*This was 13 years ago when I was younger, skinnier, had long hair, and was learning to make roti. The tool in my hand is a dabla for turning the roti. It has no bend in it like a spatula. You can also see we used an old enamel tea cup dipped in oil for oiling the rotis. It's faster and easier than trying to brush it on. And look out for Farida. She is all business in the kitchen! She was a great teacher though.
ROTI DOUGH (doesn't matter what variety, they all use the same dough)
4 cups of flour
more baking powder than possibly looks right...how much? I dunno, a palm full, prolly 3 tablespoons or so
a big blob of shortening...how much? i dunno, maybe a 1/3 to 1/2 a cup. (listen, if you don't know by now that I cook Trini food by eyeballing stuff you haven't been paying attention)
1 1/2 cups of water (yes, ok the flour and water have exact measures...but hey, it works for me, deal with it)
-Mix the baking soda and flour
-Cut in the shortening with your fingers. That's right, smoosh it all through untill it's all worked in and there are no discernable lumps of shortening.
-Dump in the water and knead the dough until smooth, a few minutes.
-Form into a round loaf and let it relax, covered by a towel, in the bowl about 20-30 minutes. Yes, I know you're wondering what the heck relaxing the dough is. Just let it sit there. It won't rise so don't think that. It's just loafing around (har har har) in the bowl...relaxing....
-Divide dough into 8-10 loyah (balls) depending on how big your roti will be. (I usually get about 10 12 inch rotis). Now you can't just roll the dough into balls. It doesn't work. And short of making a video I'm not sure how to demonstrate....but take a blob of dough in your hands and form the ball by pulling dough from the bottom to the top, you sort of knead it in your hands and wind up making a bellybutton in the one side of the dough where you poke the bits you stretch from the bottom to the top in order to make a ball. Then set the loyah (ball) on a floured surface to relax again. All I can say is it must be hard work being roti, must explain why it needs all the relaxing.
-Let all the loyah relax again for another 20 minutes or so.
-On a floured surface roll out a loyah as thin as you can.
-Spread the top with ghee (melted, clarified butter...but plain melted butter works too) and sprinkle the butter with flour.
-With a sharp knife make a slice in the dough from the center of the circle straight out to the edge. Don't slice the whole roti in half just do a radius cut.
-Now start rolling one of the new edges tightly all the way around the circle so it forms a tight cone.
-Stand the cone up on its base and then squash it straight down and flat.
-Let the poor exhausted thing relax a little while again.
-Heat your tawah (if you're Indian) or platin( if you're creole) or skillet (if you're an American who hasn't got a Trini baking stone). I dunno how hot, medium high, I guess.
-Roll out a roti, nice and thin.
-Oil your tawah/platin/skillet
-Fry one side of the roti and oil the top while the bottom fries. If you have done everything right your roti will swell as it fries. That means you'll get all those yummy, tender, flaky, delicious layers of roti that are so wonderful. But press the edges down or they won't cook.
-Flip the roti to fry the other side.
-Take it off the tawah/platin/skillet, fold it between a clean tea towel and beat the hell out of it. Mash it good so all the flaky layers come apart. You shouldn't tear it so it's not in a circle anymore but rough it up so the layers separate inside.
Like I said, labor intensive. If you want the easy way just roll out the loyah after the first relaxing. You don't even have to oil the tawah/platin/skillet, just fry it dry on both sides. That gives you a nice simple sada roti which is also delicious.
*This is Diana 13 years ago stealing one of the first dhal puri rotis I helped make (which are even more labor intensive than paratha and the reason I have no interest in making that kind again). Even today I have to beat the kids off with my dabla in order for a roti to make it to the table to be eaten with dinner.
Happy Trini Tuesday!