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Madurai in Tamil Nadu is famous for its special style of kothu. Even fast-food joints have now joined the Kothu parotta bandwagon.
As with any Indian street food, you’ll find numerous variations. You have egg, vegetable, chicken, mutton, and even a paneer or prawn style kothu parotta.
The use of ingredients varies with each food stall or eatery. And no two kothu parottas will taste the same, unless you make it at home.
About this recipe
I’ve made a simple and quick meal without vegetables, meat and eggs. You can modify this vegetarian recipe to suit your taste or make it more filling by following my recipe notes. This is a plain version of the iconic street food and is served with onion raita.
My version is simple but bursting with flavors, healthier and easier to make. I have used homemade rotis (but rotimatic made). Feel free to use store bought parotta, whole wheat parathas or even wholemeal rotis to save time.
Making this recipe hardly takes time when you have premade, leftover or store bought parotta/ rotis. In fact, this dish is a good way to use leftover vegetable or meat gravy as well.
Can you skip salna?
Of course, you can skip like the way I did it! Just spice up the masala a bit with chili powder and garam masala, the same way I did.
If you are using leftover curry, reduce the liquid by heating it up on a stovetop or in the microwave. The curry has to be slightly thicker and not too runny.
How to make kothu parotta (stepwise photos)
Shred the parotta
1. Take 4 or 5 parottas and chop them roughly or tear them by hand into bite sized pieces. If using store bought frozen parottas, first cook them on a griddle as you would normally. Cool them.
2. This should give you 2½ cups of shredded parotta. If you’re using frozen parotta, thaw it first. Cook it as per instructions and then proceed to shred it.
Make the onion-tomato masala
3. Finely chop the tomatoes and onions for the stir fry and set aside.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pan on high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and stir. When the seeds start spluttering, add curry leaves (leaves from one sprig). Stir well to combine.
5. Then add 1 teaspoon (½ inch) of finely chopped ginger, 2 to 3 minced cloves of garlic, and 1 slit green chili. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
6. Add one finely chopped onion (about ¾ cup) and sauté for 2-3 minutes until it turns translucent.
7. I prefer to cook the onions a bit more to golden here as this enhances the flavor.
8. Add a large tomato that you have coarsely chopped (about ¾ cup) and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook for 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes turn soft. Stir frequently to ensure the food doesn’t stick to the bottom.
9. Add the spices and salt. Add ½ teaspoon of red chili powder, ½ teaspoon of garam masala, ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon of fennel powder and ¼ teaspoon turmeric . Mix to combine and cook for a few minutes to let the flavors blend.
10. Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander leaves and 8-10 finely chopped mint leaves and stir fry for a few minutes to bring out the aroma.
11. Add ¼ cup water. Or 2 to 3 eggs.
12. Mix well and keep cooking until most of the water is absorbed by the tomato-onion mixture. Ensure the mixture is moist and has not dried out completely. This is step is very crucial, especially if you are not using salna.
Eggs: If using eggs, they should be soft cooked.
13. Add the shredded parotta or roti pieces. Optional – Pour the ¾ salna or 1 cup vegetable kurma.
14. Turn down the heat to low and mix well to coat the parotta with the masala.
15. Use a sharp metal spatula or scraper to pound and break the parotta pieces further. If you find the paratha pieces are too dry, you may splash little water.
16. When the shredded pieces are well blended with spices and turns hot, remove from heat. Sprinkle some coriander leaves.
How to serve kothu parotta/roti?
Serve it plain as my recipe with raita or a quick snack. If you add salna or korma, or serve with a side dish, it makes a satisfying dinner or lunch.
How long can I keep kothu roti/parotta?
This stays fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
Ingredients and substitutes
Other than the parotta or roti, and the optional egg or kurma, the dish requires everyday ingredients from your pantry.
Parotta: Parotta made out of maida or refined flour is the main ingredient and gives our recipe its name. You can use Kerala Malabar parotta, homemade parotta or even frozen parottas. If you can’t get South Indian style parotta, use laccha paratha or roti in a pinch.
Onion and tomatoes: Along with the parotta pieces, these are key to making a tasty kothu dish. Onion-tomato masala is the base and adds a punch. To make a Jain version, skip the onion and garlic.
Mint and Coriander leaves: Fresh mint, curry and coriander leaves add to the flavor profile. If you are not using salna or kurma I highly suggest adding a few mint leaves.
Spices: This simple dish is transformed into a mouthwatering treat with the use of spices. In this recipe, I am using garam masala, fennel powder, turmeric, and red chili powder. Adjust the spices to suit your palate. Do not skip fennel powder if you are not using salna or kurma.
Fats: This recipe uses oil but you can add ghee or butter to add a rich flavour, especially if you are using homemade roti like me.
Optional ingredients: Vegetable or meat based salna or korma. Use eggs to make an egg version or a mix of egg and salna. I have mentioned when to add these in the instructions.
- If you’re using leftover parotta or laccha paratha, moisten it with little water to soften it.
- Add cooked vegetables, mushrooms, panner, tofu or cooked meat to serve this as a main meal.
- Don’t forget to mince the parotta well while it cooks.
Variations of kothu parotta
- Make this healthier with whole wheat rotis or chapatis. Make sure the chapatis you use are slightly thicker than usual.
- Skip the optional eggs for a vegetarian version. This won’t affect the taste of the dish. Or use ghee and butter to enhance the flavor.
- Use any type of masala or curry powder to give the dish a spicy twist.
- Don’t have leftover roti or unable to shop for readymade parotta? Use masala pooris as the kothu base.
- Some like to give it an Indo-Chinese touch. Add some soy sauce and chili sauce to the veggies instead of garam masala.
- If you can find Sri Lankan masala powder, use it to make a different version. Cut down on chili powder as this masala is pungent on its own.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 4 to 5 parotta/ roti/ paratha (150 grams, 2 ½ cups torn )
- ¾ cup onions (1 medium, fine chopped)
- 1 green chilli (slit)
- ¾ cup tomatoes (1 large, deseeded & chopped)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (fine chopped, ½ inch peeled)
- 1 teaspoon garlic (fine chopped, 2 to 3 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon fennel powder (saunf powder)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste, refer notes)
- 8 to 10 mint leaves (fine chopped)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (fine chopped)
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ to 1 cup kurma or salna or 3 eggs (optional, refer notes)
- Tear the parottas/ parathas to bite sized pieces, about 1 inch. If you do not have a sharp metal spatula, simply shred the parottas to fine pieces with a knife on your chopping board.
- Pour oil to a hot pan and add mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add curry leaves, ginger, garlic and green chilies.
- Saute them for 1 to 2 minutes and add chopped onions.
- Stir fry until golden and add tomatoes along with salt.
- Cook till the onions become soft and break down. Add red chilli powder, garam masala, fennel powder & turmeric.
- Saute for 1 to 2 mins. Add coriander and mint leaves, saute for another 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic.
- Pour ¼ cup water. Or 2 to 3 eggs for an egg version.
- Stir well and continue to cook till most of the water is evaporated. The spicy mixture has to be moist and not dried out completely. This is very important, especially if you are not using salna. If you have used eggs in the earlier step, ensure the eggs are soft cooked and not over cooked.
- Add the paratha/ parotta/ roti pieces. Optional – Add ¾ cup salna or 1 cup vegetable kurma (not very runny).
- Reduce the heat to low and mix to coat the parotta with the spicy masala.
- Break the pieces finer using a sharp metal spatula or a scraper. If you find the paratha pieces too dry, sprinkle little water all over.
- Cook this on a medium heat just until hot.
- Garnish kothu parotta with coriander leaves and serve hot with a onion raita.
- Your parotta or roti may be salted so add salt only as required.
- Nutritional values are calculated on the basis of store bought parathas. It may vary if using homemade rotis.
- For a meat version, simply use chicken salna or chicken kurma. You may need to reduce the spices as meat based dishes are spicer.
- For a fussy kids’ version skip the onions, puree tomatoes and cook with little garam masala. Scramble the eggs and add the rotis. You can also add some finely chopped carrots, peas and green beans.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes