Paratha roti, sometimes called "oil" roti, is generally made with five ingredients, flour, salt, water, baking powder, and oil (or some other type of fat). The oil is incorporated into the dough, rolled thinly, and then cooked on a cast iron skillet. Since this bread is popular in Caribbean cuisine, there are many different ways to make it. If you ask five different people from the Caribbean how they make this roti, you will surely get five varying recipes as well as techniques. None are better than the other, they are simply just different methods of achieving your preference.
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, more for kneading
- ½ level tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vegetable shortening (to rub in flour)
- 1 ½ cup warm water, few tbsp more as needed
- ½ cup oil, melted vegetable shortening, or ghee (or combination of any two)
- ½ cup flour for dusting
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Rub shortening into flour mixture until small bits form.
- Add water a little at a time and knead into a soft smooth ball.
- Rub a little oil on the top of the dough ball to prevent from crusting. Cover with a damp paper towel. Let dough rest for minimum 45 minutes.
- Divide dough into equal parts. Roll each dough ball to ⅛ inch in thickness. Brush with oil.
- From one end roll dough to form a log. Take one end and circle the center, tuck end into the center. Let dough sit for 20 minutes.
- Heat tawah or cast iron skillet to medium heat. Roll each dough ball to ⅛ inch thickness.
- Place roti on tawah or skillet to cook. Once roti shows tiny bubbles, flip onto other side and brush with oil. Flip back to the first side and brush with oil. Let roti cook a 20 seconds then remove roti from heat.
- Immediately place roti in a deep bowl, cover with a plate or place in a pitcher with lid. Shake vigorously to release air pockets in roti. You may clap roti with your hands, using your bare hands or a kitchen towel.
*When reheating in a microwave, the moisture from the roti escapes leaving your roti stiff after a few minutes. A trick I use when reheating roti the next day is wrapping the roti in a moist to wet paper towel and then placing in the microwave. The roti will keep its soft texture and not get hard and crisp. If you also have a tip of how to reheat roti, please feel free to share!