Sunday, July 25, 2010

4 Girls Roti Shop, Roti Hut

A guilty pleasure of mine is the occasional Trinidadian style roti.

What is a roti? A roti can be curried chicken, goat, beef, potatoes, pumpkin (virtually any combination of meats and or vegetables) wrapped in a dhalpuri roti. A dhalpuri roti is type of wrap similar to a tortilla, with a stuffing of ground yellow split peas and spices. The stuffing is pushed into the roti dough and sealed. When rolled flat, the filling is distributed within the roti.

I recently tried a local roti joint called 4 Girls Roti Shop (113 Dundas St W) in Whitby and one I have visited quite a few times in the past, Roti Hut (351 Pitfield Rd.) in Scarborough.

I ordered a potato and chickpea roti from 4 girls and it was ready in a couple of minutes. Even though their location has a steam table out front, all of the preparation is done in the back. Actually, they have no food prepared out front and the steam table has been unused both times I have been in.... Instead, I'm pretty sure the rotis are assembled cold and microwaved on order, a little sad.

The roti after taxes came to $7.50 which is a little expensive for a vegetarian roti in my opinion, but, it is a generous portion. The dhalpuri itself has a homemade quality about it. It's very tender and the outer layer of flour is very thin and delicate. The filling is very nicely spiced and moist with a somewhat complex flavour, I thought I could pick out sage and thyme notes. I added hot sauce which gave it a pleasant tingle of heat without being too hot. I really liked this roti, price withstanding.


The potato roti from the Roti Hut was $5.60 after taxes, a little more reasonable, but, it was smaller than the 4 Girls roti. The roti is ordered and prepared in the back, the fillings are in pots on the stove and the dhalpuri is taken from a warmer and prepared on the spot, no microwave involved. The dhalpuri was much more tortilla like. It had a tougher skin which did hold together better than the one from 4 Girls, it seemed a little more commercial to me. I guess it's a matter of personal preference...

The filling was much thicker and pasty than that from 4 Girls, it had a nice bite of curry but also has a somewhat vinegary taste to it. Overall, I think the consistency was a little off putting and the vinegar taste (possibly from the hot sauce) knocked my overall opinion of this roti down a little bit. I hold the Roti Hut near and dear to my heart but I sadly didn't like this roti all that much....


Monday, July 19, 2010

Oyster Po' Boys

I picked up a 2 pound tub of shucked British Columbia C. gigas oysters from Beaver Fishery Inc. in Scarborough to make fried oyster po' boys.

What is a po' boy?

A po' boy is a Louisiana specialty. A sandwich usually made with fried seafood (oysters or shrimp but can be made with roast beef, chicken, or even burger patties) served on a baguette or french style roll. Additional toppings can be lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

I recently found a recipe by Sunny Anderson from her show Cooking For Real and decided to try it out. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly as written. I did add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and used a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt in the flour dredge.

The coating was excellent, only, I felt it needed a little more seasoning and a touch more salt. The remoulade was great, I didn't have capers so I added a second tablespoon of dill pickle juice. I didn't find it to be spicy at all, so, the title is a touch misleading..... Whatever! With a few tweaks next time the recipe will be a definite winner.


These oysters were absolutely massive! I bought 2 pounds thinking I'd make a pile of fried oysters for the sandwiches and have a pile leftover for dipping. It turned out I got exactly 12 oysters in the 2 pound tub. Yikes!