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Quick food made with chickpeas and curry: Trini’s national dish “Roti”

Potato Roti

Potato Roti – Amins (Couva, Trinidad)
Photo courtesy the lovely and generous Chennette’s Roti Set on Flikr [1]

This article originally appeared on the Caribbean-Sun website (link no longer available). The image links are unfortunately broken however 🙁 I am sharing it ‘as is’ however I wanted to make a few points first 😛

1. I believe that the author is referring to Patraj’s St. James location, not the area of San Juan.
2. I have taken off the annoying accent character they kept putting over Patraj’s name. Unless he is suddenly from the South of France I have no idea how it ended up there! 😛
3. Current inflation makes my memory fuzzy on the idea of a roti for a $6TT 🙁


Curry sauce instead of ketchup: Rotis in Trinidad are like hamburgers in the USA. The island’s unofficial national dish consists of a delicious curry meal wrapped in thin pastry; its prototype was brought to the Caribbean by Indian immigrants some decades ago. The handy little packets of food have turned into a top seller for a quick snack. But at Siriam Patraj’s, Trinidad’s uncrowned roti king, the popular dish is treated as a true delicacy.

By Bernhard Grdseloff (C) 2005

Connoisseurs won’t hesitate to travel all the way to San Juan, a suburb of Port of Spain, just to get hold of a roti at Patraj’s. At carnival, people queue up at the inconspicuous little restaurant as though there was food to be given away. “Actually there are three types of rotis [2],” the 67-year-old restaurant owner explains. “Sada Roti is served as a side dish, Bussup Shot resembles a cut up pizza, and only for Dhalpouri are the ingredients wrapped up in the dough.”

For the latter popular variety, a ball of dough is filled with ground, split chickpeas, kneaded and rolled out very thinly, and finally baked on a hot stone plate. There are countless different curry fillings to choose from: shrimp, chicken, beef, lamb, mango, pumpkin or capsicum in any combination, mixed with potatoes.

“We use fresh, local ingredients only,” says Patraj, revealing the secret for success of his family-run business. “And despite this, you’ll only pay around 6 TT dollars (about 1 US-Dollar) for a roti at my place”.

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About Sarina [4]

Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes" [5]