Trinidadian Doubles (Curried Chickpea Flatbread Sandwiches)

April  4, 2014
6 Ratings
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 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.

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: —Beautiful, Memorable Food

  • Prep time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes 8 sandwiches
  • 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
In This Recipe
  1. For the bara (flatbread):
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, curry powder or turmeric, and cumin.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Set aside for about 5 minutes, until it foams.
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the spiced flour mixture and enough additional water to form a slightly firm dough. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 60 to 90 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpea filling (recipe follows).
  5. After the dough has risen, punch down and then allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then dampen hands with water or oil and pull off tablespoon sized pieces of dough and roll into 4 1/2 inch rounds. Repeat until you have used up all the dough and have an even number of rounds.
  6. Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat (should be about 3 inches deep). When oil is ready, fry the baras until puffed an golden, about 15 to 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels or a wire rack.
  1. For the curried chickpea (channa) filling:
  2. Warm a large frying pan or skillet, add oil, and warm until shimmery.
  3. Add garlic, onion, and the curry mixture and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the drained chickpeas and stir to coat with the spice mixture and cook for another five minutes.
  5. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of water and stir. Then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, covered, until the chickpeas are very soft. There should still be sauce. If not, reconstitute with enough water to form a medium-thick sauce. Add pepper sauce and stir.
  6. Finally, assemble your doubles by placing one bara on a plate, spooning one tablespoon of the chickpea filling on it, topping with additional condiments as desired (see my notes above). Enjoy at once!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rick Tallman
    Rick Tallman
  • Janelle Cooper
    Janelle Cooper
  • Shanelle Julia Rosita Campbell
    Shanelle Julia Rosita Campbell
  • HalfPint
  • Loreto Duffy-Mayers
    Loreto Duffy-Mayers
I'm a physician and chef and teach healthy cooking classes in San Francisco at the Thrive Kitchen. Come cook with me! More information on Facebook at TheDoctorsSpicebox. To your health!

21 Reviews

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?
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?
Purusha J. April 29, 2017

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.