Roti the Ultimate Veg*n West Indian Dish
For those of you that have followed my old blog Mouthwatering Vegan Delights may know I use to do many roti post. If you go on it you should still see some recipes for the roti side/ filling.Roti is not necceserily a vegetarian/ vegan dish but most places offer a vegan roti along with the meat roti. In Canada there are many roti shops and you can easily go to one and pick up a veggie roti. There are many roti shops in the USA but it depends on your state. In NYC there are many as several Indo Carribbean families have settled in New York.Rotishops are generally family businesses and usually these business owners put out excellent product. What is a roti? A roti can be the flat bread or it can mean the whole dish which is the curried protein filling. So you do not get confused you can ask for a roti skin or roti bread if you just want the bread but usually if you say roti in the Caribbean it means the full dish.
In my opinion Trinidad and Guyana are the roti capitals in the Caribbean. Barbados has many roti establishments as well but most of them are run buy Guyanese or Trinidadians. You can have roti on a plate with your filling exposed and the skin on the side or you can have it in a wrap folded like a parcel as shown in the photos below.I like this method as it is less messy and it is how I grew up eating roti. You can eat roti with your bare hands like me or eat it with a knife and fork if you do not like to use your hands.The skin /bread of the roti varies it can be dal puri which is a yellow split pea filled skin as shown in the photo or it can be a buss up shut which is common in Barbados.There is another skin that Barbadians make which I think contains lard so ask before buying. This buss- up- shut is a thin flavoured skin and it is not very fatty.I like them both. The key to a good roti is to have a killer curried filling full of flavour. Usually the meat lends to some of this flavour but, when you are a vegan like me you have to give 120% in making the filling esp if you are using tvp or chickpeas as your protein source.
I usually use TVP chunk as my protein source and chickpeas and potatoes as the extra carb. Feel free to use lentils, split peas and carrots and spinach when making roti. There is one that is sold with chickpeas curried pumpkin with a rich garlic flavour and it is oh so good. You can get this roti in Barbados at the restaurants.Today I got up at 9 and made roti for lunch. The filling I made is curried tvp with potato and chickpeas. I used some Bajan seasoning to flavour my tvp and I use tomato sauce and I stirred in 5 cloves of crushed garlic near the end of cooking.My mom usually says that roti is a lot of work and she would never make the skins but if you are like her feel free to purchase skins in the supermarket. Some people use tortilla if they do not want to make skins but I really prefer the authentic roti skins. I decided to use this roti filling in my book so I will not show the recipe today sorry but I have some recipes on my old blog so check there. Oh one more thing you can sub whole wheat flour for the skin but I have made this and I do not love love the whole wheat roti skins. This is the one time I would say to use unbleached all purpose flour but it is up to you and your needs.
If you have any questions on roti or need a filling recipe do not hesitate to contact me.