I suppose you could file this under “at the desk gourmet” too, since it’s delicious, homemade, eaten at the desk, economical, and big step beyond your deli soup or sandwich in food sophistication. However, since it’s not made in my home, but someone else’s, it doesn’t qualify for inclusion in that category, but, as the picture on the right shows, it can definitely be enjoyed at the desk.
You see, every Thursday at my office it’s “Gloria Day” which means that those of us who want it, order a traditional Trinidadian lunch from our colleague Gloria. There is rarely more than one dish to choose from, and the menu only changes occasionally between two or three tried and tested favorites, but in the scheme of lunches it’s right up there with the steak and sope combo we wrote about the other week.
This week’s lunch was, in fact the same as last week’s, chicken curry with potatoes and chick-peas, which comes served with a large roti, and it’s a gut-buster of a lunch. The kind after which you’re struggling to stay awake and your pulse goes weak from the overload of carbohydrates flooding your system. The combination of smooth (the potatoes end up making a kind of thick sauce), crunchy/chalky (chickpeas, presumably added later in the cooking otherwise they’d break down more), meaty (only dark meat chicken) and garlicky-curry flavors are a wonderful change from my more ordinary lunches, even for me who has probably the most varied diet of anyone I know, except, perhaps, my wife.
The best thing about the meal though, and what really separates it from the rest of the week, is the roti. This bread, originally brought to the Caribbean by indentured Indian workers who moved to the various British colonies (Jamaica, Trindidad, and Guyana principally) to work on the sugar plantations, is unlike any roti I’ve had in Indian restaurants. It’s thinner, and if it’s not a nasty description, stringier, it has little of the puffy, doughy-ness of Indian rotis I’ve eaten. It is, however, still very, very good, and excellent for mopping up the delicious greasy curry sauce, or for collecting mouthfuls of potatoes and chickpeas and conveying them to mouth.
Gloria steadfastly refuses to give me her recipe for roti and try as I might I have never found a recipe that produces roti anything like hers. If anyone can suggest a good roti recipe, I’d love to road-test it. Of course, it could be something to do with my execution of the recipe that’s spoiling it for me… still, I think a new recipe is worth a try.
Unfortunately, this dish isn’t quite so photogenic as the steak and sope meal, and frankly I didn’t try to make it look any nicer, but then, for five (count them, five) of your American dollars you can’t expect it to be beautiful as well as delicious, can you? I can’t wait until next Thursday!!