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Manna from Heaven


© 2021 Norman Van Aken

Yield: 20 (3-4 inch) rounds

When nearly four hundred Asian Indians came to Trinidad as indentured servants in the mid-1830s, they brought their customs and flavors with them. Soon many other islands welcomed their cuisine, and now this delightful, slightly puffy flatbread is found increasingly across the Caribbean.

3 cups ­all-­purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup cold water

Canola oil for cooking the roti

Set up an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl. With the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually incorporate the butter, about 1 minute (you can also use a pastry cutter or a fork or potato masher). The dough should resemble coarse crumbs. With the mixer still on low speed, drizzle in the water, mixing until the dough comes together, then knead for 30 seconds. Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 20 portions and shape each one into a ball. Dust your work surface generously with flour. Roll out each portion into a 1/6-inch-thick round. Set aside on baking sheets.

Lightly grease a large nonstick skillet with canola oil and set over ­medium-­high heat. Cook, one or two roti at a time, depending on the size of the skillet, for 60 to 75 seconds per side, until beginning to turn golden brown. Serve hot.

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