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Trinidad & Tobago Roti

September 26, 2010

~ The whole fam-damily ~

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We owe you a MIGHTY BIG THANK YOU for voting us through to the second round of Foodbuzz’ Project Food Blog.  This round is to choose a classic dish from another culture that is outside of your comfort zone.  We’d be grateful if you gave us another vote HERE.

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Back in the mid-eighties Fred (Dad) was hired by the Trinidadian government to build low-income houses for the poor.  We all went down to visit on alternate school vacations (Christmas & Easter), because some of us had to stay home and run the farm.

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While meandering around the island, we all remember enjoying Shark & Bake Sandwiches from a beach-side lean-to, these were so fresh and so tasty, but the best food we had were Rotis from the roadside stands in Trinidad. Roadside stands would pop up right before your eyes as you rounded yet another bend on the narrow, winding and harrowing roads of Trinidad. There was Beef Roti, Chicken Roti and Goat Roti. We tried them all, but the Goat Roti was the BEST! No lie. We have a bit of a different version, since goat is not readily available here, and because even if it were, we don’t think you’d give this recipe a try. So delicious!

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JP remembers having a goat Roti along with a peanut butter shake and a coconut soda. He was sitting on the ferry to Tobago and had a long wait for departure.  During his wait, he was sketching a boat, and someone offered to buy the sketch. The drinks were special because later he burped those sickly sweet flavors during the slow, tumultuous, seasick crossing.  Some flavors you never forget. Good times.

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More on the culture: The first time Katy & Mary went to the market with the maid to get out and about and to see a bit of the culture.  Since it was 80+ degrees and humid, we wore shorts.  Not a bad thing, right?  Well, wherever we went, there were men making these smooching sounds.  Long, drawn-out smooches.  Young men, old men, every man who happened to be in our vicinity.  Mary finally noticed that of all of the women there, we were the only ones wearing shorts.  The other women mostly wore longer skirts and some wore long pants.  The smooching is the American equivalent of the catcall whistle.  That was a good bit of culture we learned that day, and it was disturbing, so we were sure to wear our shorts only around the house or at the pool after that.

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Mary: I chose the Trini Roti because it has been in my ‘To Make’ pile for years.  Twice I’ve had all the ingredients and the mental hutzpa, but at the last-minute decided against it.  I tried to put my finger on why it’s taken me so long.  The curry filling was never an issue; it was the Roti itself that was putting me off.  I only had a very short recipe with cryptic instructions and the Roti dough/cooking is daunting, because I remembered it to be so thin but so strong.  Finally, I searched for some video on the internet (which wasn’t available when I initially wanted to try the Roti…yes, it’s been that long).  What I found at carribeanpot.com was extremely helpful.  I think it’s that I loved the Roti so much, I was afraid my version/attempt wouldn’t measure up.  How wrong I was.  Or maybe it was so tasty because I haven’t had one in more than a decade.  You may think two decades, but I lived near a Caribbean restaurant in Minneapolis and was able to get my fix when I lived there.

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Trinidad & Tobago Roti

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Roti Pancake

makes 4 roti pancakes this video helped

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Sift together:

2 Cups Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

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Mix in:

3/4  Cup Milk

knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes.  Place in bowl, cover with dampend tea towel and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  While this rests, I got started on my curry filling.

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Cut and weigh into four equal balls.  Roll out each ball as thin as possible, at least 12″ round or more.  This is tough! but keep working at it.

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Heat a non-stick frying pan until a drop of water sizzles.  Lightly wipe on some oil and cook the pancake until lightly browned.  About 1 1/2 minutes on each side.  Have a damp tea towel to set them on, so they keep warm until all the roti have been fried.

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Curry Filling

Roti was brought by the Indians to Trinidad.  It was used to wrap their curries in for their lunches in the fields.  Any type of curry filling will do, so if you have a favorite, have at it!  This is what I made:

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In large frying pan saute:

2 Cups Small Diced Yellow Onion

1 Tbsp Minced Garlic

1 Tbsp Minced Ginger

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Saute until limp then add:

3 Tbsp of your favorite Curry Powder or 1 tsp of each turmeric, cumin, coriander, dry mustard, Kosher salt and crushed red pepper to taste.

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Sauté another 1-2 minutes then add:

2 lbs Diced Chicken

3 Cups Small Diced Russet or other sturdy Potato

3 Cups Small Diced Fresh Tomatoes

2 Cups Sliced Green Beans

1 Tbsp Chicken Base OR 1-2 Bouillon Cubes

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Stir well and let simmer, with lid on pot, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Taste and add more spice if necessary.

Thicken with a Cornstarch slurry (2-3 Tbsp Cornstarch mixed with 1-2 Tbsp cold water).

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Fill your roti:

Lay the roti pancake on a flat surface

Portion 1 – 1/2 Cups Filling in the center

Fold like an envelope by bringing up the bottom over the filling then folding in both sides then fold over the top.

Get a napkin, they tend to be sloppy.  ENJOY!

34 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2010 7:38 am

    Great post! That roti looks perfect.

  2. Pat permalink
    September 26, 2010 3:08 pm

    Woo-hoo! Roti!!! TASTY!!!

  3. Katy permalink
    September 27, 2010 6:39 am

    This looks so good that I want one for breakfast.

  4. September 27, 2010 8:59 am

    I love that we both did a post on food from T&T! Your roti looks gorgeous…good luck in the competition!

  5. gingerbreadcake permalink
    September 27, 2010 9:12 am

    Wow that looks sooo delicious. I’m definitely going to try making that sometime. I love how you chose to cook food from Trinidad because of your experience living there. Great job and good luck!

  6. September 27, 2010 10:58 am

    Very entertaining post and the roti looks awesome! I voted, so best of luck advancing to the third round :o)

  7. September 27, 2010 11:11 am

    MMM! I want roti! I’ll take one of each flavor, thanks.

  8. September 27, 2010 1:51 pm

    I love roti. you got my vote.

  9. September 27, 2010 1:57 pm

    love this roti delicious

  10. September 27, 2010 2:25 pm

    I was going to do roti as my dish, but decided on empanadas instead. Great job and you have my vote!

  11. September 27, 2010 4:33 pm

    I need this truck Stat! wow, peanut butter shakes and coconut soda! I would love to get my mouth around one of those wraps! Beautiful work!

  12. September 27, 2010 6:29 pm

    These are such wonderful rolls! Put me by the beach and give me some.

  13. September 28, 2010 6:24 am

    I am familiar with Roti from Indian cuisine. These look like they measure up nicely.

    Jason

  14. September 28, 2010 6:27 am

    Fun story. I like entries that include a personal narrative and a unique recipe. Voted.

  15. September 28, 2010 7:24 am

    I just voted for you. I’m always so impressed by people who go all out and make their own bread, in your case the roti. Thanks for the education on Trinidad.

  16. September 28, 2010 10:23 am

    Wow – looks delicious! Your post had me laughing out loud – twice! First with the lasting burps – this is an inside family joke where we judge a meal by the quality of it’s ‘after-burps’. When not combined with seasickness, they can be nice little souvenirs of a fabulous meal, kind of like those bits of food you find stuck between your teeth. Yeah, we’re an odd bunch. :-0 Second was with the shorts and the smooching. I grew up in the UAE, where you just don’t wear revealing clothes. My friend’s mom, a fiesty Scot, always took a stick with her to market for the ‘pinchers’, and wasn’t afraid to use it!

    • foododelmundo permalink
      September 28, 2010 12:08 pm

      Great story 😀 thanks for sharing!

  17. September 28, 2010 10:49 am

    Your dish looks delicious. You got my vote. Good luck in this round. Have a great week.

  18. September 28, 2010 11:07 am

    AMAZING!!! who would have thought, trenidad…! voting right now!

  19. September 28, 2010 12:13 pm

    Mary,
    I will take one of everything on the menu board please!
    The Buss Up Shut looks like some good eating also!
    I voted also!

    Bon appetit!
    CCR
    =:~)

  20. September 28, 2010 12:25 pm

    I just found your blog (from the comment you just left me) and I LOVE this post!!! I am off to vote for you to move on to the next challenge! best of luck!

  21. September 28, 2010 1:19 pm

    Nice looking sada roti! I am a Trini so thanks for the cultural info and best of luck in the competition- you have my vote:)

  22. September 28, 2010 4:59 pm

    Good God that looks good. I really wish I had something more profound to say but I’m sitting here with my mouth open and a glazed expression in my eye wishing for a roti. You guys have my vote for sure 🙂

  23. September 28, 2010 5:08 pm

    How fun! Funny story with the Roti, Peanut Butter Shake and coconut soda – lol. Good luck – I am voting for you. Looks delicious!

  24. September 28, 2010 5:45 pm

    LOL great story and delicious looking food. You have my vote. Best of luck in the competition.

  25. serenanorr permalink
    September 28, 2010 6:46 pm

    Wow – great story and delicious-looking roti. I really want to try this, but in the meantime, you have my vote!

    Seriously Soupy

  26. September 28, 2010 8:05 pm

    Your roti looks great!! My tummy is making rumblies, so I cast a vote for you.

    Lisa.

  27. September 28, 2010 9:51 pm

    Bravo again! Another excellent meal by another excellent cook. I’m so enjoying these trips around the world.

  28. September 28, 2010 10:26 pm

    You have my vote! Thank you for visiting my site!

  29. September 28, 2010 10:34 pm

    I think you’ve cornered the market on Trinidadian/Tobagonian (had to look that one up) food. It’s great that you incorporated part of your personal life into this post, I really enjoyed reading your story. Also, what’s this about peanut butter shakes? Voting for you, good luck advancing!

    Lick My Spoon

  30. September 29, 2010 3:53 am

    what a lovely memory post – off to vote now 🙂

  31. September 29, 2010 2:10 pm

    There is actually a Trinidadian place near me and I love the rotis, my fave is the spicy pumpkin and shrimp. Love your entry, got my vote and thanks for your vote.

  32. September 29, 2010 4:23 pm

    Very creative. You have my vote!

  33. September 29, 2010 5:20 pm

    I enjoyed your post and now would like to make roti. I have never taste it, but what I see on the photos looks delicious. In the meantime, I am voting for you.

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