What's Cooking in Kelli's Kitchen -- A New Neighborhood

  • 2022-10-31, 04:02 AM (update 2022-10-31, 04:11 AM)
  • Kelli Kelly
What's Cooking in Kelli's Kitchen -- A New Neighborhood Aunt Kelli and Marcus

I just had one of those “what day is it” moments… I would have sworn it was Wednesday, but it is not.  I am dangerously close to causing our esteemed editor great levels of stress and anxiety.  Fortunately, I asked before heading out on an adventure.  My disorientation can be blamed on losing almost a whole day to traveling across the country to Brooklyn, NY! 

The first thing that needs to be said for anyone who is considering flying out of the Reno airport is to take the 2 hour arrival timeline seriously.  While Reno has historically been a super simple airport to access and navigate, it is now fully back from the pandemic travel slow down–which means that parking is an issue.  Social media posts from friends caused me to approach this trip with extra caution; I had heard that long-term parking has been a valuable commodity as of late.  The night before my early evening flight, I checked how many parking spaces were available (almost 600).  You can do this via a website found at: https://www.renoairport.com/parking-transportation/parking/ I checked again the morning of my departure and discovered there were around 150 parking spots available.  But by the time I arrived in Reno, there were less than 80 spots in the surface lot and the entire structure was full.  Once a spot can be found, it is important to note that the walk to the ticketing plaza takes significantly longer from the surface lot.  The other important factor is that the Reno airport is actively under construction and likely will be for a few years.  Everything takes longer!  I am sure that the new facility including additional terminals will be wonderful, but between now and then, make sure to budget extra time.

My flight to New York was uneventful and I slept well on the plane–but I was still hit by a wave of jetlag upon arriving and lost the entire afternoon to a long nap.  Hence my lack of awareness about what day it is!  Everything's in flux at my sister’s house in Brooklyn.  Since my last visit, there has been a move and the new house, a lovely multi-level brownstone, is just now meeting basic kitchen functionality requirements.  I have been tasked with preparing the first home-cooked meal in the new house: Chicken and Dumplings scheduled for Saturday.  Until then, we will subsist on take out and leftovers warmed in the microwave or on a hot plate–it reminds me a bit of college except with significant more square footage.

Since I have already shared my chicken and dumplings (at least twice), I will instead share a delicious meal that I ate today including how to go about making it at home.  The new neighborhood brings with it a new cultural hub and, naturally, new foods.  Specifically, we are situated squarely in the middle of the Little Caribbean.  I spent some time in the Caribbean years ago where I subsisted almost entirely on Roti.  In the islands, Roti is a type of sandwich with curried meats and vegetables wrapped inside a light, stretchy pita-like bread. 

Caribbean Roti


Curried Chicken Filling

2 T Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (cut in bite sized cubes)

1 large Onion (diced)

1 t Minced Garlic

1 t Jalapeño (diced) (Use a traditional Scotch Bonnet Pepper instead of a jalapeño if you like hot and spicy dishes. Just add the whole pepper to the pan with the Chicken Broth)

1 t Fresh Thyme (leaves only, minced)

1 t Cumin

1/2 t Ground Allspice

1/2 t Ground Nutmeg

2 t Curry Powder

1/2 t Cayenne Pepper

2 – 3 c Chicken Broth

1 T Light Brown Sugar

1/8 t Finely Grated Ginger

1/2 t Salt

1/2 t Pepper

1 1/2 c Potatoes (peeled and cubed)


Roti Skin

1 1/2 c, plus 2 T All Purpose Flour

1/8 t Salt

3 1/2 T Softened Butter (not melted)




Curried Chicken Filling

  1. Heat large saucepan, add oil. Add onions, garlic, jalapeño, thyme, cumin, allspice, nutmeg, curry powder and cayenne and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and sauté another 2 minutes, being careful not to let the mixture burn.
  3. Add chicken broth, light brown sugar, ginger, salt, pepper and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover and let it simmer on low until the sauce thickens (about 20-30 minutes)

Roti Skin

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and mix. (A stand-mixer also works well).
  2. Mix in softened butter and while mixing, slowly add in a small amounts of water at a time until dough becomes soft and pliable.
  3. Sprinkle a large surface with flour (I used a large cutting board) and knead the dough on the surface until smooth.
  4. Divide dough into 5 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin, round shape.
  5. Heat a pan with a small amount of oil. Place one roti in the pan and cook until it begins to brown. Flip the roti and brown on the other side. Repeat with the remainder of the roti's.

Putting them together

  1. Lay out one warm roti, and spoon 3/4 – 1 c of the curried chicken mixture onto the roti.
  2. Fold the roti tightly around the mixture and serve with Mango Chutney.



Kelli Kelly

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