I have happy memories of Surinam. Whenever I think of Surinam I am reminded of the food that I enjoyed while I was there and the memories comes alive whenever I have visitors from that place. We discuss food and relish the virtual taste, sometimes exchanging notes. I used to love the street food the most, there is a different kind of pleasure while eating in the open air on the wooden benches.
Just next to my house (in Surinam) lived a Javanese family who ran a restaurant. On the days when I was too lazy to cook, I would order duck Bami with mixed vegetables from my balcony. She would pack a large portion which would last me for two full days, full value for money.
The food in Surinam had a very peculiar taste that I have never been able to find anywhere else. My favorite used to be chicken roti. I have often asked my cousins (who live there) to pack me the cooked Surinamese food whenever they make their trip to India but they just laugh it off.
They do come and cook for me whenever they visit me, replicating the taste as closely as they can but alas! It is just not the same.
The main taste of this chicken gravy is in Surinam masala. I must ask my cousin to send me this
I asked my cousin to send me the picture of Roti Chicken so that I could drool on it and she sends me this.
Well, this is not the way we used to get back then. It used to be dhal roti brushed with the layer of chili chutney and stuffed with chicken gravy, potatoes and beans, folded like a roll.
I came across this blog of Kayotic Kitchen and she explains step by step, the method of preparing this dish, which is quite time consuming but very tasty. She has used potato stuffing for roti pancakes but the authentic roti is the one made of dhal.
To make the stuffing of Dhal, you need to soak split peas overnight then boil until soft. Place the boiled split peas in a food processor, add cumin, onion, garlic and salt, process until well-blended but not pureed.
A similar Roti chicken is also sold at Trinidad roadside stalls, but the taste is a bit different. I think the taste lies in the curry powder and how it is used. For example, in Tom’s recipe of Chicken curry, he has mixed curry powder and turmeric powder, added water and stir fried till it becomes a thick paste and then added the other ingredients. His chicken also has mustard paste in the marinate mixture. But the results are equally good.
Some things are best enjoyed when cooked by native chefs. Also the person who has tasted, can cook it too if she has the right ingredients, maybe I can too, if I have the right ingredients….
Hello…you hear me?? My family in Surinam?? …So now you know what to get for me when you visit me in India.