Trinidad: Give me some doubles! (by Monica Johnson)

(Recipe by www.theonefour.com)

doubles, Trinidadian doubles, channa, bara

Doubles are sold as a convenient meal by street vendors in Trinidad and Tobago

If you go to Trinidad, you are sure to see this snack sold by street vendors. It’s called doubles. Doubles are said to have East Indian roots. Many East Indians, newly released from being indentured servants, chose to stay in Trinidad instead of returning to India; therefore, they needed a way to make money. Ever-enterprising, they set up small stalls to sell whatever they could, which just happened to include curried and fried channa (chick peas) in small paper cones. Later on, as the story goes, a vendor discovered that adding bara (East Indian fried bread) would make a nice little meal.

So now you’re wondering how did the name doubles come about, right? There’s always a story. So here it goes! The bara along with the channa caught on so well that people began asking the vendors to double up on the bara. And through the creativity of slang, the request was shortened to just asking for “doubles.” Now doubles are sold on wax paper for a quicker more cost-effective way of serving customers. See the recipe for doubles below.

Barra

2 cups of flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1 teaspoon yeast

1/3 cup warm water

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 cup oil for frying

Channa Curry

2 cups of chickpeas, canned or soaked over night and boiled until tender.

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, sliced

1 tablespoon oil

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground allspice (if you have it)

1 tsp Pepper sauce

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl place the warm water, sugar and yeast and set to sponge for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, curry powder and cumin. Add the yeast mixture and enough water to make a slightly firm dough. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky, adding flour if necessary. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rise for an hour.
  • For the filling, heat the oil in a heavy skillet, saute the onions until they are translucent, and then add the garlic and spices. Saute for another minute or so and then add the water. Add the chickpeas and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add pepper sauce and season to taste
  • The dough should be punched down and allowed to sit for 10 minutes. To shape the bara, take 1 tablespoon of the dough and flatten to a round, 4 or 5 inches in diameter.
  • Wet your hands so that the dough won’t stick to them but not so much as to make the dough too wet to fry.
  • Fry the baras in hot oil until puffy (about 15 seconds per side), turning once and drain on kitchen paper. When all are cooked, fill with channa by placing a heaping tablespoon of the cooked filling on each bara and top with cucumbers and hot pepper sauce.

Historical information taken from Amazing-Trinidad-Vacations.com