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Official Roti Reviewer … me?? Damn these “roti” places in Toronto

As the new ” official Roti reviewer ” for blogTO, I have to apply some scientific Trinidadian principles to finding the best roti in the GTA.

For instance, in this article about the best Roti in Toronto, there is claim that “Roti” can be from Barbados, Jamaica and India, which is completely false. When one thinks about a roti, one is referring to that which comes from Trinidad. Would I ever look for Antiguan Sushi, American Bulgogi, Indian Pad Thai? Hell no!

Roti… features prominently in the diet of many West Indian countries, especially Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname. West Indian roti are primarily made from wheat flour, salt, and water. They are cooked on a tava. Certain rotis are also made with butter. There are several types of roti made in the West Indies:

  • Sada Roti: Similar to naan. It is cooked on a tava, therefore the bottom is not crisp like that of a naan. Because it is the easiest one to make, it is the most commonly consumed roti in Trinidad. It is a popular breakfast option in Trinidad, in combination with tomato choka, baigan choka (aubergine/eggplant/melongene), and other vegetable dishes.
  • Paratha Roti: A roti made with butter, usually ghee. It is cooked on a tava. Oil is rubbed on both sides, then it is fried. This gives the roti a crisp outside. When it almost finished cooking, the cook begins to beat the roti while it is on the tava, causing it to crumble. It is also called ‘Buss-Up-Shut’ because it resembles a ‘burst up shirt’.
  • Dosti Roti: A roti where two layers are rolled out together and cooked on the tava. It is also rubbed with oil while cooking. It is called dosti roti because the word dosti means friendship in Hindi. This type of roti is not made in Guyana.
  • Dhalpuri: A roti with a stuffing of ground yellow split peas, cumin (geera), garlic, and pepper. The split peas are boiled until they are al dente and then ground in a mill. The cumin is toasted until black and also ground. The stuffing is pushed into the roti dough, and sealed. When rolled flat, the filling is distributed within the roti. It is cooked on the tava and rubbed with oil for ease of cooking. This is the most popular roti. Another version of this is aloopuri, which is made from potatoes.

In Toronto, when one mentions “Roti”, it is meant to refer to the classic Trinidadian “Dhalpuri” stuffed with curry something (Veggie, Meat and no goddamn Tofu). Hence, by definition, this best roti in Toronto list is incorrect at the least.

In Trinidad, finding the best roti is impossible, since everyone has a different recipe, and everyone claims that their curry is the best. For instance, what makes a good Roti? One has to take into consideration some of the following factors:

  • Is the roti skin, crispy or soft?
  • Was ghee or butter or oil used to baste the roti while on the “tawa”
  • Is the “Dhal” (Yellow split peas), seasoned with herbs (Chadon Beni/Culantro/Garlic) or was it fried plainly with salt to taste, then used in the “Loya” before being rolled out.
  • Is the curry in the roti actually tasty? Too salty, not salty enough … how many people taste tested the roti?
  • Was the meat seasoned prior to the curry?
  • How much meat and veggies were in the roti?
  • Was there a proportiate ratio of meat : potatoes in the roti itself?
  • Did they offer Kutchela, Pepper Sauce, Chalta Anchar or other traditional condiments?
  • Were the condiments freshly made or was it bottled crap?
  • Did the roti shop have the right soft drinks to go with the roti i.e. Chicken Roti and a “Red Solo”

In Enterprise Analytics, we have the mantra “You can’t fix it, if you can’t measure it” … figuring out the best roti in Toronto, will require the same scientific rating scale.

Of course, comments and suggestions for my roti scale would be appreciated 🙂

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]

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