Fry

Trinidadian Doubles (Curried Chickpea Flatbread Sandwiches)

January 21, 2022
3.6 Stars
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

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's known in Trinidad and India). Many of Trinidad's 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 pickles 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.

My photo was taken of doubles we ate on a recent trip to Trinidad, served as they are normally sold, wrapped in paper.

This recipe is adapted from the Naparima Girls' High School Cookbook, a classic community cookbook from Trinidad. If you want to learn more about Trindadian food, visit my blog: http://spiceboxtravels.com/2013/01/04/feasting-fetes-and-parang-christmas-in-trinidad/ —Beautiful, Memorable Food

  • Prep time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes 8 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • Bara (Flatbread):
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (ideally Trinidadian) or ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Curried Chickpea (Channa) Filling & Assembly:
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder mixed with ¼ cup water
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper sauce
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Bara (Flatbread):
  2. In a small bowl, mix the water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cumin, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Stir to combine, adding more water if needed to form a slightly firm dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled in volume.
  1. Curried Chickpea (Channa) Filling & Assembly:
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until it shimmers. Cook the onion, garlic, and curry powder, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until well combined and heated through.
  4. Add the cumin, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of water and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chickpeas are very soft. There should still be sauce; if not, reconstitute with water to form a medium-thick sauce. Add the pepper sauce and stir to combine; set aside until ready to assemble.
  5. After the dough has risen, punch down and let rest for 10 minutes. Dampen your hands with water or oil. Pull off tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and roll into 4½-inch rounds; arrange on a baking sheet. Repeat until you have used up all the dough and have an even number of rounds.
  6. In a large deep pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 cup of oil (it should be about 3 inches deep). Fry the baras for 15 to 30 seconds on each side, until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels or a wire rack.
  7. Place 1 bara on a plate. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the chickpea filling on top. Top with additional condiments as desired (see my notes above).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ella Louise Brown
    Ella Louise Brown
  • Rick Tallman
    Rick Tallman
  • Janelle Cooper
    Janelle Cooper
  • Shanelle Julia Rosita Campbell
    Shanelle Julia Rosita Campbell
  • HalfPint
    HalfPint
I'm the author Spicebox Kitchen and a physician and chef who teaches healthy cooking classes in San Francisco at the Thrive Kitchen. Come cook with me! More information on Facebook at TheDoctorsSpicebox. To your health!

26 Reviews

Nana'srecipes February 20, 2022
LOVE YOUR STREET TACOS! MY FRIENDS, FAMILY & MY GRANDCHILDREN SAY..."THEIR A BOMB"! YOU'RE STREET TACOS ARE A HIT HERE IN TUCSON. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS DELISH RECIPE! 😋
THANK YOU
DEBRA NANEZ
 
Lori1266 September 19, 2021
Two things about this recipe. 2 tsp is too salty for most people's taste, and 1/3 c. of water is not enough to make any dough that uses 2 c. of flour. I used twice that and it was still a very heavy, firm, dough. When i did it again, I used 3/4 c.
Since this recipe is pretty much verbatim from the original, the test kitchen should have found these problems and corrected them.
 
Ella L. April 29, 2021
Not a great experience with this recipe, chickpeas were way too salty and it doesn’t make much sauce so I had to had loads of water and dough didn’t rise so it was very dense. Won’t be using this recipe again, needs updating ASAP!
 
Rick T. February 28, 2021
The two teaspoons of salt into the chick pea filling is an error!!! Don’t add it. When filling is completed just add a few shakes of salt to taste.
 
Pipkyn October 18, 2020
Delicious! Will definitely make again. Filling was a little too spicy but must have been the curry powder I used. Added over a pound of carrots to chickpeas. Next time will not double curry powder (doubled chickpeas).
 
Ronald W. September 21, 2020
I haven't tried it yet but I have high hopes that it will come out gr8😁
 
Chef R. June 14, 2020
Thank you for this recipe. I particularly loved the bara as its tasty just on its own, without adding the filling, which is a main factor in this meal,
 
Janelle C. May 9, 2020
That was way too salty. Ruined it for me ;(
 
THenni October 27, 2019
Tastes like Trinidad! So so good!
 
Graemebethune September 18, 2019
I made this according to the recipe and found it way too salty. Graeme bethune
 
Shanelle J. July 10, 2018
Seriously DELICIOUS so far. We already have roti in the house. We found a spot in Canarsie where we live (Brooklyn). The chickpeas have about 20 minutes left of simmering, but the flavor is on point. Thank you!
 
HalfPint April 16, 2018
Can you recommend a brand that would be similar to the Trinidadian curry powder?
 
Lori1266 September 19, 2021
Try Chief Brand. It's excellent!
 
Michelle January 31, 2018
What kind of yeast should be used in this recipe? Active dry or instant?
 
Ronald W. September 21, 2020
Probably active dry?
 
Whitley January 12, 2018
These look delcious! Does the dough freeze well?
 
Lucas May 5, 2017
Hey, I'm wondering if the 8 sandwiches the recipe makes is 1 bara per sandwich or two?
 
MOwen May 15, 2021
Super late reply on this, but the food is called doubles because one serving has two bara (sometimes called triples if someone likes 3 bara per serving). I would imagine if she knows anything about what she's making it's two...and please don't call it a sandwich - that's enough to make any Trinidadian's stomach turn.
 
Purusha J. April 29, 2017
Hello

It does not say if to add the salt and pepper to the flour and curry powder/saffron/cumin mix. Is this when you add it?
 
Loreto D. July 10, 2016
excellent recipe - most importantly don't rush it!!! Let the dough rise for at least 1/2 hour- 3/4 hour. it makes all the difference!!
 
Author Comment
Beautiful, M. July 10, 2016
glad you liked!
 
@darrel3000 October 31, 2015
Every American should have the opportunity to try doubles! here in New york City, I bring most of my American friends to Richmond HIll-the Trini nieghborhood, to try doubles, they ALWAYS love it. I've yet to find someone who doesn't love doubles! I've had over 10,000 in my lifetime, how lucky am I! LOL
 
Author Comment
Beautiful, M. July 10, 2016
what's your favorite roti shop? we usually go to Singh's or Trin City
 
Suzy April 21, 2014
Gosh… I am so hungry! This should be against the law!
 
Flirty F. April 5, 2014
Absolutely love this post and this recipe. Being from Trinidad I live by the Naparima cookbook for anything from back "home". Haven't been back to Trinidad in years, but always pick up some doubles for my favorite Trini restaurant in Miami. Even my Italian husband (with his picky Italian food preferences) loves the stuff!
 
Author Comment
Beautiful, M. April 6, 2014
Thanks, Flirty Foodie! Trinis love their food in general, doubles in particular, don't you think? The Naps Girls cookbook is the only one you need. I've learned to make many of my husband's favorite tastes of home from that classic.