I am very excited. In December, I'm going to Barbados to visit one of my closest friends (JetBlue had amazing introductory rates from JFK). This will be my first time leaving the country since 1998 and my first straight up vacation (as opposed to traveling for an event) since 2000ish.
Just when I thought I couldn't get more excited about this, I found out about Vegan in the Sun, an upcoming vegan Caribbean cookbook. All those pictures look so delicious, I just want to hop on a plane right now and go to the islands just to eat. I can't do that, but I can test for the book, which is almost as exciting. The first recipe I tried was roti:
I was kind of intimidated by the idea of making roti. There are so many steps and it looks very complicated, but I had the time this weekend (once I was done baking!) so I decided to give it a shot. They really weren't very difficult to make. They were fiddly and time consuming and had many different components to work on, but weren't actually difficult. And they didn't make me nervous like crepes and dosas do, which was an added bonus.
The first part to make is the filling for the skin. It's a spiced up blend of split peas and some herbs, ground up until it kind of resembles cous cous.
Next comes the skin itself, where you make the dough, fill it with the peas and roll it all out, being careful not to let any of the peas escape the skin (kind of like a very thin paratha).
Then there's a spicy potato/pumpkin curry (which is where the other half of that pumpkin went - interestingly, the curry had the same problem as my pie: it was so spicy it was difficult to tell the pumpkin from the potatoes without looking) and a somewhat more mild protein curry, with a chickpea and "chicken" base. I didn't have any TVP chunks or mock meat on hand, so I made seitan using a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's upcoming whole foods/weight loss book (which I'm also testing for). It was nice to do a boiled seitan again, since I'd gotten so used to steaming it. The seitan was marinated in homemade Bajan seasoning (a really interesting blend of fresh herbs and spices; this was my first time working with fresh marjoram. It smells so nice!) and a few other things before being added to the curry.
Ideally, all that should get folded up into a cute little pocket, but as you can see in the photo above, dividing the curry evenly among the roti skins yielded enormous portions that were totally unfoldable. Smaller portions were easier to fold, but I never got it to look cute enough to warrant another photo. Thankfully, what it lacked in cuteness, it more than made up for in tastiness! My appetite for the Caribbean has definitely been whetted.