Is Making Roti Stressful?

>> Saturday 28 April 2007

Here in the Caribbean when we talk about roti, we refer primarily to three types: paratha (oil roti, buss-up-shut), sada roti or dhal puri. For more, see Chennette's Musings on roti.

Several weeks ago, a regular reader of my column asked me to tell her how to make roti. I thought that I'd send her an email with a recipe, clearly outlining the steps I learnt from the women in my family. However, for the past few weeks, I've noticed some my fellow Dining Hall members commenting on various blogs about getting their parathas rolled perfectly round. I learnt also that their parathas (a wide variety) are different from what we refer to as a paratha roti. It has and continues to be such a joyful, delicious education.

One of the things that struck me is that we all shared the drama of getting the paratha roti rolled round. I particularly liked Coffee's suggestion, "Roll a huge chapati then take any round thing which can work as your template, put it on the chapati, and make indentations, remove the excess dough from the side. What you get is a perfect round chapati!!!!!!!"

Where was this brilliant idea back when I was struggling to roll the roti round?!

So this week in my column, I share with you my trials and experiences of making roti. You will laugh and perhaps identify with some of my frustrations or enthusiasm of making roti.

Go on, read the column. Be sure to come back and share your roti-making experiences.

For my demonstrated step-by-step roti-making process, click here.

This is one of the dishes, I made to eat with my paratha roti - sauteed pumpkin with onions, garlic, thyme, pepper, salt and a pinch to sugar to bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin. Enjoy.

Recipe - Paratha/Oil Roti

Yield: 10


  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons oil plus additional oil for oiling and cooking roti
  • Water to knead dough


  • In a large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
  • Drizzle oil in flour and incorporate
  • Add water and knead dough
  • Lightly rub the dough with oil so as not to form a dry film
  • Cover dough and let rest for at least 30 minutes
  • Knead rested dough for about a minute and then cut into small pieces – like the size of a small orange
  • Form into a round disk and roll dough – at this stage the shape does not matter
  • Brush the rolled dough with oil
  • Using a knife or spoon, cut the dough from the center to the end and roll the dough to make a cone-cup shape 
  • Insert the loose end of the dough into the bottom where all the layers are visible
  • Placing the dough on a surface, use your index finger and push in the pointed top of the dough
  • Set oiled dough aside and repeat until all the cut dough is rolled and oiled
  • Cover with a damp cloth to prevent dry film on dough. You can dab the dough with a little oil and cover with plastic if you prefer
  • Let oiled dough rest for at least 30 minutes
  • Heat tawah – medium low
  • Form a round disk of oiled dough
  • Roll into a round circle – turn at 90-degree angles and turn the dough over as you do so (rolling into a circle will take practice so if you can’t get it that way, just concentrate on the cooking.)
  • Place rolled dough on tawah and cook roti (it’s almost like toasting)
  • When you think the first side is cooked, (it should puff up) turn it and brush with oil, do the same for the other side
  • Remove roti from tawah and clap it. 3 quick claps will do.
  • Fold roti and place in basket covered and continue making the other rotis until done
  • Serve hot or at room temperature with your favourite curry or vegetables or with just a dab of butter

Click here for demonstration

All you have to remember is the ratio of baking powder to flour, ¼ tsp baking powder to 1 cup flour. Add the other ingredients using your judgement based on this recipe.

Leafy paratha roti

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