West Indies Chicken Roti
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.
DEFINITELY NICE AND DELICIOUS!
Last summer, Nate’s buddy Scott was raving about the Chicken Roti he had on his trip to St. John’s, USVI. Well first of all, lucky kid! How awesome is that to have a trip to the Caribbean? But secondly, finding a resto serving West Indian dishes. One word: Curry. I love love love curries!
I swear, the strapping young buck Scott’s diet consists of his dad’s famous ribs, good seafood, protein powder and curries 😀 He used to claim that my Rendang – Indonesian Dry Beef Curry was his favorite meal of all time. Until… he met and fell in love with the Caribbean Chicken Roti! What?!
I made Rendang for Scott’s birthday last year. (Yes, I do take special orders from Nate’s friends. Especially the ones I like. And yes, I do play favorites.) But this year as he turned 17, Scott requested Chicken Roti. “You got it, bud,” I said happily. I’m a task-oriented person. Having requests from family and friends feels like somewhat of a challenge. So, then off I went researching for recipes as close to the one that he had in St. John’s. And I found it! Not only is it comparable, but super easy. Lots of spices, but oh-so-dang-easy! You cannot get hung up on the amount of spices, because… the result my friend is DELICIOUS!!!
What is Roti? Well, it’s bread brought by the early Indian settlers in the Caribbean islands. It’s usually wrapped tightly around various braised curries. Well, if you’re using this recipe it’s totally optional! The chicken curry is so versatile, you can have it with some basmati rice instead of roti. Especially if you’re short of time, go with the rice. It won’t disappoint I promise. Also for a touch of more flavor in the rice, add some butter and a little bit of salt. And you’re all set!
Guys, this West Indies Chicken Curry is not for the faint-hearted. It’s packed with a lot of flavor and heat. However it’s not ‘cray cray hot spicy’. So, nothing to be scared of… It’s a good dish to make on a cold winter’s night. Your place will be filled with mouth-watering aroma. It brings comfort and envelopes you with warmth and love.
Speaking of warmth and love. This Christmas, why get stuck with the same ol’ dishes? Why not make something different than the ‘stuck-in-the-rut’ ham or prime rib, and the ‘oh-gosh-no’ déjà vu roasted turkey with a sea of side dishes — (which at the end of the night, they all just taste like last year’s Christmas meal, unmemorable). Have Caribbean food. Have Chicken Roti. Why not make this Christmas memorable and adventurous? No one’s stopping you. Not even Santa 🙂
- For the curry
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon organic ground cumin seeds
- ½ tablespoon ground coriander
- ½ tablespoon ground cloves
- ½ tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 10 to 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2” pieces
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded, finely chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 4 potatoes, skinned, boiled and diced into 2" pieces (optional)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- For the roti (breads)
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, plus more for cooking roti
- 1 cup water
- In a small bowl combine all the spices (turmeric, chili flakes, ground cumin, coriander, cloves, ginger, mustard, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon, garlic and onion powder. Reserve 7 tablespoons of the spice mixture separately. Transfer the remainder to an airtight container and save for another purpose.
- In a large bowl, marinate chicken with 3 tablespoons of the curry powder,1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons oil at least for 4 hours, if possible over night.
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When the pot is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Add onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, jalapeño and remaining 4 tablespoons spice mixture and cook, until vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes, if using and season with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Transfer the Dutch oven to the oven. Cook until chicken is very tender and the sauce has become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1½ hours. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve curry over roti or basmati rice.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Combine oil and water. Add this mixture to the well. Using your hands, mix well to form a dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Add water if mixture seems too dry. Sprinkle a little but of oil when it gets too sticky. Divide the dough into 6 balls and set aside for about 2 hours, covered with a damp kitchen towel. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a 9” diameter pie.
- Using a 12-inch griddle over medium high heat, add 2 teaspoons oil. When hot, add dough and cook until brown spots form on the bottom, about 1 to 1½ minutes. Turn the bread and cook on the second side, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a baking sheet and cover with a towel to keep warm while preparing the remaining breads.