Mix the sugar, water and yeast and set aside to froth and bubble, about 5 minutes.
Add the shortening broken into small pieces, salt and 3 cups of flour and mix by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook at a low setting.
Add more flour, a little at a time, until the dough comes together and is smooth but not sticky. Continue to knead by hand or in a stand mixer on a low setting for 10 minutes. You should have a really soft, smooth, very supple and beautiful ball of dough at the end of it.
Spray some oil on the inside of a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, turning over once to coat the top with some oil.
Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for about an hour or until it has doubled.
Remove the dough to a platform. Knead briefly, and then divide into 12 equal pieces.
Roll each piece between your palms to make an oval, about 4 - 4.5 inches long and taper the sides.
Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet, at least 3 inches apart. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes or until puffy and almost doubled.
Using a sharp knife or blade, score the rolls from one tapered end to the other, leaving about 1 cm on either side. Brush the tops with some oil for a pretty golden colour.
Place the rolls in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden. When you tap on the bottom of a roll, it should sound hollow.
Remove to a rack and let them cool a little before eating. These reheat really beautifully.
Recipe courtesy: Holy Cow Vegan
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Subbalakshmi Renganathan is an expert in traditional Tamil cooking who inspires everyone through her simple, innovative blog.