|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2007)|
|Alternative names||Koththu roti, Kotthu|
|Place of origin||Sri Lanka|
|Region or state||Jaffna|
Kothu or Koththu Roti is a Sri Lankan dish made from a Sri Lankan roti called Godhamba roti and vegetables, egg, and/or meat, and spices. Kothu can be found in almost all parts of Sri Lanka and is generally eaten for dinner. The most common varieties of kothu are beef and chicken, with egg and vegetable kothu available for vegetarians. Cheese kothu has recently been introduced and appears to be becoming a mainstay.
It is traditional to make the kothu on a heated iron sheet, used specifically for the purpose, and the cutting up and mixing of the kothu is done using two blunt metal blades. This clashing of metal on metal creates a very distinctive sound — come late evening the beat of kottu being prepared can be heard coming from any small roadside restaurant.
Kothu roti originated in the Northern-Eastern part of Sri Lanka during the early 1960s . Etymologically the name is from the Tamil language meaning "chopped roti" (chopped wheat roti mixed with curry sauce).
The basic roti is made of Gothamba flour. The name itself is Tamil: Gothamba (a form of Kathamba-meaning a flour made out of a variety of grains-referring to the white flour, and roti). Slowly it has spread to other parts of the country as the strife continued and has now caught up and has become extremely popular. It can be found in many Sri Lankan restaurants in other countries, where there is a large Sri Lankan population.
Kothu is a food that has successfully transcended social boundaries in Sri Lanka. Kothu, which used to be a cheap, takeaway meal for lower socioeconomic classes, has now become almost a staple diet for those of upper socioeconomic classes as well, especially among the young and outgoing. It is now a common practice for nightclub and party goers in Sri Lanka to end their nights with a kothu as a midnight snack.
As restaurateurs explore with ideas, a variety of kothu variations have become available. The main ones are where the roti is substituted for pittu or string hoppers, hence the pittu kothu and string hopper kothu.