Categorized |Vegetarian

Buss Up Shut Roti Made Easy!

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 30There’s been emails, Facebook wall messages and tons of comments from avid readers who are all interested in learning how to make one of the most popular roti on the islands. As I’ve mentioned in the past, our cuisine is heavily influenced by the many cultures that make up the cosmopolitan islands of the Caribbean, especially Trinidad and Tobago. When most people outside the Caribbean think about roti, they immediately associate it with being Indian, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating any “Indian” influenced food from the Caribbean… you’ll know that we took their idea and perfected it :) Not just Indian food, but the same can be said for Chinese as well. Over the years we’ve taken these wonderful ways of preparing foods and added a unique tropical twist to it and it’s become part of our culinary heritage. Don’t take my word for it… go into any Caribbean restaurant if you live outside the Caribbean and order any of their curry dishes and you’ll ‘taste” what I mean.

Personally this is my all-time favourite roti so when I make it, it’s usually done in batches so I can freeze some for days I don’t feel like cooking.. The recipe below will make 6 fairly large buss up shut roti. You have the option of placing (portion size) in freezer lock bags and freezing any leftovers. They can last up to 2 months and all you have to do is pop them (in the bag) into your microwave and heat on high for 50 seconds, then flip and nuke for another 40 seconds and they’ll be pretty close to the day they were originally made.

You’ll Need…

5 cups of flour (all purpose)
3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups of water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (to work into dough)
mixture of 1 tablespoon margarine and 5 table spoon vegetable oil

You’ll also need (for cooking)
– tawa or non stick skillet (frying pan)
– 2 wooden spatula
– pastry brush (grab a cheap 1 inch paint brush from the dollar store)
– rolling pin

* I’ll try to explain each step as best as I can with pictures, so you may find that this page will take a bit longer than usual to load. It’s due to the number of pics I have to include. Additionally, I’ll update the FaceBook fan page as well as the Youtube Channel  with a video showing how to work the dough properly, so you can log on there to check it out as an added resource.

Start by getting the base dough ready. In a large bowl add the flour, salt and baking powder. Then add the water (add 2 cups first and add as needed) and knead. If you have a good food processor you can use that as well. After you’ve got a solid dough ball (large) add the 1 table spoon of oil and knead again. This entire kneading process should not take more than 5 minutes. Now cover the bowl with the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 1

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 2

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 3

Now that the dough is rested, we’ve got to separate the dough into the size we’ll need for each roti. Break the big dough ball into 6 even-sized balls (keep some flour handy to dust your work surface and hands to prevent sticking). All you’re doing is breaking into 6 pieces, then go back and work into a well rounded ball as in the pictures below.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 4

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 5

In a small bowl, place the margarine and 5 table spoons of oil and mix together (the margarine must be soft). Now take one of the small balls we just created and get ready to work a bit more. Dust your surface with flour and roll out into a full circle (the size of your tawa … about 10-12 inches in diameter), flip and roll as needed to form a complete circle. The next step is to use a knife and cut from the middle out … a straight cut (see pic below). Then using your fingers or brush, dip into the oil/ margarine mixture and rub onto the rolled out dough (lightly). Then we’ll take up one of the cut ends and start rolling in a clock-wise direction to form a roll (sort of log). As you come to the end of the roll, pinch the edge so it sticks together. Then using your fingers (refer to pic below and video mentioned above) press to tuck in both ends and place back onto the counter surface. Gently tap down onto the ball of dough to flatten a bit and set aside. Do the same for the remaining 5 dough balls.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 9

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 6

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 7

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 8

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 10

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 11

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 12

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 13

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 14

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 15

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 16

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 17

Again cover with plastic wrap so it’s somewhat air tight and allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Typically, for best results I’d allow it to rest for about 4 hours. The step above will give you layers that buss up shut is so famous for and by adding the oil/margarine layer before we rolled it, it will have that sort of silky pastry-like texture. I’ve tested using butter, but I find that using margarine gives better results. Traditionally, I believe some people use ghee (clarified butter), but I’m quite happy with the results I get from the oil/margarine combo I use.

Let’s get to finally cooking now. (after the dough is full rested)

- place the tawa on medium/high heat and brush a layer of the same oil/margarine mixture we made earlier onto it

- dust your work surface with flour and roll out one of the dough balls we had resting

- make a complete circle to fit the size of the tawa or pan that you’re using., then place onto the now hot tawa

- brush the top (uncooked surface) with some of the oil mixture

- cook for about 25 seconds, then flip and brush this side with the oil now .. cook for another 25 seconds or so.

- flip one more time and cook until you get a sort of light golden colour happening on both sides (about 1 minute or so)

- take the 2 wooden spatulas and crush the now cooked roti (see the action in the pics below)

- repeat the process for the remaining 5. Brush tawa with oil, place rolled out dough, brush with oil, flip, brush with oil..flip a couple times more .. then beat with spatula.

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 18

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 19

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 20

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 21

Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 22

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Trinidad Buss Up Shut roti step 29

That’s it! You’re done. Place onto a paper towel and wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. If you leave it open for too long, it may go a bit stiff and loose it wonderful “silky” texture.

Some of you may be asking what’s with the name “Buss Up Shut”. It’s due to the  finished texture of the roti. Basically we’re comparing it to a torn or ripped shirt. So buss up shut is our island dialect or accent at work.

So what is a tawa? It’s basically a flat steel  round pan that’s used to cook roti on the stove top. You can also search online for chapati tawa if you’re looking to purchase one. A stove top skillet or large non-stick frying pan works just as well.

TIP! If you find that “beating” the roti on the stove is difficult, simply place a kitchen towel into a large bowl and drop the cooked roti into it and with tongs (it will be hot) repeat. By dropping it, it will get to the right finished texture as if you “beat” it on the stove with the 2 spatulas. You don;t have to be gentle.. beat that roti!

I really hope you give this a try as not only is it very simple to make, it’s one of the best roti you’ll ever eat. Growing up I was intimidated by the prospect of making this, but Ive learn that it’s very simple to make, as long as you follow the stops I outlined above.

Please leave me you comments below.happy cooking


Recipe Name
How To Make Buss Up Shut (paratha) Roti.
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181 Responses to “Buss Up Shut Roti Made Easy!”

  1. Adrienne says:

    Hello Chris,
    I look forward to all of your recipes, especially curry crab and curry shrimp and potatoes. But recently, I found out that I’m allergic to wheat flour (gluten free) and I can not make the traditional roti recipe. And I really miss buss up shot. Could you please work on one that can use other flours?

  2. Beverly says:

    This is my second time making this delicious roti. First served it with a goat curry and tonight it will be chicken curry. I first heard of Buss Up Shut on an episode of the tv show chopped when a Caribbean chef pulled it off in only 30 min! I went on line to find a reciepe and loved yours because your pictures and explanations were awesome.

  3. Goldiemtl says:

    Hey Chris!

    Thanks for another amazing recipe that is flavourful and easy to follow.
    Just Madrid steeed curry chicken and we were going to have it over rice but decided to make the roti and it turned out perfectly!

    Love your site and keep up the great work!

  4. Aileen says:

    Hi Chris,

    I made this for dinner tonight and it’s the best roti I have made to dat. I have been shy about it because it always turns out poor. This recipe turned out soft and fluffy…I will definitely be making it again for family and friends.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Terry says:

    Hello Chris,

    Just finished some of that for my colleagues here in Bangui, Central African Republic where I am stationed with the UN. It is something like a competition as I have a colleague from India who did his chapati (Indian style which is different from Trini style) and to say the least, I did not have enough to go around.

    I have a sister who is also doing that and makes a good living preparing Trini dishes for her New York clients.

    There are so many of your recipes that I have passed on to my colleagues (hot cross buns for the Ivorians, for example) and just passed on this link to many Ugandans and Kenyans. I use ghee instead of the oil and margarine mix, which would give the same results.

    Just keep on keeping on, your recipes are being used worldwide and I have encouraged them to sign up to your mailing list so don’t be scared if you see a big jump in applications from Africa.

    Thanks for sharing and God Bless

    • admin says:

      Much luv for the support, sharing our culinary culture with your friends and for taking the time to share. Be safe. Chris…

  6. Hello Chris!

    Happy New Year to you and your family! Keep up the great work that you do everyday….you make a big difference in people’s lives by posting such pleasurable recipes that everyone enjoys.

    I’m gluten free and having to pass up on that roti is hard!!! Would you be able to post a gluten free recipe? Please? Pretty please? I would be so thankful to you!


  7. Elena says:

    Chris, I often come to your blog to compare your recipes with those I have been lucky enough to watch my Guyanese mother in law create in her kitchen. As I write this, my eldest daughter is preparing her presentation in her Grade Two French Immersion class tomorrow on roti. She has to describe who makes it (grandma), when and where she eats it, why she likes it, and how it is made. I have printed off this post so she can take it to school to show her classmates how it looks as it’s being cooked, even though the Trini way is different from the Guyanese method of burning the snot out of your hands to “clap” the roti! (Your method looks so much easier!) All this is to say, thank you for taking the time to post photos of each step; I can’t wait for my daughter’s classmates to get their first taste of roti, thanks to Grandma, and their first lesson on how’s its made, thanks to you. I very much appreciate the time and energy you put into this site!

    • admin says:

      thanks kindly for taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment and to reassure me that what I;m doing is making a difference

  8. Bernice Martin says:

    This look so good.

  9. Carol Thebus says:

    I have to say, since I happened upon this site, I immediately subscribed. I am awe inspired by all your recipes, and I have to mention that I do appreciate that you are very open about your dislikes to any recipe/s ingredients you do not favour. I love your cooking and have already done quite a few dishes. South Africa is now experiencing our wonderful springtime, and I have many of your dishes to be thankful for in preparation thereof.


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