Monday, April 28, 2014

Recipe: Spices Are Good For You - Roti

Back in January, my husband and I went on a sailing trip with his family to the British Virgin Islands.

Yes, it was amazing.  Yes, the weather was fantastic... and the blue water went on forever.

Of course, while we were there, we enjoyed all the local delicacies.

I could drink bushwackers forever!!  Or maybe until I pass out.
(Which may or may not have happened.)

Well, we didn't enjoy just booze.  I also discovered plantain chips (mmmm, salty, and soooo much better than potato chips) and roti.

I know you're about to ask the same question all of us asked on vacation.  Roti.  Really?  What is it?!

Well, imagine a Caribbean style coconut curry made with chicken and potatoes, and then wrapped up in a burrito shell.  Super delicious.

After enjoying this meal and reading this article about spices and their health benefits, I began to wonder about why those islanders are so happy.  I mean, if they're eating this stuff all the time in their roti, it MUST be why... right?  Check this out:

Cinnamon - strengthens bones and lowers blood sugar
Cloves - soothes your stomach
Ginger - anti-inflammatory, reduces muscle aches
Turmeric - helps with depression

Needless to say, when we came back from vacation, my husband and I decided we NEEDED to figure out how to make our own roti.  And hence, a hybrid of this recipe was born.



Chicken and Potato Roti

  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 hot pepper, such as Scotch bonnet or serrano, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, use reduced fat if you desire
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pack of large burrito shells, 10" size seems to work well


In a medium skillet or saute pan combine the turmeric, chili flakes, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, ginger, garlic powder, mustard seeds, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until spices are fragrant and just beginning to smoke. Remove from the heat, transfer to a shallow plate and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a coffee grinder or spice mill and process until very finely ground. Reserve 6 tablespoons of the spice mixture separately and transfer the remainder to an airtight container and save for another purpose.

In a mixing bowl combine the chicken, 2 tablespoons of the curry powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and set aside, covered, for 20 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and, when hot, add the chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, hot pepper if using, and remaining 4 tablespoons curry powder and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is very tender and shreds easily with a fork, and the sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 1/2 hours.  IMPORTANT - add the diced potatoes about 30 minutes before the stewing is done, too soon and they will turn to mush in the sauce, and you want them to be cooked but still firm enough to hold their shape. When the stewing is complete, stir in the cilantro and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve the chicken and sauce ladled into the center of the burrito shell, then fold both sides over the filling. Fold the top and bottom ends over the sides to form a neat square package, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!! I am all about spices - they are such a great, natural way to add flavor and punch to your food without extra calories, fat, preservatives, etc. My dream is to be able to grow my own herbs, spices, fruits and veggies in my garden!