How to Make Sada Roti

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The word for bread in several languages spoken in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bengal, Africa and the West Indies, roti comes in many shapes, sizes and flavorings. A simple mix of flour, water and baking powder is all it takes to make Sada Roti, the Trinidadian and Guyanese variety. So get thee some flour and roll with my Sada Roti-inspired recipe below.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 ½ cups of flour
  • 4 ½ tablespoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic salt (optional)
  • 2 cups of water (or a large drinking glass full)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
  • Clean towel
  • Rolling pin
  • Skillet
  • paper towel or napkins
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. (You could also use a sifter; I don't have one, so I use a whisk and mix by hand.) Throw in the garlic salt if you wish; just bear in mind your hands will smell like garlic.

  • Add water - enough to moisten (but not drown) the dry ingredients. You can also add the olive oil at this point. Set the rest aside; you'll definitely need it.

  • Stir with a wooden spoon the moistened ingredients. You'll make about one rotation if you've followed instructions thus far; the ingredients begin forming a dough and put stirring to a halt.

  • Speaking of which: Stop. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Dry with a clean towel and return to the mixing bowl.

  • Dive in. Begin kneading the tough sticky stuff with your hands. Remove air pockets and soak up all of the water. Pour some more if there's still flour at the bottom of the bowl. Note: Your hands will very quickly resemble webbed feet. Grab your clean towel and dry rub it off; washing in water will only make a paste.

  • Once you've formed a smooth dough, set the bowl aside and take a 10-minute break. I use this time to wash my hands and prep my skillet. Spray the pan and set it aside.

  • Return to the dough. It should be duller in sheen and like Play-Doh to the touch. Knead some more and begin separating the dough into balls. Aim for about 8 fist-sized blobs. Take another 10-minute break; change the CD or mp3 playlist.

  • Wash up and prepare your dough-rolling space. Sprinkle your rolling board or countertop with flour and roll your pin over the space to collect its necessary dusting. Roll out each ball into a flapjack-like disk as wide as your open hand.

  • Set the stove on medium and slide a dough disk onto the skillet with a wide spatula. Within 15 seconds you should start to see bubbles forming; flip it over. The underside should be golden brown and speckled from pan. After 15 more seconds, scoop the bread up with your spatula and transfer it to a large plate. Lay a piece of paper towel over the bread.

  • Toss another ball of dough onto the skillet and repeat. Place that piece on top of the paper towel and cover this new disk with another sheet. Go through this motion until you've made bread of all of the dough.

  • Take each bread disk - one-by-one - with its paper towel piece and pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds. Pull it out with tongs (Careful, these puppies are hot.) and set the little "loaf" into a basket.

  • Arrange in a bread basket and serve with your favorite spicy dish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Traditional Sada Roti is made with the all-purpose variety, but try whole-wheat flour for a hearty dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutty flavor.
  • Sada means plain. Your roti doesn't have to be: Add rosemary, basil, cilantro or cinnamon to best compliment your main dish.

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