Doubles is a popular Indo-Caribbean street food from my island Trinidad and Tobago. You can find it all over the island at street vendors and shops from morning till night, it’s eaten any time of day. An amazing vegan flatbread sandwich served on parchment paper, held with one hand and eaten with the other, and don’t forget to have your napkins ready.
You can find a similar popular street food in India called Chole Bhature. A flavorful spiced chana served on a plate with fried flatbread, onions, pickles, and chutneys.
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Why are doubles called doubles?
To make a doubles you need two flatbreads or baras for the chana filling to go in between. Some vendors offer a triple with three baras, more the better.
What are Trinidad Doubles?
Making homemade doubles from scratch is a labor of love. It has three main staples soft baras, flavorful chana filling, and amazing toppings.
Doubles bara is simply a soft fried flatbread. The main ingredients are flour, yeast, and water. Yeast helps the dough rise a bit and gives a chewy texture. The addition of salt to the dough adds flavor. Sugar adds both flavor and color when it’s fried in oil. It also aids in the rising of the yeast.
If you would like to add additional color, choices include baking soda or turmeric. Baking soda helps with a light brown color when fried and turmeric adds a yellow color. Please remember if you add both baking soda and turmeric it’s possible it can turn the bara a pinkish-red color. It’s best to add only one color enhancer ingredient, either baking soda or tumeric. Adding too much baking soda can give the bara a metallic aftertaste, less is best. If you would like a soft thicker bara add a bit of baking powder when making the dough. I prefer a soft flat bara in my doubles.
The filing for doubles is a flavorful savory legume called chana. This legume has a few varieties, sizes, and names including chickpeas, garbanzo, bengal gram, and kabuli.
Most vendors make the chana filing from the dried form, soaked overnight. If you are wanting a shortcut without soaking use canned chana and make sure to rinse the chana well.
After the chana has soaked it can be fully cooked on the stovetop or pressure cooker, like an instant pot. Spices and flavoring are added including curry, tumeric, roasted geera or cumin, amchar masala, and caribbean green seasoning. Green seasoning is a mixture of garlic, chadon beni or culantro, pimento peppers, green onion or chive, and thyme fine or broad leaf.
Adding the spices and flavoring, reduce the chana filling to a thickened texture. You can also remove about ¼ cup of the channa mixture and blend it. Add it back into the channa filling or add ¼ cup of cooked blended yellow peas/dhal if you prefer. Don’t forget as the filling cools it will thicken up. I like to add additional green seasoning at the end for an extra kick and bright color.
The best part of doubles is picking the delicious chutneys and sauces to top it with. There are so many popular flavorful options from sweet, sour, bitter, savory, and spicy.
Tamarind Chutney - It’s also called tamarind sauce or sweet sauce. Brown sauce with notes of sweet, sour, savory, and sometimes spicy.
Cucumber Chutney - Shredded fresh cucumber with a savory and light sour taste if you add lime.
Pepper Sauce - Normally pronounced as “peppa sauce”. Spicy, sour, and savory taste. Traditionally used with scotch bonnet or habanero pepper varieties.
Roasted Pepper Chutney - Fire-roasted scotch bonnet or habanero peppers and lime that has a bitter, smoky, sour, and spicy taste.
Coconut Chutney - Roasted coconut blended with savory herbs that have creamy, smoky, and savory notes.
Mango Chutney - Fresh green mango blended or grated with the addition of savory herbs and sometimes spicy notes.
Mango Kuchela - Grated fresh green mango with bold and spicy flavors added including amchar masala, pepper, and oil.
Leftovers and Storage
After frying your baras store them in a heavy pot with a tight lid, similar to a cast iron pot or dutch oven. Line the pot with a kitchen towel or paper towels and pile the baras on each other to keep them flat, soft, and warm.
Leftover cooked baras should be frozen to keep them fresh, as they can easily dry out on the counter or refrigerator. The chana filling can last up to five days in the refrigerator in an air-tight storage container or be frozen for longer storage.
How to reheat leftover doubles?
To reheat leftover double bara in the microwave, wrap them in a damp paper towel for 10-20 seconds. If you prefer the oven, warm them in a low oven at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit covered with a sprinkle of water to circulate moist heat. The chana filling can be easily heated on the stovetop or microwave until warm.
Serving Doubles Step by Step
- When serving on a plate add two bara skins, lapping them over a bit.
2. Add about 2-3 spoonfuls of chana filling right in the middle.
3. Top with all your desired sauces and chutneys. Enjoy.
4. If you would like an authentic Trinidad doubles experience at home. Wrap it in brown parchment paper, it's so good that way.
Easy Trinidad Doubles
- 1 Cast Iron Pot Store Finished Bara
- 1 Pot for Frying To Fry Bara Dough
- 1 Saucepan To Make Channa Filing
- 1 Mixing Bowl To Make Bara Dough
- 1 Measuring spoons and cups
- 1 Thongs
- 1 Spoons to Mix
- Paper Towels
- 1 Brown Parchment Paper
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Yeast
- 2 tsp Cane Sugar or Turbando
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 - ¼ cup Warm Water (more or less if needed)
- 1 tablespoon Neutral Oil Vegetable or Avocado Oil
- ¼ - ½ tsp Baking Soda or Turmeric/ Saffron See Blog Post For Details
- 3-4 cups Neutral Oil For Spreading/Forming and Frying
Cooking Dried Channa
- 1 cup Dried Channa/Garbanzo/Chick Peas Or 2 Cans of Fully Cooked Garbanzo/Chick Peas/Channa (No Baking Soda Needed)
- 1- 1 ½ teaspoon Baking Soda Divided
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4-8 cups Water Soaking and Cooking
Seasoned Channa Filling
- ½ teaspoon Tumeric or Saffron
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Cane Sugar or Turbando (optional)
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- ½ - 1 teaspoon Roasted Ground Geera or Amchar Masala or to taste
- 3 tablespoons Green Seasoning divided
- 2 cups Water or more if needed
- ¼ cup Cooked & Blended Yellow Peas/Red Lentils/Dhal (optional) - See Post
Chutney & Sauce Options- Tamarind Chutney, Cucumber Chutney, Coconut Chutney, and Pepper Chutney (See Post)
- Add yeast, sugar, and 1 cup of warm water to small bowl. Wait a few minutes for yeast to bloom.
- In a large mixing bowl add flour and salt. Can also add turmeric or baking soda (if using it). Mix well.
- Add water yeast mixture to flour mixture. Mix until combined and add extra warm water if needed to form a very soft almost sticky dough ball. With hands spread one tablespoon of neutral oil onto the bara dough. Cover with a kitchen towel.
- Let rest or soak for 1-2 hours or longer if possible about 4 hours for a softer bara. It can be also made the night before and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- When ready to fry heat oil on stove top to high heat.
- With oiled hands, portion the bara dough into 16 pieces. Divided the dough in half. Half each piece to form 4 pieces. Then form each of those pieces into 4 to make 16 pieces. Form into soft balls and cover.
- Place neutral oil onto your countertop. With well oiled hands and countertop spread each dough ball to form a very thin/flat circle. It does not have to be a perfect circle and if it tears a little in some spots, it's ok.
- Place flattened dough into hot oil. Fry each side for 10-15 seconds about 20-30 seconds altogether. Remove bara with thongs and place into a covered cast iron pot lined with paper towels to keep warm.
Cooking Dried Channa
- The night before place 1 cup of dried channa, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 4 cups of water into a large bowl. About 6-8 hours to soak.
- The next day strain the water and rinse the channa to remove the baking soda. Use the cooking method of your choice (stovetop or instant pot) to fully cook the channa adding an additiional ½ teaspoon of baking soda and salt while it's cooking. When fully cooked strain the channa and set aside.
- Stovetop - 4 cups of water and cook for about 45 minutes- 1 hour. Instant Pot - 3 cups of water and cook 5-7 with natural pressure release (about 15-20 minutes).
Seasoned Channa Filling
- Note: If you using canned channa/chick peas/garbanzo beans strain and rinse with water.
- In a saucepan place water, cooked channa, turmeric or saffron, sugar, baking soda, one tablespoon of green seasoning, and geera or amachar masala.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until it's to your preferred thickened consistancy. Remember as the channa filling cools it will thicken up.
- (Optional) - You can remove about ¼ cup of the channa mixture and blend it. Add it back into the channa filling or add ¼ cup of cooked blended yellow peas/dhal if you prefer.
- When it's at the right consistency mix in the remaining green seasoning.
- Place 2 soft and warm bara's onto a plate or brown parchment paper.
- Top with seasoned warm channa filling and your favorite chutneys and sauces.
- Now it's ready to serve or wrap up the doubles in the brown paper for that Caribbean street food feel. Enjoy.
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