Guyanese Paratha (oil) roti is a staple in most Guyanese households. It is a flaky flat bread passed down from our ancestors and is most similar to a Karela Parotta (for anyone wanted to link it back to Indian). This simple flat bread made of all purpose flour, oil (or ghee or butter), baking powder and water is the definition of comfort food!
Roti can be eaten with anything. Try it with curry: lamb, beef, chicken, shrimp. Or even with veggies: pumpkin, baigan (eggplant), bhaji (spinach), okra/o. Roti with whatever you like: seriously, I've eaten roti with peanut butter, jam, cheese, condensed milk. When you have roti, the possibilities are endless.
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Oil (butter or ghee)
- Pinch of salt (optional)
See recipe card below for exact measurements.
Step by Step Instructions for Paratha (oil) Roti dough
First combine the flour, baking powder and salt if using and mix together well. Then mix a tablespoon of oil into the dry ingredients.
Then add small amounts of water to the flour mixture and pinch together to form a loose shaggy dough.
Continue to add small bits of water and pinch together flour and water until there is no dried flour left.
Then squeeze the bits of dough through your palm until it comes together to form a dough ball.
Continue to squeeze the dough ball in a kneading motion, but do not fold over and knead like bread. Press and squeeze for five minutes until there are no lumps. Then rub a tablespoon of oil over the dough, cover with a damp paper towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Making roti lois/loyas
A roti loi or loya is a ball of prepped roti dough. For paratha or oil roti is is filled with fat and rolled up into a ball.
Start by diving your dough into 5-6 pieces depending on how big your tawah is.
Next on a floured surface roll the dough out until it is a thin circular disk (about ⅛th inch thick). Then cover the surface with about 1 tablespoon of oil.
Add a sprinkle of flour, then make a slit from the center of the circle to the end of the dough disk.
Then fold the dough over and continue to fold until it forms a cone.
Then tuck the free end of the dough disk into the bottom of the cone.
Continue to tuck until all the loose bits of dough are tucked into the cone.
Then turn the cone over and push the tip into the base, until you are left with a loi/loya that looks like the one in the image below.
Another way to make the roti loi/loya is to roll the dough into a tiny log after adding oil and dusting with flour.
Then swirl it around your finger to make a sort of cinnamon bun looking loi/loya.
Then tuck the end under the loi and your are done.
Cooking the Paratha (oil) roti
When you are ready to cook your roti, roll the loi out into a flat circular disk about ⅛th an inch thick, ensuring that the ends are thin all the way around for even cooking.
Then add to a preheated tawa or skillet. Then once it starts to get tiny bubbles on the top, flip and brush with oil.
Flip again and repeat on the other side.
Then flip a final time and let it good for about 30 seconds before removing from the heat.
If you prefer a roti with less brown spots, keep your heat medium low and let the roti cook for 30 seconds or more on each side without getting brown. I prefer my roti with little to no brown spots but I know most people prefer theirs with lots of crispy brown bits like the roti shown here.
Remove your roti from the tawa and clap while it is hot. You can also add it to a bowl with a cover and shake it to release the layers and add to the flakiness.
Easy Roti for Beginners:
If you are intimidated by the whole roti making process and want, try my easy roti for beginners. It is a non traditional recipe that really works. You can find that recipe here.
Printable Recipe Card
Paratha (oil) Roti
- Rolling Pin
- Tawa or flat skillet or griddle
For the Dough
- 4 cups All Purpose Flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon oil may also use butter or ghee
- 1 ½ cups really warm water
- Pinch of salt optional
For the loi/loya
- ½ Cup Oil Use a light high smokepoint oil, such as avocado, extra light tasting olive oil or sunflower oil
- ¼ Cup Flour
- Combine flour, baking powder and 1 tablespoon of oil (butter or ghee) in a large mixing bowl and mix togehter until oil is well combined with the dry ingredieents
- Form a well in the center of the ingredients and add water a little at a time, pinching together with the flour mixture to form a shaggy (loose) dough.
- Squeeze shaggy dough together to form a soft and sticky dough. Continue to squeeze the dough in a slight kneading motion for about 5 minutes. Do not fold over and knead like bread dough. Just squeeze and massage the dough in the palm of your hands and bring it together into a ball or log.
- Rub the remaining tablespoon of oil over the dough, cover dough with a damp paper towel to prevent the top from crusting and let rest for 30 minutes before forming the lois/loyas
Oiling off the roti
- Divide the dough into 5 or 6 pieces depending on the size of your tawa, then working with one piece of dough at a time, place the dough on a floured surface, press with your finger tips to flatten and using a rolling pin, roll into a large thin disk about ⅛ inch thick (similar to a large tortilla).
- Add about 1 tablespoon of oil over the surface of the rolled out dough followed by a sprinkle a of flour. Then using a knife make an incision from the center to one end of the dough, and roll dough to form a cone. Tuck ends into bottom of cone and push the cone tip into the base.
- Repeat for the other pieces of dough. Then cover with a damp paper towel and let rest for 15 minutes before cooking.
Cooking the roti
- Preheat a tawa or large cast iron skillet on medium heat.
- Place roti loi/loya on a floured surface and press to flatten. Then using a rollingpin, roll into a large round disk about ⅛ inch thick
- Place the roti on the preheated tawa and cook until tiny bubbles / air pockets appear on the top of the roti then flip and brush with oil. Once the roti the surfce is completely covered with oil, flip and brush the other side with oil. Then flip again and let cook for 15-20 seconds.
- Remove roti from the heat and clap immediately to release the layers and prevent your roti from getting stiff.
- To clap the roti you can place it in a kitchen towell then smush together with your hands in clapping motion. You may also place in a covered bowl and shake to separate the layers and release the air pockets.
- Making roti the traditional way takes time. For best results, allow the dough to rest so that the gluten activates.
- You can use butter between the layers of dough when making your lois/loyas. But do not use butter to cook your roti as it will burn and the roti will be crispy. You can use ghee to cook the roti if you like.
- Don't let dough sit for more than 1 hour in the first stage or it will get dry and crusty.
- You can substitute 2 cup of all purpose flour for 2 cups whole wheat flour in this recipe.
- Traditionally roti is cooked on a tawa. If you don't have a tawa a flat cast iron skillet works really well.