After a break in January we reconvened our NRT outings this past week with a trip to Nikisha’s Roti Shop in Dorchester. As is the case with most Trinidadian roti shops, it is a simple storefront with counter service. A few of us arrived right at 7pm and were greeted by Niki. She mentioned that she was going to close at 7:30pm since it was a slow night. We told her that there were others coming and she said she would wait for us.
While we waited for the others to trickle in we ordered some doubles. They were delicious! Maybe the best doubles I have had! Since she makes them slow and methodically, as compared to the rushed street vendors, the proportion of channa to bara is much more satisfying. The curries are all prepared and kept in warming trays but the rotis and buss-up-shut are made fresh.
G ordered a goat curry roti. A roti is dhal puri with curry wrapped inside (kind of like a burrito, but not as tight and easy to eat!). So, let me explain each of the key components. A ‘dhal puri’ is flat bread made of flour and split pea flour. It is rolled with a thin layer of ‘dhal’ or cooked lentils inside and cooked on a griddle. The ‘dhal puri’ is typically about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Then to make it a roti it is filled with potato curry, garbanzo bean curry and another curry (usually meat). In the picture, everything in the tray on the left is wrapped up in the roti on the right. Curry in Trinidad is one specific mixture of coriander, cumin, clove, turmeric, peppercorns, and mustard seeds. Regardless of main ingredient, chicken, beef, goat, or garbanzo beans, the spice mixture is basically the same. It is also a simple curry with only onions and garlic, no other vegetables. The goat was very tender and nicely seasoned. The dhal puri too was delicious with just the right elasticity, though it could have had a little more dhal in the center.
I ordered the buss-up-shut plate which is potato curry, garbanzo bean curry and choice of meat curry (in my case, chicken) served with ‘buss-up-shut’. Buss-up-shut is flat bread similar to an Indian paratha however, near the end of cooking it is broken up to create a crumbled mound of flat bread.
All of us order either a roti or a buss-up-shut plate. Overall, Nikisha’s Roti Shop was wonderful! It was a great introduction to Trinidadian food for most of our friends. It is clear that Niki loves to cook and share her food with others. She was nice enough to stay open for us and patient enough to explain the dishes and choices as we all trickled in slowly. I know we will be back!
Nikisha’s Roti Shop
532 Washington St.
Dorchester, MA 02124