West Indian Cooking: Roti

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Currently playing in iTunes: Ready For The Weekend by Calvin Harris

One of my favorite cooking blogs is TriniGourmet— kosher caribbean food at it’s finest! All these years, I never attempted to make a roti. Tonight, the urge hit me and I live nowhere near kosher Caribbean joint so here I am. I knew roti meant different things in India, South Asia, and the Caribbean.  I learned from TriniGourmet is that roti is not the same everywhere in the Caribbean.

What I really need is a tawa:

A tawa is a flat skillet using in Indian cooking. Notice, there are no raised edges on it. Since I don’t have one, I used a regular non-stick skillet.

Anyway, back to the roti. Since, I’m half-Guyanese I looked for a Guyanese roti recipe. Considering it was my first attempt, my roti came out 75% correct. I found a few problems. One, I couldn’t find my rolling-pin (yes, I know that’s really sad.) Two, I found that I was using too much heat and oil. Finally, I realized that I wasn’t rolling them out thin enough. That’s why the first roti came out like an export cracker and the second one burned. You can make roti either dairy (using butter or ghee) or pareve (using margarine and/or shortening and vegetable oil)

Roti (Paratha) (Parve/Dairy)

  • 1 lb (4 cups) flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ oz ghee, margarine, vegetable oil, or butter (I used canola oil)
  • 1¾ cups water


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Add enough water to form a smooth soft dough.
  3. Knead well and leave ½ hour covered with a damp cloth.
  4. Flour a [cutting] board and roll out the dough to 8″ or 9″ diameter, then spread with ghee and sprinkle with flour.
  5. Cut the dough from the centre to the edge, roll tightly into a cone shape, press peak into centre of cone, then flatten. Leave again for 30 min.
  6. Cut the dough into 16 pieces, and for each, sprinkle flour on the board and roll out very thin with rolling-pin.
  7. Bake on a moderately hot tawa (or a non-stick skillet if you don’t have,) coating the dough with oil on both sides as it cooks.
  8. Turn on both sides and cook for about 1½ minutes on each side.
  9. Remove from baking stone and clap the roti with your hands until flaky or wrap in clean cloth and mash-up.

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