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.
- Prep Time:1 hr 10 mins
- Cook Time:1 hr 30 mins
- Total Time:2 hrs 40 mins
- 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
- 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
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.
While the dough rises, open the can of chickpeas and rinse and dry in a colander.
Finely chop the onion.
Finely chop the garlic.
Mix the curry, tumeric and cumin in 1/4 cup of water.
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.
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.
While the channa simmers, mix the risen bara by hand.
Portion the bara into small mounds on a greased baking sheet.
Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan.
Take a portion of bara, stretch it thin and carefully place it in the hot oil.
Fry for 5-7 seconds on each side.
Continue until all of the bara is fried.
Mash some of the chickpeas to give the channa a sauce-like texture.
Add a generous scoop of channa to a piece of bara and then "double up" with another piece of bara on top.
Recipe adapted from Simple Trini Cooking.