grandma's Chicken curry roti
4 c. All-purpose flour
2½ t. Baking powder
1 t. Baking soda
1 t. Salt
½ c. Soft shortening
1½ c. Lukewarm water
Steps to make:
Measure dry ingredients.
Cut in shortening with a pastry blender.
Add water all at once.
Knead on a floured board about 10 times.
Make dough into small balls about the size of a baseball.
Flatten balls out.
Bake on a griddle at medium temperature using a small amount of oil.
Makes about 12 roti.
Chicken Curry Filling
6 boneless chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 T. of cooking oil
2-3 T. Madras curry powder
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
¾-1 c. coconut milk
½ c. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Cut chicken into pieces, and sauté with onion and garlic.
Add curry powder and ginger, stirring over low heat.
Add coconut milk.
Cover and cook over low heat for 45-50 minutes.
If more liquid is needed, add some water.
Add cilantro about 15 minutes before ready.
Mash a few bits of potato to thicken the sauce.
Spoon onto roti bread and fold up to eat.
Eat like a sandwich.
My grandma’s chicken curry roti is well-known within my family. It’s my dad’s favourite childhood meal and it’s one I look forward to eating at dinner during holidays; even if it lights my mouth on fire every time it’s served.
She was born in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, where roti is a street food that can be bought from stalls served in wax paper. They’re wraps made of flour and water-based bread (referred to as ‘roti skins’) and filled with a beef, chicken, or shrimp curry filling. Depending on your preference, you can buy bone-in or boneless, though my grandma highly recommends you buy the boneless version, as she made the mistake of buying the bone-in version for my grandpa when he was visiting the country for the first time. They both ended up very confused about what they had ordered.
Though my grandma has made roti for two generations now, she didn't get to eat it as a child because her mother deemed eating any food that didn't use utensils “unladylike”. She told me it’s like McDonald’s, but significantly cheaper. It's only a couple of bucks in Canadian dollars.
My grandma first made roti and created the family recipe when she and my grandpa immigrated to Canada from England, where my grandma had initially moved to be with him. She went through all the effort of making the roti skins by hand only to realize that it was a lot more work than she’d anticipated and that she didn't want to have to make the bread herself every time she wanted to eat the dish. Instead she now buys her roti skins from L & F Montego Place on St. Joseph Boulevard because in her opinion, they sell the best ones.
Now, decades later from her coming to Canada, I get to happily have roti leftovers after every holiday dinner.