Roti is the word for bread in several regions of India, Africa, the West Indies and Malaysia, and the bread can be filled with a number of savory ingredients.
The roti that is eaten every day is also called Chapati, and is cooked on a griddle. The bread is cooked with clarified butter and is commonly served with spicy chicken or lamb. You can fold the roti once over (so that it looks like a soft taco) in order to hold the meat and vegetables inside, or you can pick up the roti by your fingertips and bring it to the middle of your hand to soak up broth or sauce.
Sada roti, which is eaten in Trinidad and Guyana, is much larger than chapati, and is filled with curried tomatoes, carrot, and herbs along with seasoned chicken or goat. This form of roti is folded similar to a burrito after the filling is added. The sides of the roti are brought to the middle of the bread made in a bread machine, and the bottom and top are also folded over the filling-the roti is often so large that it has to be eaten with a fork and knife, unlike smaller versions that can be eaten by hand.
Practice your exotic cooking skills by preparing and folding parantha. Parantha is a stuffed Indian bread that is layered with vegetables and meat, and is a ‘fancier’ form of roti–layers of bread are actually folded on top of one another with filling in between the layers. To fold the parantha, divide the dough into balls and roll them out so that the dough is about four inches around. Put a small amount of oil on the rolled out portion of dough and spread your filling around evenly-then roll out the remaining dough ball and place it on top. You can fry the bread in a skillet, spreading oil on the cooking surface to give the bread a crispy edge. There’s no need to fold the bread all the way over after taking it out of the skillet, but you can curve it slightly in order to dip the parantha in sauces or chutney.
Roti can also be served like an appetizer if the bread is smaller, which means they make great party food. Simply fold the roti in a small square after filling it, or roll it in a cylinder shape–bring all the corners of the small roti to the center, and seal the edible package by tying a string of fresh herbs around the top for great presentation. You can use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour in order to get an additional serving of fiber in your meals, and many types of roti are dusted with corn flour or ground with chickpeas for vitamin B and iron. You can also add fresh herbs to your roti to enhance the flavor, so chopping up some fresh rosemary and thyme to add to your dough will bring out the flavors of your filling. For a dessert that is low in sugar, add some cinnamon to the roti and serve with low-fat yogurt. (I suggest making your own yogurt)
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