Over the past couple years I’ve shared a few recipes which I’ve coined as being “Ultimate” and with the popularity of this roti and the amount of requests for the recipe over the last few months I strongly believe it deserves to join the other cast members in the ultimate series. Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago dhalpuri was one of those special dishes which was made the occasional Sunday morning or when the first choice – pelau wasn’t made for a beach lime. I still recall the strong aroma of geera (cumin) roasting before it was ground and added to the dhal filling for the roti, emanating from my great aunt’s house next door. Not sure if I was one of her’s faves, but I do recall always having a portion reserved for me (her curry potato was ah bess). When I wasn’t causing trouble with my brother… I was a good boy and everyone loved me
For this recipe I got my mom’s help , so let’s give moms some props!
There are a few steps in making dhalpuri roti, so I do hope my explanation below is not too confusing. We’ll start with the filling, then the dough and close off with putting everything together and cooking the actual roti.
For the filling
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground roasted geera (cumin)
2 cups split peas (dhal)
1/4 of a scotch bonnet pepper (or any hot pepper you like)
For the dough (actual roti)
3 cups all purpose flour
pinch fast acting yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon baking powder
water (see note below)
* 5 tablespoon vegetable oil (for brushing the roti while it cooks)
Notes: We ended up using close to 1 and 3/4 cups of water when making the dough. Start with about 1 cup and add as necessary… the goal is to achieve a smooth, tender dough which is a bit firm (hold it’s shape). With the roasted geera, traditionally that’s roasted the same time the roti is being made (grains are roasted then ground) to really release the oils and aroma. But in my case I used the pre-packaged ground (roasted) one.
Making this roti can be a bit messy, especially if you have any break while cooking and with the use of the oil you’ll be brushing onto it it cooks… it may splatter onto your stove. Be prepared for some cleaning when the stove cools.
The first thing we need to do is prepare the dhal, since it needs to cool before we can work with it. Quickly sort through the 2 cups of split peas to see if there’s anything foreign among them (twigs etc – remove), then give it a good wash. Place about 5-6 cups of water to boil in a deep sauce pan and add the split peas and turmeric to the boiling water. Reduce the heat so it’s at a rolling boil and cook for about 20 minutes. NOTE: If you’re using a food processor as I did, allow it to cook for about 25-30 minutes. If using a traditional food mill, cook for the 20 minutes I mentioned.
Then drain and set aside to cool.
After you’ve put the boiled dhal (split peas) to cool, it would be a good time to start working on the dough. In a large bowl (I’m sure you can use a food processor as well – providing it can make dough) add the flour, salt, yeast, baking powder and start adding water. Knead to a firm consistency… keep adding water as necessary. Work to form a huge dough ball, then cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. (pay attention to time as you don’t want the dough to over-rest)
Let’s now work on the split peas filling. I used a food processor and ran into some problems as I tried to work all at the same time and it just wasn’t happening. So I then divided it into 3 batches which was a lot easier to get to the consistency I wanted.
Place all the ingredients for making the filling into the food processor or food mill and work until you have a no whole peas or large pieces. I guess the ground peas should look similar to bread crumbs… if you have any full grains of dhal in the mix it may rip the roti while cooking. If you’re using a food mill it will have a soft, smooth consistency as the mill really grinds it in a way the food processor can’t duplicate. If you’re not familiar with what a food mill is, see below- it’s the traditional device used in preparing the dhal filling.
The next step in to break down the main dough ball into six smaller balls, then fill them with the peas filling we just made. You will have enough filling left over to make about 4 more dhalpuri so you can either freeze this or make some more dough (or cut back on the amount of split peas you prepare).
Divide the main dough into 6 pieces and form six smaller dough balls. Here’s where it may get a bit messy… flatten out each dough ball in your hand (see pics below) to form a 6 inch circle, then dust with flour and add 4 tablespoons of the filling to each. You will have to make a sort of bowl shape as you keep adding the split peas filling. Then using your fingers, form to a ball shape and pinch to seal. I do hope the pics below helps with explaining this step.
Now it’s time to heat your tawa (baking stone) on medium/high heat and brush some oil onto it’s surface. On a flour dusted surface, roll out one of the stuffed dough balls we made. Turn, flip and keep rolling until you have a pizza like shape that’s about 12-14 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Remember to consider the size of tawa you’ll be using, so you don’t end up with a roti that’s too big to fit on your tawa. I assume you could use a large non-stick frying pan if you don’t own a tawa but you may encounter a problem when trying to flip with the edges of the frying pan.
Be careful when placing the rolled out dough onto the tawa as it will be hot. After about 30 seconds, using your hand if you’re a pro or a couple spatulas flip the roti. Now give this side a quick brush with the oil. You may have to flip this a couple times. It will take a bout 4-6 minutes to fully cook and you’ll notice that it will start to “swell” or inflate as cooks. That’s a sign that it’s ready to be removed off the tawa. Repeat this step for the remaining 5 roti.
Yes, there are a few steps involved and you’re probably saying “this is exactly why I buy my dhalpuri”, but I assure you that it’s rather simple and I do hope the combination of my description and pictures above is easy to follow along. I would suggest placing these on paper towels to absorb excess oil and do wrap in paper towels or tea towel to keep them soft (the air tends to make them a bit stiff). For those of you who make dhalpuri may find that the instant yeast is a bit strange.. but I assure you that you’ll have a nice tender roti which will reheat as if they were just made. I’ve seen my mom not only wrap them in a tea towel, but place that into a plastic shopping bag to eat later that day. If you make a couple batches you can certainly freeze them. I usually place them (folded) into freezer bags and they keep for at least a month in the freezer. Then it’s just a case of nuking them in the microwave to reheat. However when reheating in the microwave, don’t put the full time at once. I usually do 45 seconds on high and depending on hot it is I then flip over and heat an additional 40 seconds.
It’s that time again – we’re giving away the following book (see below) to one lucky person for the month of September. All you have to do is leave me a comment in the comments section below (please say something about this recipe) and your name will be automatically entered to win this extraordinary book written by Ramin Ganeshram. About a year ago a reader called me (fella was like FBI finding my home number) to tell me about the wonderful work Ramin did with her book “Sweet Hands – Island Cooking From Trinidad And Tobago”. After some research I not only found out that this book is a best seller on Amazon.com, I was able to make contact with Ramin via Facebook. Long story short, she sent me this copy of her book to give to one lucky reader (along with an autographed copy for moi). Note: This is the 2nd edition so you can expect even more recipes.
There are two bonus ways you can have your name entered in the contest, giving you 3 chances at winning. Along with leaving a comment below, go to the Facebook fan page and/or the Youtube cooking channel and leave a comment there. I don’t care what your comment is, but it would be nice if you could tell me what you like about Caribbean food and if the recipes I share are helpful.
Here are the rules pertaining to winning the copy of “Sweet Hands Island Cooking From Trinidad And Tobago”…
- contest is open to everyone globally
- there are 3 ways to enter your name (see above)
- 1 winner will be chosen at random (if you left 3 comments, your name will be entered 3 times)
- contest is open from September 23 – to midnight September 30.
- winner will be announced within 1 week of the official close date.
- the winner will have 1 week to contact us with mailing address
- we will cover all shipping expenses (standard mail)
I hope you take a moment to enter your name as I’d really like to mail this book out to you. It’s simple, free and a great way to experiment with some exotic and traditional recipes from Trinidad and Tobago in your kitchen. I’ not sure if you know how significant it is for someone to be a best seller (always sold out) on Amazon, but I assure you that it means that Ramin’s work is in great demand. Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be able to do a full review of this book, but there’s something more exciting from Ramin I’d like to share with you the first week of October. Stay tuned and good luck to everyone who enters.
There’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.
5 cups of flour (all purpose)
3 tablespoon 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
My early years in Canada saw me falling in love with pita, as it was the closest thing to sada roti that I could get. Hamilton in those days had 1 or 2 Caribbean restaurants, but none of them served any type of roti. The same can be said today, except the two that I know that does have roti now, absolutely sucks! In many homes in Trinidad and Tobago Sada roti is consumed as cereal or toast and eggs would be in North America at breakfast time.
It’s a common misconception that Sada roti is difficult to make and people avoid trying. Today I’m here to prove that making roti is very simple and only takes about 30 minutes. You can even cheat and use a food processor to prepare the dough
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
dash of salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups water (see note below)
Note: This recipe is courtesy of my mom and she mentions that for some reason the flour we get in North America seems to need more water than the flour that’s available in the Caribbean when kneading. If you’re following the recipe and you’re based in the Caribbean, please take note to use a bit less water. I was also told that the cooked roti also remains much softer in the Caribbean than in North America.
In a fairly large bowl combine the flour and baking powder, then start adding the water as you knead the dough. Remember to dust your hand with some four to help prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. The goal is to create a large smooth dough ball. I didn’t add any salt, but I’m sure some recipes will call for salt. That is entirely up to you. Keep dusting your hand with flour as you work the dough. If you’re using a food processor, simply add all the ingredients and combine. Tip add 3/4 the water to start and add more if necessary so you won’t end up with a soggy dough.
It may take about 5 minutes to knead the dough, after which cover the bowl and allow the dough to “soak” (rest) for about 15 minutes, as my mom would say.
The next step is to divide the dough ball into 3 smaller (but even) balls, as the big one would be too big for the roti we’re making. These would be perfect for the size of roti we have planned.
The traditional way to cook roti is by using a tawa (see pic below), but if you don’t have one, no worries. You can achieve the same result using a big non-stick frying pan. Heat the tawa or pan on medium to high heat. If this is the first time you’re making roti or working with dough, I’d recommend that you get the first roti ready first before heating the tawa. This way if you run into any problems rolling out the dough, the tawa will not over heat.
Dust a clean surface on your counter top (must be dry), get one of the smaller dough balls then flatten a bit and work the dough with your fingers (as I’m sure you’ve seen pizza makers do) . Continue dusting with four to avoid sticking and start rolling with a rolling pin. Flip over, dust with flour and roll again. We’re trying to get a well rounded (don’t worry about shape at this point.. you’ll perfect it soon enough) roti shape. The diameter will be between 10-12 inches and about 1/4 inch thick (or less)
Gently pick it up using both hands and place t to cook on the heated tawa or pan. Allow it to cook a couple minutes on each side, by flipping it as it cooks (you may need to use a spatula to help flip it as it will be hot). You’ll notice 3 things as it cooks.. it will increase in thickness, it will start getting a bit brown and it will start developing air pockets. This will lead you to the final step. Swelling the roti.
There are 2 ways to swell the roti which I’ll share with you below. The traditional way and the easy way
The traditional way I’ve seen my mom “swell” the roti, is by shifting the tawa away from the burner so half the tawa is directly over the flame, then in a circular motion move the roti over the direct flame. So half the roti will be on the tawa itself and half will be moved over the flame. You’ll notice that the roti will create a huge air pocket. This is what we mean when we say “swell” the roti. There’s a more traditional term used for this process, but I don’t recall what it is at the moment. If while using this method and you notice that only a part of the roti swells, press gently on the roti and the air pocket will move throughout the entire thing. Be very careful not to burst any holes, as steam will escape and you risk getting burned.
Note: If you do decide to use the traditional way to “swell” the roti do remember to use an oven mitt to prevent burning your hands and fingers.
The EASY and fool-proof way to swell the roti. After you’ve cooked it on both sides for a couple minutes and it starts to go brown… little air pockets or bubbles will start forming. Remove it off the tawa or frying pan and place it in your microwave (use a tea towel / paper towel or it will sweat on the direct surface), set the microwave on high and cook for about 30 seconds. You’ll be amazed at how fast and perfect it will swell.
Let’s go through the steps again..
Knead flour > allow to rest for 15 minutes > make into 3 smaller dough balls > flatten and cook on tawa for a couple minutes on each side > then swell > enjoy! I told you it was simple!
You’re probably wondering why the big deal about “swelling” the roti. This is so that it becomes lighter and makes a great pocket for stuffing. Using a sharp knife, cut the roti into 4 pieces as you would slice a pizza and stuff as you would a pita sandwich or enjoy slices with your favourite “talkarie”.
TIP: Wrap in a towel or paper towel to store after cooking. The idea is to keep it sealed from direct air or it will go hard and crusty. You can store in the fridge in a zipper bag (wrapped in paper towels) for a couple days and reheat in the microwave. I’ve never tried freezing this type of roti, though I’ve frozen other type with great success.