The word roti is derived from the Sanskrit word rotika, which means bread. Roti (also known as chapati) is a round flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent made from stonegroundwhole wheat flour, traditionally known as gehu ka atta, and water that is combined into a dough. Roti is consumed in many countries worldwide. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Naan from the Indian subcontinent, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread, as is kulcha. Like breads around the world, roti is a staple accompaniment to other foods. It is normally eaten with cooked vegetables or curries and is thought of as a carrier for them.
We first discovered Roti in St. Lucia, one of the many Caribbean Islands we have dived. Until actually seeing what it was though, I was always a bit reluctant to make it. But now that I know what it is, I am not intimidated at all. Roti is eaten widely across the Caribbean, especially in countries with large Indo-Caribbean populations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. Originally brought to the islands by indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent, roti has become a popular staple in the culturally rich cuisines of these countries. In the Caribbean, roti is commonly eaten as an accompaniment to various curries and stews. The traditional way of eating roti is to break the roti by hand, using it to sop up sauce and pieces of meat from the curry. However, in the Caribbean, the term roti may refer to both the flatbread (roti) itself and the more popular street food item, in which the roti is folded around a savory filling in the form of a wrap. The roti wrap is the commercialization of roti and curry together as a fast-food or street-food item in the Caribbean.
Of course, I made my own version of roti, and made it more like a fusion food. I made my roti from crepes made with a combination of regular flour and garbanzo flour. By making crepes instead of actual roti, they were a little lighter and slightly less filling. My filling was my leftover Indian Chicken with Lentils and Vegetables and I served it all alongside my leftover ribs with lime and tomato glazed ribs. Lime and Tomato Glazed Ribs. It was a typical Caribbean meal right here in the comfort of my own kitchen. It tasted every bit as good as the roti we’ve eaten in various Caribbean Islands too.
Savory Crepes with Garbanzo Flour
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup garbanzo flour
2 TBSP melted butter + more for cooking the crepes
Mix the flours and the salt together. Whisk the eggs, milk, melted butter and water together then add to the flour mixture and combine well. Cover and refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before using. Once you are ready to use it, let it set at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cooking it up into crepes.
To make the crepes, get a small skillet very hot, then add a little bit of butter to the skillet and swish it around before adding the batter. Completely fill the skillet with a very thin coating of the batter and let cook for about 1-2 minutes then carefully flip the crepe and continue to cook for an 1-2 minutes or until it is done. Repeat this process until all the batter has been used and all your crepes are made. Sundried Tomato Crepes with Chicken, Corn and Red Peppers
Once your crepes are made, it is time to fill them and roll them. Place the filled crepes into a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. I added some rice and lentil mixture to the crepes first, then my chicken mixture and rolled them up.
Of course Larry wanted a little cheese on his, so I added some Swiss cheese on top before baking it.
Once the crepes, or in this case roti, are ready, cover them with aluminum foil and bake at 350* F or 180* C for about 30 minutes to make sure everything is completely heated through and gets to an internal temperature of about 165* F. I topped my roti with some more of my sauce and a little fresh cilantro, and served it alongside my ribs. I smooth buttery or crisp chardonnay is the perfect wine choice to go with these, but you could also use a slightly sweeter Reisling too. Both will help cut down the spices of the meal.
Sit back and enjoy. You will have the flavors of India and the Caribbean in the comfort of your own home.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.