Easy Guyanese Paratha (Oil) Roti can be achieved with the perfect recipe! One of the first videos I posted to my youtube channel 6 years ago was a step by step tutorial for oil roti. The video (click here to watch) received over 500 thousand views and has some really good tips for roti making. Like with anything, the more you do it, the better you become at it. Working with roti dough is no exception and over the past 6 years my roti making has evolved to a point where I really understand what makes or breaks a good roti!
In this post you will find:
- Tips on making the best Guyanese oil roti dough, for beginners
- Different types of fat for the best results
- Tips on kneading Guyanese oil roti dough
- Tips for instant oil roti with no resting
- Converting the recipe for bulk
Making the best roti dough, for beginners:
I recently taught my 7 year old son how to make roti. He loves roti. It’s in his top 3 favorite things to eat, right next to my homemade mac and cheese and Papa John’s pepperoni pizza. So I thought, why not teach him how to make the dough? I used some of these tips while teaching him and the whole process was unbelievably seamless so I am sharing it with you.
1. Measure your ingredients properly
As a beginner roti maker it is important measure your ingredients properly, especially the flour. Here is a link with a quick how to on measuring flour and dry ingredients.
2. Use handy kitchen tools
Until you get comfortable with the feel of the flour and the dough, use a whisky to measure your ingredients and a rubber spatula to mix the dough. Yes, I said rubber spatula! Using a rubber spatula really helped my son to navigate the ingredients in the bowl and mix it into a soft dough. With the rubber spatula no tedious kneading was needed and the roti was perfect (see video more details on using a rubber spatula for the roti dough).
3. Use a little bit of instant yeast for your Guyanese oil roti dough
If you are a beginner and quite sure what the roti dough should feel like when kneading or mixing, add a little bit of instant (rapid rising) yeast to the roti dough. This will guarantee that your roti is extra flaky and soft. This is a non-traditional ingredient. Yeast is not used in traditional roti making, but if you are a beginner and want to give it a try it will make a huge difference for you, especially if this is your first time making roti.
4. Use Warm Water to bring the dough together
Warm water (about 110°F) is best for this recipe, especially if you use yeast. It will help to activate the yeast and ensure you have the best Guyanese oil roti possible.
Different types of fat for your Guyanese oil roti
Most Guyanese people use vegetable oil or ghee to make the lois (cone shaped roti dough). My mother uses oil and melted butter combined, and that’s what I used for a long time. In this recipe I used vegan butter (Earth Balance Soy Free Butter) and I loved the layers of the roti with the vegan butter. Over time, I’ve paid attention to outcome of the roti using different types of fat. Here is what I observed:
- Using oil: Using oil (I love sunflower oil) between the layer produced a roti with intact layers. This roti was translucent and very silky, especially if you didn’t allow it to brown on the tawa.
- Using butter or melted butter with oil: Using butter with or without oil made the roti so flaky that the layers fell apart. This is the best option if you are trying to make the Trinidadian buss up shot roti. The roti is soft, with lots of torn (buss up) layers
- Using vegan butter: This is my second best choice. The roti has intact layers with some of it breaking apart and is soft and buttery tasting.
Tips on kneading your Guyanese oil roti dough
Do not knead your roti dough like you would bread dough unless you plan to rest it for an hour or more. Folding the dough over and onto itself will stiffen the dough and make it hard to work with unless it is allowed to rest for a long period of time. For rest results knead your roti dough using my squeeze method (as shown in this video) or better yet, use a spatula to mix the dough and don’t knead it at all.
Yeast or no yeast? Tips on making quick roti with no resting:
If you are a beginner, I highly recommend adding a pinch of yeast to your roti dough, it really helps. Also if you are in a rush and don’t have 30 minutes to rest your roti dough, add the yeast! I’ve made roti in 15 minutes, mixing the dough to oiling it off and cooking it. And because I added a pinch of instant yeast and a tiny bit of (sugar) to feed the yeast, my roti came out perfect. My husband couldn’t believe we were eating roti in 15 minutes, from beginning to end. Now I am an expert level roti maker, so I can move very quickly in the kitchen, but if you just don’t have the time to rest your roti for 30 minutes, please give the pinch of instant yeast a try.
Will the Guyanese oil roti taste yeasty or doughy if I add yeast?
The 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to 3 cups of flour proportion is so small that you will not taste the yeast. I’ve made this recipe countless times with the yeast and no one knew I used yeast unless I told them. These Guyanese oil roti with yeast taste exactly like the ones without the yeast.
Can this recipe work without yeast?
Yes. If you are a purist (I get it, I am this way about many things) and just don’t want to use yeast, I assure you that this recipe works just as well without the yeast. The yeast is a safety net that ensures good results, especially if it is your first time making roti, but you do not need it. In fact I encourage anyone who has use the yeast a couple of times and now has a feel for the dough to go ahead and leave out the yeast and try the traditional way!
What temperature should I keep my tawa on?
I keep my tawa on middle heat and if it starts to get too hot, I reduce the heat to medium low. You will know that your tawa is too hot, when you roti becomes brown after a few seconds on the tawa. You want to give your roti time to cook and develop the brown spots. If your roti gets too brown too soon, it will become hard, crusty and dry.
Best pan for Guyanese oil roti
If you are fortunate to have a tawa from Guyana that works with your stove you are blessed. If you live in the US and can’t find a traditional tawa local, here are some great options:
- A flat cast iron skillet: I bought mine from walmart 10 years ago and it is still going strong. You can also find similar ones on amazon.com, like this one.
- A tawa: Here’s a link to a cast iron tawa online. I haven’t tried it but heard great things about it from friends.
Easy Guyanese Oil Roti (Paratha)
- 3 cups of all purpose flour plus 1 cup for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of rapid rising yeast (optional)
- 1 1/4 cup of warm water (about 110°F)
- 1/4 cup of room temperature fat like vegan butter, ghee or oil
- 1/2 cup of oil for cooking like sunflower, canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (to activate the yeast)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and rapid rising yeast (If using)
- Mix together with a whisk to combine
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the warm water
- Use a spatula to mix the water and flour together to form a soft dough ball
- Turn your dough ball onto a clean, floured surface and slightly knead the dough adding a little bit more flour if needed. See above on kneading tips
- Return the dough ball to the mixing bowl, cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes
- After the dough has rested for at least 20 minutes, divide the dough into 5 equal pieces
- On a floured surface, roll a piece of dough out until it is a large, round, flat disk (like a large tortilla)
- Add about 1 tablespoon of fat to the rolled out dough, brush the fat over the entire surface of the rolled out dough
- Using a knife make an incision from the center to one end of the dough, and roll dough to form a cone
- Tuck the ends of the dough into the bottom of the cone and push the cone tip into the base
- Repeat for other 4 pieces of dough.
- Cover and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes
- Preheat a large skillet / tawah (traditional cast iron skillet for roti) on medium heat
- Roll out one of the buttered roti doughs (oiled off roti) into a large thin disk, about ⅛ inch thickness (like a large tortilla)
- Place roti on the warm skillet or tawah
- Cook until tiny bubbles / air pockets appear on the top of the roti (for about 30 seconds to 1 minute)
- Flip and brush with cooking oil and cook for another 30 seconds (or for as long as it will take to apply the oil)
- Flip again and apply oil to the other side. Cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove from heat
- Clap the roti (if you have those skills) or put the roti in a covered bowl and shake to separate the layers and release the air pockets (see video for how to)
- Serve Warm with your favorite curry