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

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,” 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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