Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trini Tuesday-Busupshot!

Many weeks ago I gave you stewed pumpkin, last week I gave you stewed chicken, this week it's roti!! Mmmmmm, roti.....I LOVE roti. You're all wondering what the heck it is, right. Well, it's a soft Indian flat bread that they basically use as a utensil. Tear off a bit and scoop up your meat and rice. I'm aware of 4 different kinds of roti and I can make three of them. There's dhal puri, which has a layer of ground peas and seasonings in the middle. There's dhosti, which is basically two pieces fried together. There's sada which is cooked without oil and a little thicker than the other kinds, almost pita-like. And then there is the roti of heaven, the roti I dream about, the roti of all rotis....Busupshot! Ok, the correct indian term is 'paratha' but Trinis ususally call it busupshot because yuh must bust it up after yuh fry it. It's the softest, flakiest, yummiest roti going....and I know how to make it...It's labor intensive but the payoff is soooo good. So get your pencils ready class and prepare to take copious notes.

*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!


Anonymous said...

Mmmmm! I love any kind of bread! Carbs!

Anonymous said...

You are very cultured lime.

Anonymous said...

That stuff sounds great, but womens work for sure. lol.


Anonymous said...

Michelle. Is shortening what we brits would call lard? I'm having a hell of a time with some recipes because they're in yank speak.

barefoot_mistress said...

Rotiiiiii yummmmmm!
I just cant stop thinking of the time that you and George made roti together! Now, I'm willing to bet those roti's tasted extra special!

I can make a mean samosa, chicken curry, seasoned indian rice, lots of veggie dishes...and even masala dosa, but those other Indian breads kick my butt!

I made some chapati and they came out all rubbery!

I buy mine...that is, until you move over here! :D

barefoot_mistress said...

Oh yeah, and the pic of Diana stealin' roti baby is precious!
I swear having a baby redhead is like a little yummy sweet candy that never goes away!!!

lime said...

dr psy, i am a carbotarian myself

tl, shaddup or i'll hit ya with a roti, LOL

alistair, shortening is solid fats, not butter but like crisco or even lard would qualify.

bare, how about you make the curry , i make the roti. deal?

Jodes said...

great pictures and great story.

Tommy said...

Freaking yummy! Sounds like what we in the American South call "biscuts" (pron: BIS-kits) we put this substance called "red eye gravy" on them. No there are no "eyes" in the gravy even though there are squirrel heads in "Squirrel Head Gumbo." It's called that because of the coffee in it. MMMMM ... Gravy! So do you put gravy on Roti? We could be related!

Anonymous said...

God I love food posts, although I would never attempt this one...This is different from nan?

lime said...

jodes, thanks

tommy, naw man, dis ain't like biscuits....except to say that they are staples in their relative cultures. roti is flat. but oh i do have a great love of gravy..mmm...infact i think tonight we are gonna have gravy and wafles...that's pennsylvania food, lol (i know the rest of the world thinks it is vile)

g-man, i think they are pretty similar though i've not had naan. try the sada roti, it's really quite a lot easier than the busupshots and so yummy.

Anonymous said...

It sounds wonderful... But how about I just take the easy way out and wait to be invited to dinner! ;-)

Breazy said...

good food comes at a price and if I had the time to really get in the kitchen and make roti dough I am sure I would enjoy it because I like new things and ya know sometimes you just have to work a bit harder for them . I hope you are having a wonderful week!

MyUtopia said...

I love the picture, it reminds me of cooking with my mom. we would get in flour fights! As for the hives, I was put on steroids.

Robert van de Walle said...

mmmm, this is one recipe I definitely will try!

Anonymous said...

Yummy! this sounds delicious, what time is dinner?

ps..you were cute then and you're even cuter today!:)

Blither said...

Oh My.. To much work for a Tuesday. We'll get the strapping lads to do it :)

Anonymous said...


I love your recipes..

and happy trini tuesday, dear!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but does it taste good?

Anonymous said...

It sure sounds good - but you are right, it sure is a lot of work.

that crazy chick said...

sounds so good -- stupid me gave up flour again ... x-mas prep, ya know

Gary said...

If I sat in a bowl for 20-30 minutes, I wouldn't be very relaxed.(har har har)

I love all kinds of Indian bread. Yum.

Moosekahl said...

ohhh...I like all these recipes.

I have a Trini-Tuesday story to share but I worked 15 hours today...they shared a patient experience on our webpage and the guy was from TT. It's a sweet story. I'll email it to you :)

ttfootball said...

Also my favourite kind of roti!! Just LOVE it!! My neighbours make to sell and they would wake you on a weekend early a.m. when they beat the roti on their giant tawah, i would say the ones they used was close to 4feet across..? Of course the neighbours would get a bit for free now and then ;) This makes a great breakfast.

ttfootball said...

oooooo...this is the first thing I want to eat when I land in trinidad in a couple weeks!!!

Anonymous said...

I love Indian cuisine, especially the bread. Hmmmm, sounds yummy!

Anonymous said...

Lime, you didn't remember to say that a rolling pin was called a tawa.

Paratha is my favourite kind of roti also. But the recipe I use for my roti is 1 tsp of baking powder to every cup of flour plus 1/4 tsp salt and water for texture. This can be multiplied any number of times. I also don't but any kind of fat into the dough until I add the butter/ghee after I first roll it out.

I have some tips if I may, Lime. The key to making an excellent roti is just as you said; to roll it out as thin as possible for that first gheeing/buttering. You MUST NOT KNEED THE DOUGH TOO DRY. Although this is something you will have to learn through trial and error, I can't say this enough. Dry dough will lead to a dry roti. Another good tip is to keep the dough moist by draping a wet cloth over the dough when it is resting or waiting to be used. The last tip is after it is cooked and while still hot, immediately put it into an airtight container to keep the moisture in. If you leave it out, the moisture in it will evaporate and your roti will come out dry.

I made this for my American friends once and part of me wishes I made it just as I was ready to leave the US. I basically had to run a speakeasy when I was making paratha and curry, because the roti was so much work. Let me tell you, making roti enough for 15 people is a lot of hard work. But after I made it that first time, I had to make it anytime a friend's parents were coming into town, when I went my friends' houses for thanksgiving, when it rained, when it was sunny, just whenever. It's a huge (and my biggest) hit among my American friends....and I'm not even Indian.

It's really easy to do and very delicious, I think you all should try it.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant a rolling pin was called a bilna, lol.

Anonymous said...

Lime, this is my most favourite thing after Stewed Chicken. I was hoping you would post this! Besides, what else are you gonna sop up all that great stewed chicken "gravy" with?

Thanks for another great recipe. I can see it now, I'll be living on chicken and roti everyday. Mmm, mmm, good!

Purple Lily said...

Can you tell me where to purchase dablas? Thanks!