Trinidadian Flatbread

Buss up Shut

As Steve Fortune, from Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago, taught Lindsay Sterling in South Portland, Maine. Photos by Lindsay Sterling.

Notes: The name of this dish, buss up shut, is Trinidadian Creole for "busted up shirt," referring to the worn-in, flaky texture of the flatbread. Steve served this flatbread with a quick garbanzo and potato curry. They were delicious together. Here's a youtube video on another Trinidadian's take on how to manage the dough - worth a watch before you dive into doing this for the first time. Some details are different but the feel of the dough and the concepts are the same.

Makes: 4 servings
Cooking Time: 2 hours (50 minutes active)


  • 2 cups flour plus extra for your work surface
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 3/4 cup water
  • 5 Tbsp ghee 
  • 2 Tbsp oil 


  • mixer (optional) with dough hook or mixing bowl
  • clean kitchen towel
  • rolling pin
  • spoon or flexible spatula for spreading ghee
  • two flat wooden spoons or flat sticks
  • 12-inch-wide sauté pan or flattop griddle
  • basket lined with napkin 


1. Soften ghee by bringing it to room temperature or microwaving it a little bit.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and water by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook until the dough turns smooth, soft, and stretchy (about 5 minutes w/ mixer or 10 minutes by hand.) If the dough is sticking to the sides you can add a little more flour. If the dough is hard to maneuver, add a little more water so the dough is easy to move around and manipulate but does not stick to your hands. (You can always dust your hands with flour to keep the dough from sticking to them.) 

3. Divide the dough into four balls. Cover them with a clean cloth for 20 minutes. (If you're making other dishes, such as curry, now would be a good time to make that.)

4. Once dough has rested, sprinkle flour on your work surface. Press one of the balls into a disc. Roll the disc out to a thin circle, about 1/8 inch thick. To help it keep a circular shape, turn the disc 45 degrees every couple times you roll it. When the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin, simply sprinkle flour on the dough and the counter, and spread it around with your hand.

5. Spread about 1 Tbps ghee over the entire surface, and sprinkle with flour.

6. With a paring knife, cut the radius of the circle. 

7. Roll the cut edge back on itself and keep rolling so that you roll almost the whole circle into a cone. Pull the last remaining flap over the base of the cone,  sealing the edges of the buttery layers inside.

8. Place cone on its base and press the upended tip of the cone down into the base, transforming the cone into a mound. Place the mound on a flour-dusted counter and cover with clean towel. 

9. Repeat this process with the remaining three balls of dough. Once finished, cover the mounds with a towel and let rest 30 minutes.

10.  Sprinkle counter top generously with flour. Pre-heat oiled flat pan or griddle to medium. Roll one of the mounds out into a circle. Sprinkle and wipe the top of the dough and/or counter with flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter or the rolling pin. Roll into a thin circle, about 1/8 inch thick.

11. Place the circle of dough on the hot pan/griddle for a couple minutes, brushing the top side with vegetable oil. Flip and let the other side cook. With two wooden spoons push the edges of the circle into the middle multiple times, making it wrinkly and worn. Keep the circle scrunched in the center of the pan to make sure the edges have a chance to cook fully. Once the layered dough is cooked throughout, put it crunched up in a towel-lined basket. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

12. Serve busted up flat bread thick vegetable or meat dishes like stewed meats, dals, and curries. The classic Trinidadian combo is buss up shut and garbanzo and potato curry. Buss up shut is to be eaten with your hands - use ripped pieces of the bread to scoop up bites of other foods. 

Clarified Butter


Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 30 minutes-1 hour, as you wish
Note: You can buy industrially produced ghee for convenience or make your own. The flavor of your ghee will vary depending on the flavor of cream that was used to make the butter and how long you cook the butter. The longer you simmer it, the stronger and nuttier the flavor. 
Perfect with: Azerbaijani yellow rice, Azerbaijani beef, Indian roti


  • 1 stick butter


  • small pot
  • serving spoon for skimming
  • cereal bowl


1. Put a stick of butter in a pan on medium low. Let cook until the butter turns a clear amber color underneath a thin layer of solids on top. Be careful to not let any solids that drop to the bottom burn by adjusting your heat level a little lower.

2. Let the butter and solids cook for a while on the lowest setting to let the flavor of caramelizing milk solids (on the bottom) enter the fat. Scoop the solids off the top (discard) and pour clear butter into a bowl, not including the solids that sank to the bottom. 


Please help improve this recipe for others by sharing your suggestions in the comment box below. Thank you.

Azerbaijani Yellow Rice


As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku, Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, ME.

Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 1/2 hour active, 2 hours total
Note: The rice has a wonderful scent, flavor, and texture - individualized and firm - not soft or mushy. 
Perfect with: meat dishes such as Azerbaijani cornish hen, or Azerbaijani beef.


  • 3 c. basmati rice
  • large tortilla or potato sliced into 1/4 inch planks
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/3 c. ghee (a little less than a stick of butter's worth)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil


  • large pot with tightly fitting lid
  • clean cloth towel
  • strainer
  • small plate
  • large serving platter


1. Cover rice generously with water in a large bowl and massage rice to aid rinsing off white powder. Strain. Boil rice as you would pasta, for 8 minutes, and strain. It should be slightly uncooked and not yet fragrant or flavorful. Strain and let dry for 5-10 min.

2. Melt ghee in microwave or stovetop. Oil the bottom of a large pot and fit large tortilla in the bottom of the pot. With a small bowl or dessert plate take some of the rice out of the strainer and sprinkle it into the tortilla. Repeat, making a mountain of fluffed rice in the tortilla with the mountain peak in the middle of the pot.

3. Once you have a mountain of fluffed rice in the pot, sprinkle turmeric all over the top like the mountain is dusted with yellow snow.

4. Pour melted ghee in a small stream over the surface area of the rice mountain with a small drizzle as possible.

5. Cover the opening of the pot with two layers of paper towels or a clean cloth towel. Seal the lid over the towel, which keeps condensation from dripping back down into the rice. Fold edges of towel on top of lid so they don't dangle by any fire. Cook on low, setting 4 out of 10, for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Use a small dessert or salad plate to lift the rice out of the pot and toss the rice lightly onto a platter. The goal is for the rice to be fluffed onto the platter. 



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