Since filming her first cooking video five years ago — a how-to on her favorite dessert, cassava pone — YouTuber Natasha Laggan has become known to her over 170,000 followers for her authentic Trinbagonian dishes. Her focus has always been simple, if ambitious: to promote and educate global audiences about Trinidad and Tobago’s food and culture via easy cooking tutorials.
With over 1,070 episodes now under her belt on her Trini Cooking with Natasha channel, Laggan has tackled everything from the most traditional Trinbagonian dishes, like Trini chicken soup and chicken pelau, to Latin-inspired dishes like tres leches cake and her own take on Guyanese staples like garlic pork.
Still, Trini food is Laggan’s north star, and she’ll argue that fewer dishes represent her background like buss up shut, Trinidad’s version of paratha and one of the various types of roti you’ll find locally. (The name refers to its similarity in appearance to a busted up T-shirt, not unlike Cuba’s beloved ropa vieja.)
As part of Eater at Home, Laggan broke down her beloved buss up shut recipe for Instagram viewers. Check the recipe out below and try buss shut up for yourself alongside curries and stews, or just on their own.
Trinbagonian Paratha Roti aka Buss up Shut
Makes 4 medium parathas
3 cups all-purpose (AP) flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
3⁄4 cup whole milk
1⁄4 cup water, lukewarm
1⁄2 cup dry flour
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco
1⁄4 cup oil
Step 1: In a bowl or measuring cup, blend water and milk; set aside.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar (if using). Working slowly, add milk/water mixture gradually to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil to coat the dough. Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Break into 3-inch dough balls (or smaller if your pan or griddle is small) and rest for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix butter with vegetable shortening; set aside.
Step 4: Sprinkle flour on a work surface and roll out dough, remembering to take the size of your pan into consideration. Once rolled out, coat the dough with the butter and shortening mixture and sprinkle with more flour. Cut one slice in dough starting in the center and moving outwards as if you were slicing a pie or pizza. Begin to roll either clockwise or counterclockwise to form a cone. Once you have a cone shape, tuck both ends in to form a ball. Allow roti balls to rest for a minimum of 1 hour. These can also be made the night before and refrigerated.
Step 5: Once ready to cook, roll out roti balls and grease the pan or griddle (or a tawa if you have one) and place the rolled out dough directly on top and brush it with oil. Cook on medium-low heat until bubbles form, about 3 minutes, then flip. Grease the other side and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until lightly golden brown. To get the “torn shirt” look, crush and tear the paratha with two spatulas as you turn on the griddle. Serve alongside your favorite curries, stews, or vegetables and enjoy.