Hmm … if you ever run out of ideas of what to cook or what to eat, perhaps you may want to consider making Roti John. Roti John is a Malay dish with an English name. But the main ingredient is French – the French baguette, that is.
So what is Roti John? It is actually a fascinating French toast. A slice of baguette topped with spicy minced beef held together by well-beaten egg. Served with a lightly tossed salad it is a complete meal on its own.
Roti John is easily available at most Hawkers’ Centres in Singapore. But it comes with a lot of chilli sauce smeared on it so it looks kind of gooey red. It can be a bit off-putting so I tend to make my own. This way I assure the freshness of the ingredients as well. I know I am a bit fussy. Ok. A lot fussy.
It is said that the right breakfast helps in seting the tone for the day. In this case I assure you Roti John has never failed. You may not go tra-la-la into the day but a breakfast of Roti John would leave you a lot contented. And with a cup of hot coffee, it can be quite heavenly. Ok. So I exaggerate a little bit. But a good breakfast is a good breakfast.
This dish has an interesting origin. I used to see it served as far back as the 1960s at Changi Village. It is said that roti John was inspired by the British preference for meat and bread. No surprise here. Changi used to be a base for the British soldiers. Thus with a lot of soldiers haunting the area, some enterprising stallholders would eventually come out with a dish that would be quite close to the beefsteak. And they hit the pot of gold with Roti John!
So if you like to try making one here is my version – remember use fresh ingredients. Ah – that is so me. But I can’t help it.
1. Get the ingredients – eggs, celery, minced beef and onions
2. Mix them all together – happily in a big bowl or plate
3. Get the baguette – put the mixed ingedients on the sliced baguette and fry them on a flat-based pan.
4. Hurray or is it voilá ? Your Roti John is ready.
5. Have a bite. Savour the moment. And Bon apetit.