Recipe #26: Rotli

Whoever said ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’ was, though I’m sure well intentioned, astonishingly wrong! This is particularly true in the case of my botched attempt to make Rotli.

Now I’m no expert in cultural foods or whatever but being from a Caribbean country which is heavily Indo-centric, I’ve come to LOVE Indian foods, especially Roti. SOOOO fast forward a few years and I’m living in the UK when my Gujarati friend invites me to her home. Not only does her mom make Rotli for me, but she makes it look easy (a VERY dangerous observation for an amateur foodie). The next weekend inevitably finds me neck deep in flour and butter…

The result:

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I suppose it is some consolation that it was more damaging to my ego than to my gut…

Everything was wrong, I didn’t use chapatti/rotli flour- I used regular flour; I didn’t have a gas stove with a flame burner- I used an electric; I didn’t have the right kind of rolling pin- a nice thin smooth one- I was using a clunky, heavy one; I didn’t use ghee, I used butter… sigh. I suppose the entire operation was a recipe for disaster all along. It was a total flop, and a complete disappointment… ironically, it was also totally and completely all eaten up before nightfall haha- although it didn’t look right AT ALL, it didn’t taste half bad!

Anyway, the least we can do after showing you the absolute WRONG way to go about making Rotli, is show you the work of a pro… perhaps she can tell me what I did wrong! But beware, Gujerati Girl also makes it look easy! x

It’s a picnic, Guyanese Style

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the 11th Annual Guyana Family Fun Day and Picnic at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington. Every year, a group of Guyanese families and friends living in the Northwest US and Vancouver Canada, come together for a day of good food, great music, dancing and games for kids and adults alike.

All foods are home made by men and women living in Washington State. A vegetarian friendly family of dishes was also available. It is truly a team effort fueled by the selflessness of many families working round the clock for days on end.

Here are some of the fruits of their labors:

Bara

Pone

Channa – almost gone!

Macaroni and Cheese

Dhol Puri

Manual ice cream maker

Electrical Ice Cream Maker

There were several other dishes that I didn’t have time to photograph. By the time I got around to it, 200 hungry tummies had already devoured pine tarts, coconut buns, cook up rice, all manner of curries, sorrel drink and mauby.

One highly anticipated dish every year is the home made ice cream made right at the park and enjoyed after all of the games are completed. We have made home made ice cream by hand before but this experience is unique since real life ice cream makers were brought out : both manual and electric.

It was interesting that the manual ice cream maker finished long before the electric ones.

If any of you readers are in the US Washington State area and would like to be notified about Guyanese events put on by the Guyana Heritage Foundation, please email gfgseattle at gmail dot com and ask to be added to our mailing list.

Slainte Mhath!

The only thing you add to whisky is a little bit of water, or more whisky

This was part of our introduction to Scotch Whisky on a recent tour of Glengoyne Distillery in the Scotland Highlands. We learned so many compelling facts on this tour

  • the distillery is located at the base of Dumgoyne Hill – a name that was not used in the Distillery name for obvious reasons 🙂
  • the color of whisky comes from the maturing process. They mature the alcohol in oak barrels from Spain which had been previously used to store Sherry. Over the years, the various flavors and colors from the wood seep into the alcohol giving whisky a burgundy color. The longer the maturing process, the darker the whisky.
  • Most whisky distilleries produce more in a week than Glengoyne produces in a year.  In fact, Glengoyne distills whisky slower than any other single malt distillery. However, there is a quality in this slower process that has been recognized. Queen Victoria’s dinner tables featured Glengoyne whisky exclusively up until she died.
  • Glengoyne specializes in 10, 17, 21 and 40 year old bottles. One bottle of 40 year old whisky commands £3760!

We enjoyed the rich taste of Glengoyne’s Scotch but what we savored more was whisky flavored fudge. Readily available in any tourist shop are several brands of whisky infused fudge and other sweets. I love how the artwork on this particular brand (Gardiners) mirrors exactly the layout and buildings of the Glengoyne distillery. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit of whisky in every dessert we had while we were in Scotland.

At the end of our tour and coincidentally, our visit to Scotland, we were taught the meaning of Slainte Mhath – pronounced, believe it or not, as ‘Slan-guh Vahh’ . It is a Scottish Gaelic term for ‘Cheers’ or ‘To your Health’ – the perfect way to end a blog post or a pleasant visit with friends.

Slainte Mhath on the days that we see you and the days that we don’t

Germany: Currywurst

I shall never understand Currywurst.

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Coming from the Caribbean where curry is not only a staple, but an art, the casual dusting of raw curry powder on top of ketchup here strikes me as positively profane and bordering on blasphemous.

Most often served fast food/diner/greasy spoon style with fries (and onions so I hear), Currywurst is beloved by many and has become a German tradition. There is even a -wait for it- Currywurst Museum! And if you think the Currywurst Museum is a museum dedicated entirely to the currywurst then you couldn’t be more RIGHT- it is exactly that! It seems this curried sausage has received quite the cult status in Germany and I highly doubt that this will change in the near future. It’s not odd, after all, for countries to have cherished foods which locals revere with great pride and patriotism but which couldn’t seem odder to outsiders.

While most people seem unable to get enough of currywurst, for this sizzling sister, currywurst is more like the worst curry I’ve ever had. At the same time, while it’s clear that I don’t ‘get’ currywurst, I shall polish off my opinion of it nicely and shelve it in the memorable and honorable annals of weird national dishes along with the French Canadian poutine, the English banger, the American hotdog and perhaps even the Jamaican patty… actually I take that back, I get the Jamaican patty!

Don’t take my word for it though, find out for yourselves! Germany would be glad to have you!