[Vuda Point Marina, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands; 17°40.88'S, 177°23.21'E]
Fiji's population is nearly 50% ethnic Indian. Most of this faction is long established in Fiji with many generations born and raised here. Fijian society reflects this ethnic mix and Diwali, or the Hindu Festival of Lights, celebrated throughout the world, is a national holiday in Fiji. Traditionally, there are five days of Diwali and the date changes every year as the day is calculated according to the position of the moon.
The legends surrounding the holiday are many but, in the Hindu religion, light signifies goodness and this makes Diwali a festive holiday. Stores are decorated in blinking lights and there are displays of Diwali cards and gifts. Most prominent of these displays are those of fireworks, candles and clay oil lamps called diya. According to one Fijian Diwali website, "the lighted diyas bring the supernatural brightness and joy with the hope of finding light in darkness, achieving knowledge where there is ignorance, and spreading love amidst hatred". What a lovely idea!
Diwali is a time for families to dress in their best and to gather and to share fine food and auspicious gifts. Amongst the staples of Indian cooking in Fiji is the bread called roti. We have enjoyed these soft lovely breads with intensely-flavored curries during many memorable Indian lunches. In recognition of Diwali, we sought a simple recipe for roti to add to Our Galley. This recipe is from: www.showmethecurry.com
Roti is yet another type of unleavened Indian bread that can be enjoyed with any vegetable or curry. Roti, as they are known in Gujarat, India, are rolled very thin making them light and soft. They are cooked in two different steps — first on a tawa (or skillet) and then finished off on the open flame making them balloon up. Try these wonderfully soft and fluffy rotis, or rotis but be sure to make plenty — they go fast!
Whole Wheat Flour (Chapati Flour) – 2 cups
Salt – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oil – 4 tsp
Warm Water – 3/4 cup
All-purpose flour – for rolling and dusting
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix chapati flour and salt well.
2. Add oil and mix until all lumps are gone.
3. Add warm water a little at a time to form a medium soft dough ball. Do not overwork the dough.
4. Add few drops of oil and coat the dough ball. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
5. Heat tawa or skillet on medium heat.
6. Knead the dough once and divide into golf ball size balls.
7. Dip one ball into the all-purpose flour to coat and roll it out into a thin disc. Keep dipping the roti into the dry flour to prevent it from sticking to the rolling surface.
8. Shake or rub off excess flour from the roti and place it onto the hot tawa.
9. Flip to the other side once you see bubbles appear on the surface. Allow it to cook for 10-15 seconds.
10. Increase the stove heat to high, gently pick the roti up with tongs, remove the tawa off of the flame, flip the roti over and place onto an open flame.
11. The roti should balloon up. Flip it over and cook on the other side.
12. Place the cooked roti into an insulated container and smear it with Ghee or clarified butter and repeat the process for the remaining dough.
Makes approx 12 roti.