Roti is a popular flatbread in the regions of South America that have Indian influences in their cuisine, such as Guyana. Roti is an Indian flatbread — it is a simple dough that is rolled out into a circle and cooked on a hot griddle
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups self-rising flour plus 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus 1 teaspoon and some for pan)
- 1 cup warm water
- Place flour(s) in a bowl. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Add the water slowly, stirring as you go, until the dough starts to come together. Keep stirring, adding a little more water if the dough is dry, until the dough forms a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should be soft, but not sticky enough to adhere to your hands or the counter.
- Let dough rest for 10 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
- Roll out the dough into a large circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Spread about 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over the surface of the dough. Roll the dough up into a long roll.
- Cut the dough into 8 to 10 pieces. Roll each piece out flat into a 6-inch circle. Let circles rest, covered with damp cloth, for 5 minutes.
- Heat a flat heavy griddle or skillet (a cast iron skillet or crepe pan works well) over low to medium heat.
- Roll the first circle of dough out as thin as possible (to about an 8- to 9-inch circle).
- Add about 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Place dough in hot skillet. Cook until bread puffs up and turns light brown on the skillet side, 1 to 2 minutes. Slide bread to the side of the pan with your fingers, and quickly flip to brown the other side, cooking for about 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and place roti in a colander to cool. Cover roti with a damp towel while you cook the rest. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.
- Brush roti with melted butter before serving, if desired. Roti can be reheated just like tortillas: in a low oven, wrapped in foil, or in the microwave covered with a damp cloth.
This is a traditional Guyanese delicacy and appetizer. It’s relatively easy to make and is a way to bring a bit of Guyana to Saskatoon.
- 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable shortening)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp pepper sauce (more if desired)
- dash of garlic powder
- dash of black pepper
- dash of dry parsley flakes
- egg whites for brushing edges
- egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp water)
- Mix 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp curry powder into two cups all-purpose flour.
- Add 1 stick of salted butter and 1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening.
- With a pastry cutter, cut shortening and butter into flour until small pieces are formed throughout the dough. Add about 1/4 cup ice cold water to the dough and knead slightly to form a ball.
- Place ball on plastic wrap, flatten and shape into a square. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Remove dough from fridge an hour before use so it can thaw.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shred cheese and mix in mustard, pepper sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, and parsley flakes, toss and set aside.
- Cut dough into 16 squares for thinner cheese rolls or 9 squares for thicker cheese rolls. Flatten one square and roll into a rectangular shape.
- Brush edges of dough with egg whites. Fill a tablespoon or two on lower half, roll into center then add more cheese. Seal edges.
- Place all cheese rolls on a baking sheet and brush the tops with egg wash.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until rolls are golden brown.
*If you are nervous about the cheese oozing out of the rolls, you can pierce the tops with a fork to allow the steam to escape while baking.
Growing up in Brandon, Manitoba, we used to head into Winnipeg and order Dhal Puri from a vendor at The Forks. Now that I am living in Saskatoon, getting Dhal Puri is much harder so I have learned to get it myself.
In Guyana, as in Trinidad & Tobago, there are a variety of roti(s) and the other popular roti is called Dhal Puri – a roti dough stuffed with seasoned split peas. The dhal puri can be eaten as is or with curry as it’s often done.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 oz shortening
- 1 to 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 cups yellow split peas
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 5 sprigs of thyme, leave removed from stem and chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 hot pepper (optional) I used scotch bonnet
- To make the dough: Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Combine shortening or ghee with the flour( you can use a food processor, hand or knife).
- Add water to mixture. Knead dough for 5 mins. Cover and allow to sit for half hour.
- To cook the peas: Boil peas in a pot of water for 15 mins. Drain. Add garlic, thyme, pepper, geera(cumin), garam masala and salt.
- Place in a food processor and chop until smooth (there should be no grains). Filling should be lose and not a paste. Allow split peas filling to cool completely before filling the dough.
- Place dough on a well floured surface and cut into 6 pieces. Flatten a ball of dough and place 2 heaping spoonfuls of filling in center. Pinch edges close. Repeat with all the pieces of dough.
- Roll out the dough into even rounds about 9 inches ensuring that the filling spreads evenly.
- Place on an oiled griddle or tawa over medium heat. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds then flip.
- Brush the top with oil then flip again.
- Cook on that side for for about 30 seconds until it puffs up and then remove from heat. Place wax paper between each dhal puri to prevent from sticking together.
From the New York Times
The area’s relative obscurity is not just name-related. With a combined population of less than 1.5 million, the Guyana Three are hardly a hotspot for news. If you know three things about French Guiana, it’s probably these: there’s a pepper (and a Porsche) named after its capital, Cayenne; the notorious French penal colony of Devil’s Island was located off its shore; and it’s the site of the European Space Agency’s spaceport, at Kourou. Suriname? Two things: the Netherlands traded it with the English for New Amsterdam, and it’s the only Dutch-speaking country outside of Europe. Guyana? The Jonestown Massacre of 1978.
But as a set, the three entities are a significant anomaly, and a case study in the way that geology and the environment can combine with geopolitics to shape a region’s history.
Since Belize won independence in 1981, French Guiana is the last territory on the American mainland controlled by a non-American power. But in fact, all three Guyanas are Fremdkörper in Latin America: they are the only territories in the region without either Spanish or Portuguese as a national language. These are coastal countries, culturally closer to the Caribbean.
Moreover, these shores are cut off from the rest of the subcontinent by dense rainforest. And that jungle remains virgin by virtue of the Guyana Shield, a collection of mountain ranges and highlands seemingly designed to conserve the interior’s impenetrability . The shield is best known for its tepuis: enormous mesas that rise dramatically from the jungle canopy and are often home to unique flora and fauna (tepuis feature prominently in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World” and, more recently, the animated film “Up.”)
But the ultimate scapegoat for the loneliness of the Guyanas is Pope Alexander VI. It was he who decreed the Papal Line of Demarcation in 1493, dividing the new world between the Spanish and the Portuguese. The line ran halfway between the Portuguese-held Cape Verde Islands and the new Spanish possessions of Cuba and Hispaniola. This border was meant to put an end to the bickering between the two Iberian powers, giving Spain rights to all lands west of the line and Portugal to anything east of it. Divide and conquer, indeed.
It gives you an idea of why Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and Venezuela are so isolated from the rest of the world.
So why do people in my home country of Guyana kill themselves so often.
Guyana, a largely rural country at the northeastern edge of South America, has a suicide rate four times the global average, ahead of North Korea, South Korea, and Sri Lanka. Neighbouring Suriname was the only other country from the Americas in the top 10.
There seem to be a number of reasons that Guyana tops the list, including deep rural poverty, alcohol abuse and easy access to deadly pesticides. It apparently has nothing to do with the mass cult suicide and murder of more than 900 people in 1978 at Jonestown, the event that made the country notorious.
“It’s not that we are a population that has this native propensity for suicide or something like that,” said Supriya Singh-Bodden, founder of the non-governmental Guyana Foundation. “We have been trying to live off the stigma of Jonestown, which had nothing to do with Guyana as such. It was a cult that came into our country and left a very dark mark.”
Just before the WHO published its report last month, the foundation cited rampant alcoholism as a major factor in its own study of the suicide phenomenon, which has been a subject of concern in Guyana for years. In 2010, the government announced it was training priests, teachers and police officers to help identify people at risk of killing themselves in Berbice, the remote farming region along the southeast border with Suriname where 17-year-old Ramdat Ramlackhan committed suicide after quarreling with his father, Vijai.
More recently, the government has sought to restrict access to deadly pesticides, though that is difficult in a country dependent on agriculture. In May, authorities announced a suicide-prevention hotline would be established and Health Minister Bheri Ramsarran said he would deploy additional nurses and social-service workers in response to the WHO report.
I think there are some other factors that I blogged about before like the fact that violence against women is widely accepted.
I got onto one of these today (an Air Canada Jazz CRJ-200) and flew to Winnipeg where I will be taking some training for Safeway as a part of their transition to being owned by Sobey’s. The plane isn’t that large but the flight isn’t that long.
The last time I flew into Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, I was on a flight from Toronto with my family that was part our journey north from Georgetown, Guyana in 1975. Of course that airport is long gone (although Bryan Scott has some great photos of it).
The only bad part of the trip is that while we are in a nice hotel near the airport, I won’t have time to get down to The Forks for some Dahl Puri. That’s on my list for next time.
That belongs to Irfaan Ali, the Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce in Guyana who has to promote Guyana amidst news like this.
Four fishermen from Guyana are feared dead after an apparent attack by machete-wielding bandits who boarded their boat at sea, authorities said Wednesday.
Agriculture Minister Leslie Ramsammy said the attack reportedly occurred off the coast of neighboring Suriname.
The fishing boat’s captain told police that he jumped into the Atlantic as the vessel was being boarded by men with machetes. He told investigators his four crewmates were attacked and apparently dumped overboard.
No bodies have been recovered. But police say the blood-spattered boat was recently found drifting at sea.
Guyana’s fishermen have complained for years about pirates who seize catches and equipment – even their boats. Some of the attacks have been deadly off the coasts of Guyana and Suriname, neighbors on the north shoulder of South America.
Guyana’s government has cracked down on sea piracy in recent years, increasing maximum penalties from five to 25 years in prison.
Authorities have also pushed to have radios and global positioning systems placed on fishing boats to help the country’s coast guard locate vessels during emergencies. But many fishermen have not complied because of the cost.
Earlier this year, the U.S. government donated three go-fast patrol boats to help Guyana’s military battle sea bandits as well as drug and gun smugglers.
On Wednesday, Ramsammy called for greater cooperation between Guyana and Suriname in combating piracy.