I had the very great pleasure of learning to make roti from a wonderful friend, Meena, who owned a restaurant serving Guayan food. She makes the best hot sauce, channa curry and roti in the Universe, and according to those who eat meat her jerk chicken and curried goat can’t be beaten.
She taught me to make her roti, and I am so glad she did because I miss it so much being here!! I don’t have to miss her hot sauce though, because I brought some with me!
Amounts vary depending on how many roti you need or want, but I find that two cups of flour will make twelve small roti.
Add water to your flour while mixing with your hand until the dough is formed. The amount of water you need will depend on how much flour you are using and also the absorbency of the flour. A softer dough will give a thinner roti.
Knead for three or four minutes until it is elastic and smooth.
Let it rest for fifteen minutes or so in a bowl covered with a damp tea towel.
Oil your hands with sunflower oil and knead the dough for another three or four minutes.
Divide the dough into pieces about the size of a ping pong ball and knead each ball lightly.
Dust each piece lightly with flour and roll with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface into a circle about fifteen cms in diameter.
As Meena’s husband told me, at this point, it is really important to be light with the rolling pin. Don’t grip it. Let your hands rest on each end and lightly roll the dough, stretching it with the roll of the pin. Ensure that the roti is evenly rolled, make sure not to be heavy handed and end up with a thinner centre or edges. Take your time in rolling.
Dip your fingers into a bowl of oil and roughly brush the top of the rolled dough. Fold the rolled roti into a square by folding the edges into the centre over each other. Let rest while you roll the remainder of the dough.
Then take a square and fold the edges under so that it forms a rough circle, this is to get layers and allow air into the dough.
With the “pleated” side of the dough ball down, roll the dough into a circle approximately fifteen cms in diameter, again taking care not to press with the rolling pin.
Heat a skillet and brush very lightly with oil. Cook roti for about 30 seconds to 45 seconds – when it starts to show bubbles flip it over and brush the cooked side lightly with oil. The roti should puff up with air at this stage.
Take roti from heat and toss between your hands, clapping as you catch it. (Basically beat it up!) This is hot and I find it best to give the roti a few seconds to cool, Meena does it with the roti hot from the griddle, she is an expert!
You will need to wipe out your skillet or griddle between every two or three roti as the loose flour will start to burn.
Fold into quarters and set aside until ready to serve. Do not put in a sealed container as the steam will affect the roti.
Enjoy with hot sauce, curry or anyway you want. And think of Meena and her lovely family.