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Regional Food Specialities 4 – Rotis

June 30, 2012

Here is another of my friend Rose’s special recipes. I’ve mentioned Rose before. She’s nearly 75 years old (and proud of it!) and lives in a tiny house in the centre of Somerset West. Rose has just a small pension to live on and when she wants a little extra cash she will make rotis and curry and sell to her friends and neighbours.

The roti recipe is very simple. The rotis are buttery and delicious and are perfect with any curry. This makes 12 rotis.

What you need:
180g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
20ml oil
150ml water
50g soft butter (It is a lot, but don’t skimp says Rose!)

How you make:
In a large bowl, sift together the flour with the salt, add the oil and mix it about with a spoon. Now add 3/4 of the water and mix together. You want the dough to be quite soft.

Flour your work surface and start kneading. You need to do this for a good 10 minutes or so until the dough is quite elastic. Now roll out into a rectangle that is about 3mm thick and spread the butter evenly over the entire surface. Now roll it up, place on a plate, cover with a cloth a let it rest for about 1/2 an hour while you tidy up. Rose says this is very important in a small kitchen like hers.

Cut the roll into 10 or 12 equal portions, roll into a ball, then roll out to about 2mm thick on a lightly floured surface.

Add enough oil to cover the entire base of your frying pan and over a medium to hot heat fry the roti until browned on each side. You won’t get an even brown…. it’s not meant to be.

Place on paper towel to drain and serve with your favorite curry. Or more simply you can serve with any filling- cheese is nice, so is jam, but curry is best.  Rose usually makes a tasty vegetable curry to fill her rotis, but for a special occasion this is what she will make:

Mutton Curry

Another quite simple recipe, but it does takes a while to make. Mind you, as Rose points out, when it’s cold and raining outside, rather be in a warm kitchen.  These quantities will serve 6 people.

What you need
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1kg mutton (cubed). Or use lamb.
Oil
2 large potatoes in chunks similar in size to the mutton
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
3 medium onions halved and sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water

How you make:
In a bowl mix together yoghurt, cumin, vinegar, ginger, chilli powder and turmeric, then add your meat, cover and marinade in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours for mutton, a little less for lamb.

Add about 1cm of oil to a heavy base pot or stainless steel casserole dish on a medium to high heat and cook the potatoes until browned. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Take out some of the oil, reduce the heat to medium low and add the onions, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic and sugar and cook to soften the onions. Add the potatoes now and the meat to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the water, bay leaves and tomato paste, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Check that there is enough water and add about another 100ml if necessary, stir and simmer for another 1/2 hour. Now check that the sauce is thick and if not, simmer for another few minutes with the lid off.

Rose has promised to make this dish as a birthday treat for us when she turns 75 at the end of next month!

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