For those unfamiliar with the vernacular of a Trinidad and Tobago-style roti restaurant such as Teddy's Roti Shop, a carryout with limited seating located two blocks north of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, we offer the following:
In the West Indies, roti is a griddle-cooked flat bread traditionally served with a curry dish of potato mixed with seafood or meat. Chefs David and Delia Nagar, who opened Teddy's 10 years ago, make two distinct kinds. Dalpuri is a delicate, buffet- plate-sized, paper-thin pancake filled with cooked, yellow split peas. The Nagars also make a heavier roti called paratha or buss-up-shut, which translates into "burst-up shirt." The name is derived from the appearance of the bread, which resembles torn pieces of cloth.
Both rotis are used to scoop up the soft, seasoned potato and well-cooked meat or fish as well as soak up the rich sauce. The most requested rotis at Teddy's are accompanied by curried chicken, goat or beef, but curried conch, salted cod (bull joll) and shrimp are also on the menu ($4.60 to $9.33 each). Another popular dish is shark and coconut bake, a spicy, fried fillet of shark folded inside a slightly sweet, coconut-flavored bun ($6.60).
For party catering, the Nagars recommend phulourie -- small, deep-fried balls stuffed with ground split peas ($1.60 for 10) as well as doubles, curried chickpeas sandwiched between two fried, split pea-based flat breads ($1.60 each). Both are served with a sweet tamarind dipping sauce. For those who like a hit of heat, a hot mango chutney and house-made chili pepper sauce are also available.
Who's Teddy? He's David Nagar's brother, an early partner in the business who has moved back to Trinidad.
Teddy's Roti Shop, 7414 Georgia Ave. NW; call 202-882-6488. Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
-- Walter Nicholls