Ilka Hilton-Clarke


Trinidad East Indian Cooking

Page 1 of 2


Cookbook Index


In Trinidad and Tobago about 41% of the population is of East Indian background  and another 18% of the population is " Dougla", meaning they are part Indian, part African. The Indians brought with them their distinct East  Indian "kitchen". Roti is  a very popular dish in Trinidad and there are shops selling Roti with different curry fillings. However, there are also different types of Roti and I will give you here  recipes  for Dhalpouri, Dosti, Bus-up-shut (Paratha )  and Sada roti.

Please be aware that these are Trinidad-East Indian dishes and are often quite different from East Indian dishes cooked in India.

A suitable flat iron surface like a large frying pan, a griddle, or ideally, a flat iron plate called a 'tawah' or 'plateen'

A brush like a barbecue brush to apply the oil; some simply tie a few strips of cloth to the end of a wooden stick (called a 'puchara')





Marsha's Sada





1) Beef Curry- Chicken Curry- Shrimp Curry

1) Curried potatoes


1) Green Mango Chutney
2) Kutchela


1) Aloo Choka ( Potato choka )

2) Tomato Choka


1)  Sahina
2)  Aloo Pies

3) Pholouri


1) Jalebi

Dosti Roti


1 3/4 lb. White Flour
4 oz White Flour (for dusting)

4 tsp. Baking Powder

2 tsp. Vegetable Oil

Approx. 5/8 pt Water

Vegetable Oil for basting Roti

A pinch of Salt


1)  Sift flour and baking powder together
2) Add salt and mix in thoroughly

3) Make into a soft dough using the water

4) Work  2 teaspoons vegetable oil into the dough

5) At this stage, leave to rest for 30 to 45 minutes

6)  Cut dough into 8 to 10 equal pieces and shape into balls

7) At this stage, leave to rest for another 15 minutes

8)   Flatten two balls, each to about 3" in diameter. Dust flour on one side of one and paste oil on the other. Do the same with the other ball.  Join the two (like two slices of bread when making a sandwich), placing the side with the flour against the side with the oil.

8) In the meantime start the fire and get the 'tawah' hot.

9) Roll out the dough to about 7" in diameter , place on hot 'tawah' and cook on both sides, basting a little vegetable oil on both sides, using the 'puchara' .  Cook until light brown .  Remove from 'tawah' and split open

10) Keep bakes hot by placing in a damp dish cloth in an insulated container. Serve hot.


Dhalpouri Roti


For Roti skins:

2 lb. sifted white flour
4 teasps baking powder

1/2 teasp. salt

vegetable oil for basting

1 pint water for kneading

For Roti skin filling:

1 lb yellow split peas ( Dhal )
1 head garlic, minced

1 teasp turmeric powder

2 tsp cumin ( geera)- ground

2 pints water

salt to taste


1)Wash Dhal ( yellow split peas ) and drain
2) Cook Dhal with Turmeric for about  15-20 mins until the Dhal grain can be easily crushed between fingers, but don't let it melt

3) Grind Dhal on a  flat stone or in a hand mill

4) Combine  salt,  ground geera and ground Dhal in a large bowl and set aside

5) Mix flour with baking powder and salt

6) Add enough water and knead into a soft dough- rest dough for about 45 mins.

7) Cut dough into 15 equal pieces, then shape into balls- rest again 15 mins.

8) Flatten each  ball a little and put 2-3 heaped tablesps. of Dhal mixture into the middle of each flattened ball.

9) Fold over edges to hide the Dhal in the middle and re-shape into balls

10) Roll roti skins into  8" diametre circles with rolling pin

11) Heat tawah on stove and  cook roti skins on both sides until they rise like a balloon and are slightly brown-While cooking skins, baste on both sides with about 3/4 tablesp vegetable oil, using the puchara, and turning skins over several times, e.g. heat tawah, baste  tawah with oil, place skin on, cook, turn over, baste top side of roti, turn over, baste top again and turn over again.


You can serve roti skin at the side or stuff skins with curry and side dishes like  curried potatoes, curried channa , curried mangoes or curried pomme cythere etc. In Trinidad the different items can be served on cleaned banana leaves. The roti skin is used to  wrap items in and food is eaten with your hands only, no cutlery

Go back up


Buss-up-shut ( Paratha )

This roti skin is  called Buss-up-shut because it resembles a bursted-up shirt


1 lb flour ( 4 cups )
4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1   1/2  oz ghee, maragrine or butter

1    3/4   cup water ( approx.) for mixing


1) Sift flour together with baking powder and the salt
2) Add enough water to make a smooth, soft dough, knead well

3) Cover dough with a damp cloth and  rest for 30 mins

4) Knead dough again, then devide into 4 equal parts and  shape into balls

5) Flour board and roll out dough to about 9"  in diameter, then spread with ghee, margarine or butter and sprinkle with flour

6) Make a cut  from the centre of the circle to the edge, then roll dough into a tight cone. Push top  of cone in and  tuck in bottom and  press cone flat- Rest for another 30 mins

7) Put tawah on stove and heat up- brush with ghee, margarine or butter

8) Roll all the cones out on a floured board into  circles, 1/8" thick

9) Place on tawah and cook on both sides, basting with ghee ( marg. or butter) on both sides, using the puchara

10) Place on a clean kitchen towel and "bust up" roti with your fists or  end of rolling pin  ( until roti resembles strips of a busted-up shirt)

Go back up


Sada Roti

Sada Roti is eaten by Indians mostly for breakfast with choka or any kind of curried dish. Choka is  pounded and roasted vegetable.


1 lb flour
4 tsp baking powder

1/2 pint water

1/2 tsp  vegetable oil

pinch of salt


1) Use large mixing bowl and sift flour into it, together with the salt and the baking powder- mix well

2) Knead flour mix with water into a soft , smooth dough

3) Pour oil into the palms of your hand and rub over dough - rest dough for 15 mins

4) Devide dough into 4 equal parts and shape into balls - rest another  15 mins

5) Heat tawah on medium fire

6) Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a disk, about  1/4 " thick, making the edges thin

7) Put on tawah to cook sada roti- turn roti on both sides, using pot holders ( the mitten type). Toast edges of roti over fire to make sure they are cooked.

8) Keep turning roti until brown on each side.

Serve with choka and/or any curried dish

Go back up

Marsha's Sada Roti


4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups water



Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Add water gradually, mixing until soft and pliable into a smooth dough.

Knead well and place on floured board.

Cover with damp cloth and leave for 1/2 hour.

Divide dough into four pieces and shape into round balls.

Roll ball of dough on floured board into a flat round shape, 1/2 inch thick.

Place on tawa, (flat, round iron griddle made especially for cooking roti) pulling outer edges.

Cook on moderately hot tawa until dough becomes brown and rises.

Turn to other side and cook.

Serve with curry or butter or anything!!

 Go back up

Bara Roti


1 lb flour
approx 6 oz water for kneading

2 tablesps yellow split peas ( dhal )

1 tablesp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 onion chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 teasp turmeric powder

pepper to taste

oil for frying




1) Wash dhal  and soak in warm water to cover  for about two hours
2) Put in  fine strainer and wash again ( so you won't lose the skins of the dhal)- retaining  the water

3) Place dhal, water, onion, garlic and pepper in a blender and blend for 3 mins- Set aside

4) In a mixing bowl place flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric, mix well

5) Add  blended dhal- mix again

6) Knead like roti and shape into small balls ( makes 23-24 baras )

7) Roll out thin with rolling pin and deepfry in oil on medium heat

8) Drain off baras on brown paper

9) Serve hot with any chutney, channa or vegetable

NB Bara roti is used in  making Doubles

Beef Curry

1 1/2 lb. beef, cut into cubes ( trim off excess fat )
2 large onion

1 inch piece fresh ginger root

3 cloves garlic

2 green chili peppers

3 tablesps. oil

4 tablesps curry powder

salt, pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups coconut milk


1) Finely chop onions, ginger root and garlic, remove stalks
and seeds from chili peppers and chop finely too

2) Heat oil in heavy pot, add the chopped ingredients and
stir fry until light brown

3) Add curry powder and continue frying for a few min more
( may have to add a little water so that the spices will not burn )

4) Add meat and continue stirring until it is well browned 
and coated with the spice mixture

5) Add salt and pepper to taste and continue stirring

6) Add coconut milk, stir thoroughly, then reduce heat
and cover pot. Cook on low until meat is tender 

( about 1 1/4 hours ).

7) Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve with plain
boiled rice and Mango Chutney.

Pork Curry- Prepare same way

Chicken Curry- prepare same way- but with less cooking time

Shrimp Curry- prepare same way- but shrimp only cooks a few minutes.

In Trinidad, we also cook  curried goat, pork, agouti, deer , lappe, manicou  and iguana.

Curried Potatoes


1 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped finely

1 tomato, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons curry powder or more ( to taste )

water, about 1/2 cup

salt to taste

1 hot pepper

2 tablesps oil


1) In a heavy bottomed pot or iron pot heat the oil

2) Add onion and garlic and saute until soft but not brown

3) Add curry powder and fry for about 1 minute, then add 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking until mixture has thickened

4) Add potatoes and mix well with the curry

5) Add tomato, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes more

6) Add water to cover, lower heat and cook potatoes until soft, adjust seasoning to taste

Green Mango Chutney


6 green mangoes
1 hot pepper

lime juice

3 cloves of garlic

1 leaf chadon bene ( optional)

1 small onion

1 chive



1) Wash mangoes and peel skin off 3 mangoes

2) Grate the 3 peeled and the 3 unpeeled mangoes very fine

3) Add salt, finely chopped hot pepper and lime juice to taste

4) Peel and crush garlic and add to mixture with chopped up chadon bene, onion and chive

Aloo ( potato) choka


1 lb potatoes
1 finely diced onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teasps oil

1 pint water

1 fresh hot pepper

salt to taste


1) Peel, wash potatoes and cook in 2 pints of   water until soft- then drain

2) Mash potatoes and add salt

3) Mix in the oil, garlic, onion and hot pepper.

Method 2

Heat oil, add onion and  garlic and saute until soft, but not burnt, then add to the mashed potatoes and hot pepper-

NB You can use green bananas or eddoes  instead of potatoes.

Tomato Choka


1 lbs tomatoes
1/2 hot pepper

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablesps oil

salt to taste


1) Boil or roast tomatoes for about 10 mins.

2) Drain off water and peel tomatoes, then mash them

3) Add onion and pepper and mix well

5) Heat oil in frying pan, add garlic until light brown, taking care not to burn it

6) Take off the fire and mix  with the tomatoes

Serve with Sada Roti



1 lb ground Dhal ( yellow splitpeas flour)
1 lb flour

saffron powder

1 teasp yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup of water with 1 teasp. of sugar

salt to taste

2 teasps. ground Geera ( or parch seeds in a hot frying pan without oil, then crush with a rolling pin )

1 medium onion, minced

about 8 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium-sized bundle of dasheen bush, cleaned ( or spinach, or pat choy )

water for mixing

oil for frying



1) Wash and clean bush ( dasheen, spinach or pat choy), remove hard parts, peel stalks, cut up very fine

2) Mix flour, Dhal, salt and saffron powder ( to taste ), onion and Geera, garlic and dissolved yeast mixture

3) Add bush and mix thoroughly

4) Add water and mix to a soft-sticky consistency, live to rise for no more than one hour

5) Wet your fingers and take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time, flatten and deep-fry in hot oil until golden-brown

6) Take out with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel paper

Serve with Mango Chutney Dip

Aloo Pies ( Potato Pies)

Ingredients :

1 lb flour
2 teasps baking powder

1 teasp. margarine

1/4 teasp salt

water for mixing, start with 3/4 cup

Oil for deepfrying




1 lb potatoes
1 teasp ground geera ( cumin seeds )

salt to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 onion, finely chopped or grated

1 teasp. oil and a little margarine

a little hot pepper sauce


1) Mix ingredients and add water, start with 3/4 cup, then slowly add more until you get a smooth, non-sticky dough

2) Rest dough

While dough is resting, make the filling


1) Peel potatoes and boil in a little salted water (1/2 hr - 40 mins-until soft)

2) Drain off water and mash potatoes

3) Add oil and margarine and the seasonings, which should be mixed together before adding to the potatoes

Method for making the pies:

1) Make balls out of the dough, then roll out to a circle

2) Put a little filling on one side of the dough circle, fold over and seal edges with a fork ( press down fork on edges). The pies should look like crescents. Make sure edges are properly sealed.

3) Heat up oil ( to a depth of 1 ") in a frying pan and deep-fry pies until golden brown on both sides

4) Drain on paper towels and serve with green Mango Chutney.

Go back up


Ingredients :

1/2 cup of split peas powder ( optional )
2 cups flour

oil for deep frying

1/2 teasp. saffron powder ( or turmeric powder )

1 teasp. salt

1/2 pack instant yeast

2 crushed cloves of garlic

water to make a sticky dough


1) Mix all ingredients to make a sticky dough and let rest while making green Mango chutney dip ( or Pomme Cithère dip, if in season )

2) Heat oil and drop in dough by the teaspoons full to fry small balls ( dip teasp. in glass of cold water before picking up dough with it to make dough slide easily into the oil )

3)Deep-fry pholouri balls until gold brown and drain on kitchen towels

4) Serve with  green mango chutney dip.

  • Go back up

( make day before use )


1  1/2 cups flour
cold water for mixing

2 tablsps yoghurt

1 teasp yellow food colouring

2 cups sugar 

2 cups water

oil for deep frying

3 cardamoms

3 cloves


1) Sieve flour, add yoghurt, food colouring and water to make a thick batter to the consistency of thick cream - cover and leave in a warm place overnight

2) Next day , boil sugar, water, cardamoms and cloves for about 10 mins to make a thick syrup - set aside in a warm place

3) Beat the  batter from the night before again.

4) Fill a frying pan with oil and heat  near boiling

5) Put batter in an icing bag- plug hole with your finger

6) Hold bag over hot oil, remove finger and let batter drip into the hot oil in  shapes of the figure 8, spirals, double circles etc.

7) Fry until golden brown ( about 1 min ), on both sides- do not let them get too dark

8) Remove fried jalebis from oil, drain on paper towels, then immerse in the warm syrup, allowing them to soak well, about 5 mins- Outside of jalebis should remain scrisp, so don't  soak too long-

9) Remove from syrup, drain well and place on serving dish

Go back up



25 green mangoes
1 ln salt

1/2 bottle mustard oil

3/4 lb garlic

1/2 bottle white vinegar

1/2 lb amchar massala

pepper for taste


1) Wash and peel  mangoes, remove the seeds
2) Grate mangoes and squeeze excess liquid out

3) Add salt, mustard oil, ground garlic, pepper and massala and vinegar and mix

4) Place in bottles