How Do You Prepare Sel Roti, The Nepali Rice Doughnut?

Have you ever wondered how to make Sel Roti, the delightful Nepali rice doughnut? This traditional delicacy is made from a fermented rice batter and is popularly enjoyed during festivals and special occasions in Nepal. With its crispy golden exterior and soft, sweet center, Sel Roti holds a special place in Nepali cuisine. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of preparing this delectable treat so that you can recreate the taste of Nepal right in your own kitchen. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure and discover the secrets behind the irresistible Sel Roti!


To prepare Sel Roti, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Rice: Sel Roti is traditionally made using a specific type of rice called “suvakha masino,” which is a short-grain rice found in Nepal. If you can’t find this specific variety, you can use any other short-grain rice such as Arborio or Calrose.
  • Water: Sufficient water is needed for soaking the rice and grinding it into a smooth batter.
  • Sugar: A sweetener is added to the batter to enhance the flavor of Sel Roti. You can adjust the amount of sugar based on your preferences.
  • Ghee or oil: Ghee, a clarified butter commonly used in South Asian cooking, is traditionally used for frying Sel Roti. However, you can also use vegetable oil as an alternative.

Preparation Time

Soaking Time

To start, you need to soak the rice to soften it before grinding. The soaking time for rice is crucial, as it affects the texture of the final product. Ideally, you should soak the rice for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight for best results. Soaking allows the rice to absorb water and become easier to blend into a smooth batter.

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Grinding Time

Once the rice is adequately soaked, it’s time to grind it into a fine paste. The grinding process can be done using a sturdy blender or a traditional stone grinder known as a “silauta.” The time required for grinding may vary depending on the equipment used. If you are using a blender, it usually takes around 10-15 minutes to achieve a smooth consistency.

Fermentation Time

After grinding the rice, the batter needs to be fermented to develop its flavors and create a light and airy texture. Fermentation typically takes around 8-10 hours, but it can vary depending on the room temperature. It’s essential to ensure a warm environment for fermentation, as cooler temperatures may prolong the process.

How Do You Prepare Sel Roti, The Nepali Rice Doughnut?

Step-by-Step Instructions

Soaking the Rice

  1. Measure the desired quantity of rice for your Sel Roti recipe.
  2. Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water to remove any impurities or excess starch.
  3. Place the rinsed rice in a large bowl and add enough water to cover it entirely.
  4. Allow the rice to soak for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. The longer the soaking time, the softer the rice will become.

Draining the Rice

  1. After the soaking time has elapsed, drain the soaked rice using a fine mesh sieve or colander. Make sure to remove all excess water.

Grinding the Rice

  1. Transfer the drained rice to a blender or stone grinder.
  2. Start blending or grinding the rice gradually, adding small amounts of water if needed to achieve a smooth consistency. The goal is to get a batter that is thick enough to hold its shape when piped but still pourable.
  3. Blend or grind until the batter looks smooth and creamy without any lumps.

Adding Flavorings

  1. Now is the perfect time to add flavorings to your Sel Roti batter if desired. Traditional options include cardamom powder or cinnamon for a touch of spice. You can also experiment with adding mashed ripe bananas or pumpkin puree for a unique twist.
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Fermenting the Batter

  1. Pour the batter into a large, deep bowl and cover it with a clean cloth or plastic wrap to prevent dust or insects from getting inside.
  2. Place the bowl in a warm area of your kitchen, ideally around 80°F (27°C), to facilitate fermentation.
  3. Allow the batter to ferment for 8-10 hours or until it has visibly risen and developed a slightly sour aroma.

Preparing the Doughnuts

  1. Heat ghee or oil in a deep frying pan or pot over medium heat.
  2. Take a Sel Roti mold or a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round nozzle and fill it with the fermented batter.
  3. Hold the mold or piping bag about an inch above the hot oil and gently squeeze the batter in a circular motion to create a doughnut shape. The size of the doughnut can vary based on your preference.
  4. Fry the Sel Roti until it turns golden brown on both sides, turning it occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  5. Once cooked, remove the Sel Roti from the oil and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

Frying the Doughnuts

  1. Serve the freshly fried Sel Roti warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a drizzle of honey for added sweetness.
  2. Sel Roti makes for a delightful breakfast or snack and pairs exceptionally well with yogurt, tea, or even a savory curry.

Tips and Variations

Using Different Rice Varieties

While the traditional choice for Sel Roti is suvakha masino rice, you can experiment with other short-grain rice varieties if you can’t find the specific Nepali rice. Arborio or Calrose rice can be suitable alternatives.

Adding Cardamom or Cinnamon

For a burst of flavor, consider adding a pinch of ground cardamom or cinnamon to your Sel Roti batter. These aromatic spices will complement the sweetness of the doughnuts.

Adding Ripe Bananas or Pumpkin

To infuse Sel Roti with natural sweetness and a hint of fruitiness, blend ripe bananas or cooked and mashed pumpkin into the batter. This variation adds a delightful twist to the classic recipe.

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Making Miniature Sel Rotis

If you prefer bite-sized treats, you can adjust the size of the Sel Roti by using a smaller mold or a smaller round nozzle for your piping bag. These mini doughnuts make for a charming addition to any dessert table.

How Do You Prepare Sel Roti, The Nepali Rice Doughnut?

Serving Suggestions

Sel Roti is a versatile and delicious treat that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with various accompaniments. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Serve Sel Roti with a side of plain yogurt to balance the sweetness and add a creamy element to each bite.
  • Enjoy Sel Roti with a warm cup of tea or chai for a delightful breakfast or snack option.
  • Pair Sel Roti with a savory curry or lentil soup to create a satisfying meal that combines sweet and savory flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best rice to use for Sel Roti?

The traditional rice variety used for Sel Roti is suvakha masino rice, but you can use other short-grain rice varieties such as Arborio or Calrose as alternatives.

Can I use a blender to grind the soaked rice?

Yes, a blender is a convenient and efficient tool for grinding the soaked rice into a smooth batter. However, if you prefer a more authentic approach, you can use a traditional stone grinder called a “silauta.”

How do I achieve the desired crispiness?

To achieve the desired crispiness, make sure the oil or ghee is at the right temperature before frying the Sel Roti. The oil should be hot enough to create a sizzling sound but not smoking. Additionally, ensure that the doughnuts are evenly cooked on both sides and drained well after frying to remove excess oil.

How long can Sel Roti be stored?

Sel Roti is best enjoyed fresh, as its texture can become denser with time. However, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. Reheating it before serving can help revive some of its original texture.

Can I make Sel Roti without fermentation?

Fermentation is a crucial step in the traditional Sel Roti recipe as it helps develop its distinct flavor and light texture. While it is possible to make a quick version without fermentation, it may not yield the same authentic taste and texture as the traditional recipe.

How Do You Prepare Sel Roti, The Nepali Rice Doughnut?


Sel Roti is a delightful Nepali treat that combines the sweetness of rice with the crispiness of a doughnut. By following the step-by-step instructions and adding your own unique flavors, you can create a batch of Sel Roti that will impress your friends and family. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a savory dish, Sel Roti is sure to become a favorite addition to your culinary repertoire.