Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sundried Tomato Pesto Pizza at Kava, Kapok Hotel

Greek Pizza at Kava

Kava is located on the ground floor of the Kapok Hotel in Maraval, just off the Queen's Park Oval. You can enter Kava from the Hotel's main entrance, and parking is available in the Hotel's carpark. My first impressions of Kava was of a chic, modern space, populated with a natural muted color palette accentuated by bold refreshing pops of green and orange. The overall impact is very pleasing. This is complemented by an efficient indoor and outdoor seating plan.

Kava's menu ranges from cutters such as wings and samosas , salads, sandwiches, main dishes of pasta, steak and even curried chicken, and burgers. However my reason for going to Kava was none of the above, it was their Brick Oven Pizzas.

Kava boosts 19 pizzas on its menu, 7 of which are vegetarian. One thing that my family knows about me is my love of pizza; I want to eat my way to Italy one day soon. But the next best thing is sampling the best pizzas I can get find in Trinidad.

I usually eat vegetarian pizza, being vegetarian for a long time and having a huge amount of vegetarian friends and family, so a place that gives so many yummy vegetarian options is definitely a hit with me.

I have tried two of Kava's pizzas so far, the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and the Greek, the former being the real winner with me. The Greek pizza was great, don't get me wrong; a lovely thin crust with topping of tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. Thin crust and cheesy toppings with bites of the salty feta.

The Sun-dried tomato pizza, as the name suggests was topped with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, walnuts, basil and then the normal tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. This is far from your run of the mill pizza, its so unusual and unusually good. Who would have thought walnuts on a pizza would be so good and with the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes and the fresh taste of the pesto, its my definite favorite at Kava (so far).

The service the two times I have been to Kava was really good, and the pizza was cooked very quickly. You can actually see the brick oven that the pizza is being cooked in at one end of the restaurant and if you're lucky, you might see your pizza being shuffled into the oven. The ambience and d├ęcor is great for a lime, date or special occasion. Pizzas at Kava on average cost $100TT and feed two people.

Overall Kava was a fantastic pizza experience which I will definitely repeat.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dhalpourie, roti stuffed with dhal


Dhalpourie is a roti that has been stuffed with a spicy dhal mixture. It's a recipe thats been passed down by my agee (grandmother). It definitely has indian origins.

Its one of my favorite rotis, and its delicious and almost a full meal eaten on its own since it has both flour and dhal. One of my favourite ways to eat this is with cheese melted inside it or with tamarind chutney or anchar. Its most often served with curried channa and alloo, curried chicken and some kind of vegetable talkarie (curried vegetable).

Its a tricky recipe and as with most rotis a skill that develops after repetition. There are tips that only seasoned veteran roti makers know. My mum says to cook the roti almost as soon as you fill the dough with dhal as it will get too soft if it sits. My agee would press the ends of the roti as it cooks so it would cook evenly. And also ensure that your dhal is ground very fine, as big chunks will makes holes in your dough.


If there ends up to be less dhal, no worries, just make some pepper roti. That my next absolutely favorite thing next to dhalpourie. Some people make pepper roti with alloo (potato) but to me the dhal version tastes so much better and also healthier as it has dhal.

Honestly I would not be too worried if your first attempt at this looks square with a few holes and fat edges. My first roti was square too!

Cuisine:        Trini-Indian
Type:             Bread
Time:             2 hours
Serves:         6   (Makes 6 dhalpourie)
Skill:              Difficult
Suitable:        Vegetarian, vegan




1c uncooked dhal, washed with stones removed
4 garlic cloves minced
½ tsp salt or more to taste
2tsp powdered geera (cumin)

3 tsp baking powder
2 ½ c white flour
½ c whole wheat
½ c or more oil, ghee, butter or a combination 
    trinidad indian bread
    Dhal before cooking
    Pick through dry dhal for stones. No one wants to bite down on a stone, so don't skip this step. Rinse dhal and boil until cooked but still firm. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. When dhal is cool grind in a food mill, or a blender until fine. Add garlic and geera and salt to dhal and combine. This is your filling for the dhalpourie.
  3. For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and add water until you get a ball of dough. Knead on a floured surface until you get a smooth ball. Separate into six balls.
  4. Fill each ball with around 3 to 4 tablespoons of filling. To do this place the filling in the middle and then close the ends of the dough around the filling.

How to stuff dough with dhal mixture

5. Heat the tawa while you roll out the dough. Your tawa or saucepan had to be bigger than the size of the roti.

6. Flour a chowkie or a clean falt surface to roll out dough. While flouring regularly to prevent sticking roll out dough to around 7-8 inches in diameter, or around 1/8th inch in diameter.

7. Place the oil and butter in a bowl. Taking a napkin, dip it in the oil or butter and the paste the surface with the oil.

8. Place the roti on top the hot tawa. Repeat pasting the surface of the roti with oil.

9. Wait this there are bubbles on top of the roti, flip the roti, while buttering the tawa again.

10. If the roti begins to rise thats great. Press the ends of the roti so that it cooks.

11. Flip again, and fold in half so that the ends cook for a few minutes. Fold in quarters. Take off stove and repeat with rest of dough.


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