A few weeks ago, my Trinidadian roommate's family traveled to Boston all the way from their home on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. They generously surprised us all with some adorable souvenirs, including a glass with the quote, "A true Trini loves hot doubles slight pepper!" 

Confused and intrigued, I asked the obvious question: what the heck are doubles? The first response was laughter, but the second response was a description so mouth-watering that it inspired me to make this Trini street food myself.

Trini doubles are essentially chickpea sandwiches; a spiced chickpea filling called channa is nestled between fried pieces of bread called bara. The name "doubles" came about in Trinidad in 1937, when customers of the Deen family's popular channa asked them to "double up" on the bara with their orders

For Trinidadians, doubles are part of their identity and represent the fusion of Caribbean and Indian culture and cuisine. This versatile street snack can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late-night munch. They are various ways to eat doubles (burrito-style, taco-style, sandwich-style) and they can be paired with countless toppings, my roommate's favorite being mango chutney.

However you prefer your doubles, break away from the usual hot dogs, candied nuts, and pretzels of American streets and try some Trini eats instead.

Trinidadian Doubles

  • Prep Time:1 hr 10 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr 30 mins
  • Total Time:2 hrs 40 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Medium

    Ingredients

  • Bara:
  • 1/2 pound flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • Oil for frying
  • Channa:
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/4 onion chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Nicole Lacasse
Nicole Lacasse

Step 1

Mix all the dry bara ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and knead into a dough. Drizzle the 1/2 tablespoon of oil on the dough and cover the bowl with a cloth. Let the dough rest until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 2

While the dough rises, open the can of chickpeas and rinse and dry in a colander.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 3

Finely chop the onion.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 4

Finely chop the garlic.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 5

Mix the curry, tumeric and cumin in 1/4 cup of water.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 6

Add the chopped onion, chopped garlic and spice mix to a frying pan and saute over medium heat. Add water to the pan to prevent the mixture from drying out.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 7

Add the chickpeas to the pan and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir frequently and add small amounts of water to prevent the channa from drying out.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 8

While the channa simmers, mix the risen bara by hand.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 9

Portion the bara into small mounds on a greased baking sheet.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 10

Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 11

Take a portion of bara, stretch it thin and carefully place it in the hot oil.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 12

Fry for 5-7 seconds on each side.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 13

Continue until all of the bara is fried.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 14

Mash some of the chickpeas to give the channa a sauce-like texture.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Step 15

Add a generous scoop of channa to a piece of bara and then "double up" with another piece of bara on top.
Photo by Nicole Lacasse
Photo by Nicole Lacasse

Recipe adapted from Simple Trini Cooking.