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.

  • Janelle Cooper
    Janelle Cooper
  • Shanelle Julia Rosita Campbell
    Shanelle Julia Rosita Campbell
  • HalfPint
  • Brinda Campanian
    Brinda Campanian
  • 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!