I Got (trini)Soul

8am on a Saturday morning, slow gently falling, no car horns, no siren blares, just me, my boy, and the nice toasty bed.

The alarm clock rang and ended that little dream.

I know what you’re thinking. Alarm clocks on Saturday morning-8 am-What is her problem Is she insane? I was thinking it all too. I lay in my bed, listing to the blaring bell sound questioning my motives for a good five minutes. Then I sat up. I had a purpose for such an early wake-up call. My motives were honest. My intentions were pure. I had Caribbean soul food to learn how to cook with a dear friend as my chef companion. I had a diem to carpe and food is always a prime motivator in my book even at 8am on a snow cold saturday. Plus my coffee pot was ready to go.

I met my lady, the lovely B. Martin. on the East side of Central Park. It was a chilly walk over, but it was quiet and empty and my pump-up playlist kept me company. I was ten minutes late, walking into the warm industrial kitchen smelling of curry-scented spice and the heat of the gas stove.

We got right to work, peeling and chopping potatoes for the tater-chickpea curry dish we would later feast upon. True confession-I do not wield large knives with ease. In fact, they scare the knuckles off my fingers. Beth did most of the chopping.

As the curry dish simmered and the husband-wife teaching duo demonstrated and cooked the marinated spicy chicken, we began the main event of the class, the Roti bread.

For those unfamiliar with this staple of island life, roti is stone-ground wholemeal flour bread characterized by its unleavened quality. It is a shape of South Asian cuisine and due to colonization and trading routes also an important part of the Caribbean diet, namely Trinidad and Tobago.

We learned how to make Dhalpuri Roti, which is traditional roti bread stuffed with a pureed mix of yellow split peas, cumin, garlic, and pepper.

The process itself is simple-mix flour, baking powder, and salt gradually adding water until dough reaches a sticky consistency. Then you roll the dough out. Next you form a ball with the dough and press a well into the center which you fill with split pea sache. Lastly you re-roll the dough into a very large and thin disc, similar to a pizza base. Using a hot skillet or stone, the roti is cooked much like a pancake. When the dough begins to bubble, it is flipped and allowed to brown on the other side. This step takes 1 minute at most.

My personal favorite part to this learning experience was the final step

consumption

best served hot with various curry fillings

There is no time like Roti time, even if Roti time means sacrificing up sleepy saturday mornings.

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