Making Trinidad Doubles

splitsun (once upon a time) asked:

“Hi Pigamitha, thank you so much for having this blog, I really enjoy reading your recipes (and making them too when I get the time). Sometimes it’s a little hard to get some of the ingredients where I am (Trinidad and Tobago) but I make substitutions and they usually still come out great. I know you probably have many requests so I’m hoping that one day you’ll try to make Trinidad "doubles” which consists of two fried “baras” and curried channa (chickpeas) which is yummy street food here.“ Hullo there!  My first foodwish from Trinidad & Tobago! I can’t tell you how happy I am that you brought this dish to my attention. Guises, you have to try one of these before the week ends. I was going to withhold this post till the weekend, but screw it. I want you to eat one right now. Find a restaurant near you that serve them. People of New York, Serious Eats recommends Ali’s Trinidad & Tobago Roti Deli Grocery. Grab one and you won’t regret it. Those who don’t have access to such restaurant, weep. Then gather up your courage and power through this recipe. The plan is to divide and conquer - while the dough rests, make the filling. When that’s done, make the tamarind sauce (if you're really unlucky)  and grate a cucumber.  That’ll give enough time for the dough to rise. Fry the dough, reheat the chickpeas and serve them piping hot with the tamarind sauce, cucumber and lime slices to hungry people to assemble their own doubles according to their taste.

Hot, delicious mess.

TRINIDAD DOUBLES (recipe adapted from FRIED BARAS: [ 1/3 + ½ cup warm water + 1/4 teaspoon sugar + 1 teaspoon yeast + 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon ground turmeric + 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin + 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper + vegetable oil for frying ]

In a bowl, combine 1/3 of the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside until the mixture bubbles. In another large bowl or in a bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, salt, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and add additional lukewarm water as needed, about ½ cup, until the mixture comes together into slightly firm dough. Using the dough hook or your hands, knead until smooth and elastic and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Meanwhile, make the curried chickpeas filling: CURRIED CHANNA: [ 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) + 1 tablespoon canola oil + 1 onion, thinly sliced + 3 garlic cloves, minced + 3 teaspoons curry powder + 1 1/3 cup water (can be substituted with low sodium vegetable or chicken broth) + 1 pinch ground cumin + 1-1 ½ tablespoon sugar + juice of ½ lime + salt & freshly ground black pepper ]

Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add the garlic and the curry powder and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds and add 1/3 cup of water or broth. Stir in the chickpeas, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add 1 more cup of water or broth. Stir in the cumin, salt and pepper and lower the heat. Add in the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer until the chickpeas are very tender. Set aside.

Punch down the dough and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and flatten each into a circle about 4 ½ inches in diameter. Dampen your hands with water if the dough is sticky.

Heat about 1 cup of canola oil, at least 3 inches deep in a frying pan or medium saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the dough circles and fry, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 40 seconds. Keep the fried dough warm in the oven while you fry the rest.

Now you can either buy the tamarind and kochela sauces to go with the doubles, or you can make some of your own if you’re more like me with no access to these things whatsoever.

Tamarind sauce: [ 3 oz tamarind pulp + 2 cloves garlic + 1/2 of a scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, or any hot pepper you have at hand, really + 1 - 1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar + a small bunch of coriander + ¾ cup water ] Chop the pepper, garlic and coriander into a sort of chunky paste. You can use a pestle and mortar if you like. or just whiz them in a food processor.

Place the tamarind pulp into a sauce pan with the water. If your pulp is not seedless, use clean hands to work the pulp away from the seeds and try to crush the flesh between your fingers.  Place the saucepan on medium heat, add the sugar and the pepper paste to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and with the pot closed allow to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir every 2-3 minutes until it reaches a thick tomato soup consistency. Let cool before you season and adjust ingredients to taste.


[ Fried baras + curried chickpeas + tamarind sauce + shredded cucumber + Kuchela, if you can get your hands on it (a sauce made from green mangoes and scotch bonnet peppers.) ]

Take a bara and add 2 tablespoons of chickpeas. Add the tamarind sauce,and cucumber, if desired. Top with another piece of fried dough and serve


We did it again! Trinidad and Tobago’s doubles, has been highlighted in a article by The Huffington Post !

6 Snacks You Can’t Leave the Caribbean Without Tasting

In Trinidad, doubles is the single most popular street snack. Made with two (hence the name) rounds of fried dough, this hand-held meatless (and messy) meal is a spicy roti/wrap/ hybrid, filled with curried chickpeas or channa. Fresh cucumber slaw, mango chutney and the culantro-based sauce shado beni are essential embellishments. You’ll find a "doubles man” (or woman) on almost every street corner in Port of Spain. And almost every Trini has their own favorite vendor, so be sure ask for recommendations.“



VIBES: Banks - Drowning

Sometimes you need to step out of your cooking comfort zones. This was one of those times. Chick Pea curry, no problem. But the fried-bread-pita-wrap-up-thingy was a challenge. Bara, as they call them in Trinidad. I first had these at Ali’s in Bed Stuy and i was instantly hooked. If you’re not ambitious enough to make the Bara, just grab some store bought pita or naan. Really this chick pea curry would go well with anything, kale salad, arugula, sautéed greens, quinoa, rice, etc. Traditionally you would pair it with a hot pepper sauce, and some mango or tamarind chutneys. I chose something different and made a quick pickled cucumber slaw. Delightful. 

TRINIDAD DOUBLES (Adapted from this recipe.)

Channa (Chick Pea Curry)

-2 cups chick peas (garbanzo beans, channa)

-3 cups water

-2 tbsp. oil

-1 tsp. curry

-1 tsp. tumeric

-1 tsp. cumin

-1 tsp. garam masala

-½ tsp dried coriander

-½ tsp garlic powder

-2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

-½ onion, chopped finely

-5 leaves chadon beni, chopped finely (Cilantro is a fine substitute)

-juice of 1 lemon

-splash of vinegar

-salt and pepper to taste

Heat a heavy saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix the spices in ¼ cup water, add to pot. Let spices cook for 1 min until fragrant, add garlic and onion. Saute until golden. Just before curry gets dry, add the chick peas, cover them fully with with water. (About 2-3 cups) Simmer for about 1 hour, add a bit more water if it cooks down too much. It should be a thick stew by the time its reduced. The beans should be tender, not too hard or too mushy. Add lemon and splash of vinegar at the very end. Add ½ tsp of sea salt and some cracked pepper to taste. Mash a few beans to thicken the sauce a bit. Add the chopped chadon beni (or cilantro) and you’re done! 


-1 ¾ cup of flour

-½ tsp tumeric

-½ tsp cumin

-½ tsp curry powder

-1 ½ tsp tbsp baking powder

-½ tsp yeast

-1/8 tsp sugar

-½ tsp salt

-1 cup water

-½ tbsp oil

NOTE: You can see step by step instructions with pictures here. I halved the recipe and added a few additional spices. 

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, in another bowl combine 1/3 cup water, yeast and sugar. Allow the yeast and water to sit for about 5 minutes. Should have a foamy or milky consistency. Mix the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture, adding the reserved water little by little, knead until the mixture comes together into a sticky dough. It should not be too tough or dry, if its dry add more water. If its too wet add a bit of flour. When dough has come together, add a tbsp of oil to coat the dough, cover the bowl with a tea towel, set aside for 1 hour in a warm/dry place and allow the dough to rise. Allow it to double in volume. If it hasn’t doubled in an hour, give it more time. When dough has doubled, pull 2-3 inch balls from the dough and form flat round disks about 4-5 inches wide. Coat your hands with oil if its too sticky. 

Heat a few tbsp of oil on medium high heat in a heavy saucepan and fry the disks of dough about 15-20 seconds per side. The dough should puff up. Don’t allow it to get too crispy or too brown, just enough to cook it through. Drain the cooked Dara on paper towels. Pile the channa and other toppings onto the Dara and serve immediately. This recipe yields about 10 Dara. 


-½ medium purple onion - thinly sliced

-1 large cucumber - sliced into matchsticks

-½ tsp sea salt

-½ tsp sugar

-3 TBSP red vinegar

-cracked pepper

-splash of olive oil

Slice the cucumber into thin matchsticks, slice onion very thin. Combine in a bowl and add sugar, salt, vinegar, olive oil and pepper. Stir to combine. Allow to marinate for at least 15-20 mins. Stirring occasionally. You can store this in the fridge and the flavor will get better with time.