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Sada Roti, hot off the tawah

Sada Roti is a daily staple in the Indian Trinidadian diet. Sada roti for breakfast with some fry aloo, sada roti for lunch with curry bodi, sada roti in the after noon with bhaji, or tomato choka. Let’s just say in my lifetime I’ve eaten a lot of this flat bread.

It’s a very simple recipe and does not keep well hence the reason I added the yeast and a little butter. It tends to get dry if made in the morning and kept till lunch. The traditional recipe is very similar to India’s chapatti although Sada roti is bigger in diameter, thicker and contains baking powder but the cooking process I suspect is the same. The traditional thickness of sada roti is around ¾’ but you are free to make it thinner if you like, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Right off the tawah sada roti is fragrant, spongy and delicious. I recommend eating it hot off the tawah, with a little butter.

My first experience with making sada roti probably occurred when I was about five or six when I begged my agee (paternal grandmother) to let me beleh (roll out) the loyah (ball of dough). I was only allowed two rolls of the bilnah (rolling pin) that time. Later when I was a little older I was allowed to finish the rolling process I ended up with square roti instead of the perfectly round ones my agee made. The cooking of the roti was another hurdle requiring much experience and skill to produce the soft, ‘puffed’ result which was produced by a process called ‘saykaying’.

Its been years since then and if it’s one cooking skill I can attest to have mastered thanks to my agee it is the cooking of sada roti. Before we begin you must have a tawah (round griddle) or a griddle and a rolling pin (bilnah).

Cuisine: Trini-Indian
Type: Bread
Time: 1hr
Serves: 4-8 
Skill: Easy
Kid Participation: Some 

2 c            white flour (or 1 ¼ white flour plus ¾ c whole-wheat)  
2 tb           baking powder
¾ -1 c      water, as needed

You can safely omit these:
¼ tsp         instant yeast (optional)
¼ tsp         sugar (optional)
1  tb           butter (optional)


1.    Mix the flour, baking powder, yeast butter and sugar if using in a bowl.

2.    Make a well in the centre of this mixture. Add a half cup of the water and mix with your fingers, adding more water as needed until you have a ball of dough.

3.    Knead the ball of dough on a flat floured surface or a chowkee for about 5 minutes until you have smooth elastic dough, sprinkling more flour if the dough is too sticky.

4.    Leave the dough to rise for 30 mins. 

 5.    Cut dough into two pieces and knead each piece into a ball. Leave to rest for 15 mins. Turn on the heat under the tawah or griddle.

6.    Take one piece of dough and roll out into a round flat shape 
of approximately ¼ ‘ thick on a chowkee or flat surface. You do this by rolling the dough, flipping it over and rotating it and repeating. Sprinkle flour if necessary to prevent sticking while you roll out the dough with the rolling pin. (bilnah)

7.    Check to see if the tawah or griddle is hot. If it is not hot enough the roti will take too long to cook and if it is too hot the   roti will get too stiff and will not swell.

8.    Put the roti on the hot tawah and wait until you see some small ‘bubbles which should be after a minute. Flip over at this point and leave for less than a minute. Then pull the tawah halfway off the burner. Pull the roti over the burner and rotate it over the fire quick enough so as it does not burn but slow enough so that it gets enough heat to that it starts to swell. Do not worry if it does not swell, it will still be delicious. 

9.    Flip over and repeat until the entire roti swells. This is called ‘saykaying’

10.    Take off tawah and wrap in towel to keep warm while you roll out and cook the other loyah (ball of dough).  

11.    Cut into quarters to serve. If your roti swelled you have a nice little pocket to fill with yummy things like fry aloo, bygan choka, curry channa and aloo etc. Or alternately you can eat it like we do in Trinidad by tearing a piece of the sada roti and scooping up some talkari or choka. Enjoy  

•    If your roti does not swell it may be because the tawah is too hot and the roti had gotten too hard.
•    Use the flat end of a large pot spoon (or if you have a dabla) to flip over the hot roti. Use a cloth to rotate the roti when saykaying if your hands cannot stand the heat.
•    Don’t worry if you end up with a square roti, it takes practice to get it to be a circle.

Copyright © 2010 Aruna Ria  All Rights Reserved



  1. Wow I'm in awe. Your dough looks perfect! My tawa is growing cobwebs maybe cause I didn't have an agee to show me

  2. Yeah, meh agee real know she roti

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  4. best recipie and instructions on the internet

    1. Thanks dax! glad u liked it :)

    2. Sorry for the late reply! Thanks :)


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