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Doubles are one of the iconic snacks from Trinidad, where my husband is from. In fact, they were invented in 1936 in Princes Town, Trinidad, quite close to my husband's village in the South of Trinidad.
Doubles are basically a snack-sized sandwich made of two flatbreads known as bara and filled with a curried chickpea filling (or channa, as it is known in Trinidad and India). Many of its popular dishes are Indian in origin, as is nearly half the population.
Doubles are most commonly eaten at breakfast (and the best vendors will sell out by mid-morning), but they're also sometimes eaten as a late-night snack. They're wrapped in paper and served from carts or stalls, which also often offer other fried treats including aloo (potato) pie, baiganee (eggplant fritter) and saheena (a spinach fritter). Order your doubles in the singular, indicating the amount of pepper sauce you want it with: “Doubles, slight pepper.”
They can be eaten as-is or further customized with condiments, most commonly Trinidadian pepper sauce (made of Scotch bonnet peppers), kuchela (green mango pickle spiced with amchar masala), or a thin tamarind sauce. It's worth seeking out a Caribbean market to get these ingredients and condiments—or, second best, an Indian grocery. In a pinch, Mexican habanero pepper sauce (my husband's favorite is El Yucateco) can be swapped for Trinidadian Scotch bonnet pepper sauce, and Indian mango pickle (not chutney) will give a similar tart-spicy flavor as the kuchela.
This recipe is adapted from the Naparima Girls' High School Cookbook, a classic community cookbook from Trinidad.
For the bara (flatbread):
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (ideally Trinidadian) or ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup Canola oil (for frying)
For the curried chickpea (channa) filling:
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder mixed with 1/4 cup water
- 1 14-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed with cool water
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Scotch bonnet or Habanero pepper sauce
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