Ottawa·Recipe

Brighten up your plate with Caribbean roti

From spicy jerk chicken to fresh seafood, Caribbean cuisine is as dynamic as the islands. For this week's recipe, we'll put some Trinidadian roti on your plate.

Trinidadian caterer puts her own twist on an Indian dish

Myrl Byron folds her roti like an envelope around curried chicken potatoes and chickpeas. (Ash Abraham/CBC )

When Myrl Byron was growing up in Trinidad, household chores were divided weekly among her siblings. 

"I always traded my week for the kitchen duties," Byron told CBC Radio's All In A Day. 

Her chore of choice turned into a lifelong passion and career. 

Byron owns her own catering business, and she shares her love for Trinidadian cuisine with Ottawa's Caribbean diaspora. 

Her signature dish is chicken roti — a staple in homes across Trinidad and Tobago. 

"Roti originated from the Indians who came to the Caribbean. We make our own blend, and put our own twist on it," Byron said. She says that the key to a good roti is the filling. 

Byron blends spices like cumin and thyme with ginger, garlic and green onion for her curry marinade. She serves the chicken curry with chickpeas and potatoes in a roti wrap. 

You can sample Myrl Byron's roti at the Trinbago festival this Sunday at Ottawa City Hall, or you can follow the recipe below and add your own twist on a Trinidadian classic. 

Myrl's dhalpurie (ground split pea roti), serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of split peas.
  • ½ tsp. turmeric.
  • 2 tsp. salt.
  • 3 cloves garlic.
  • 2 to 3 tsp. ground cumin.
  • 4 cups flour.
  • 3 tsp. baking powder.
  • 1 ½ cups water.
  • ¼ cup shortening or ghee for coating.

Method:

  1. Boil split peas with turmeric, one teaspoon salt and garlic until firm. Drain well and cool.
  2. In a food processor, grind to powder.
  3. Add cumin to taste.
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, one teaspoon salt and water to make soft dough.
  5. Knead dough until smooth and set aside for half an hour.
  6. Cut dough in 8 pieces.
  7. Shape dough into balls. Flatten balls and add two to four tablespoons of prepared split pea filling. Pull sides over and close up to form a ball with the filling inside. Sprinkle lightly with flour to prevent sticking. For best results, set aside dough for 15 to 20 minutes before rolling.
  8. Roll out filled balls thinly. Use flour on surface to prevent sticking.
  9. Heat and grease flat griddle or tawah and fry rolled roti.
  10. Cook one minute, turn over and brush with shortening or ghee.
  11. Cook for half a minute longer and remove from griddle.
  12. Repeat for remaining dough.
  13. Serve with curry.

With files from CBC Radio's All In A Day