Two doubles, slight pepper

24 02 2007

My wife was showing very little faith in me.  For years I’ve wanted to make doubles, and have only heard “They’re hard to make.”  Now I know better.

For those who don’t know, I will explain.  Doubles are in Trinidad what donuts are here in the U.S.  The perfect mid-morning snack that everyone craves.  Also, just like donuts here, everyone has their own favorite spot to purchase these little creations.  They are different from donuts in that they are not sweet.  At all.  Doubles consist of curried chick peas (hereafter called channa) in a very flavorful sauce, between two pieces of bara bread.

In Trinidad, often you need to tell the food vendors how much pepper sauce to add.  Once again, this is in addition to the hot peppers already used in cooking the food.  There are three choices when asking for pepper: “no pepper” (that’s what I always say), “slight pepper,” and “heavy pepper” (also known as “plenty pepper”).   When ordering your doubles with heavy pepper, don’t forget to also ask for the 2-gallon jug of ice water that you will need to deaden the pain you will be inflicting on your poor unsuspecting palate.  And please, please, don’t forget to wash your hands before doing something stupid like rubbing your eyes or you will be introduced to an all new kind of pain.

This weekend, since it has been so cold here lately, I suggested to my lovely wife that we have a Trinidad weekend, meaning of course that all the food we eat this weekend will be Trini food.  A much better idea would be, of course, to go to Trinidad and eat all this great food on the beach, but since that’s not an option, we’ll settle for this.  Karen is making curry chicken and pelau for dinner tonight for us and our guests, and tomorrow we are having bake and shark for Sunday lunch (with tilapia). 

So this lovely Saturday morning I decided to tackle Trinidad’s favourite breakfast.  Using the official cookbook of T&T, the Naparima Girls’ High School cookbook, I set to work early this morning right after Benjamin woke me up.  I haven’t used or needed an alarm clock in 5 years.  The dough needs to rise for an hour and a half, so I started on that first.  The recipe said “Add water until it forms a soft dough.”  Remember how great I am at judgement calls with dough?  I woke up Karen.  She added the water, and we let it rest.  In the meantime I cooked the filling.  I formed the baras and it became apparent that we would need more, so Karen made a second batch with rapid rise yeast.  We were glad we made two batches, because we learned some things during the first batch:

  • They were a bit too thick
  • They were a bit too big around
  • We fried them for a bit too long

But the second batch came out very close to perfect.  The result is here, but it’s from the first batch:

opendoubles.jpg

That second piece of bara goes on top to finish the sandwich.  They were very tasty, and next time I think I’ll put some chopped serrano chiles in with the channa.

 

Doubles Recipe

Ingredients
Bara:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant yeast

 Channa:

  • 2 cans of chick peas
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • hot pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste

Method 

Bara:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, tumeric, cumin, sugar, and yeast. 
  2. Add enough lukewarm water to make a soft dough; mix well, cover and let rise for one and a half hours.
  3. Punch down dough and allow to relax for 10-15 minutes.
  4. To shape the bara, take about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten roll out to a circle 4 or 5 inches in diameter.
  5. Fry a few at a time in hot oil; turn once and drain on paper towels.

 fryingbara.jpg

Channa:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot.  Add garlic, onion, and curry powder mixed with 1/4 cup water; saute for a few minutes.
  2. Add channa, stir to coat well.  Add 1 cup water, cumin, salt and pepper.
  3. Cover, lower heat and simmer until peas are soft; add more water if necessary.  When channa is finished it should be soft and moist; adjust seasoning.
  4. Add cilantro and serve

 cookingchanna.jpg

To serve, make a sandwich by placing some cooked channa between two baras. 

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18 responses

25 02 2007
Dawn

You mean you didn’t ruin it? Isn’t that a whole other blog? Looks lovely.

25 02 2007
Karen

He really didn’t ruin them. They came out just like doubles are supposed to taste – delicious! Even Jonny loved them. I couldn’t believe it myself!!! 😉

25 02 2007
markruinsdinner

Thank you, every one, for your overwhelming confidence in my abilities in the kitchen.

25 02 2007
Dawn

YOU are the one who came up with the name for this blog.

25 02 2007
Shelly

My thoughts exactly, Dawn! However I think quite the opposite is true after amazing creations I’ve seen you muster up in the kitchen, Mark. You have a fan in me! 😉 To tell you the truth you’ve inspired me to be a little more creative and thoughtful in my own meals. 🙂

25 02 2007
markruinsdinner

My motto in the kitchen is: Thing big. Don’t be afraid of failure; it’s funny.

26 02 2007
Lawrence

I’m quite impressed with the results myself; although, looks can be deceiving sometimes. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that they tasted as good as they looked.

So how did the rest of the trini food come out?

26 02 2007
markruinsdinner

As Karen made the rest of the Trini food, it was all delicious. Pelau, Curry chicken, potato, and channa, roti, Aliyah made aloo pies, and Sunday lunch was bake and shark. Yummy.

26 02 2007
Grandma/Mom

I did a post singing praises to Mark and his wonderful doubles and it was rejected. So I will retry tomorrow. Sorry guys……….

5 04 2007
Ayana

I love doubles! There’re days when I think doubles might just be my favorite food of all time.
I like your recipe; looks easy but delicious. I think I’m going to try and make it this weekend. I, of course, will have to add a couple of habaneros to the mix (I’m a plenty pepper kinda girl), but I’ll let you know how it turns out.

7 04 2007
chennette

Your doubles look great – and a first time too! I still rely heavily on my mother’s assistance. Congrats on your “Trinidad food”search ranking 😉

2 05 2007
Dave

Well we just came back from T&T and think doubles are somewhat like crack!!
We found ourselves eyeing everyone standing on the street wondering if they were doubles vendors.
Thanks for the recipe. I will try it out the first chance I get.
We are already Jonesing and have only been back for 24 hrs!!

2 07 2008
Rus

Doulbles

16 07 2008
  Caribbean Cuisine Online — Lifespan of a Chennette

[…] make Trinidad food” possibly due in large part to his post on making doubles, called “Two doubles, slight pepper”. Despite the name of his blog (and the latest post) he makes quite good dinners, and lunches and […]

17 08 2008
  Caribbean Cuisine — Lifespan of a Chennette

[…] make Trinidad food” possibly due in large part to his post on making doubles, called “Two doubles, slight pepper”. Despite the name of his blog (and the latest post) he makes quite good dinners, and lunches and […]

13 12 2008
Mary

I heard you can use baking soda to speed up the rising time, how long do you let raise with rapid yeast, I made them and they turned out heavy.

23 04 2010
Chris

Boss.. this stuff looks amazing. I’m yet to try making doubles.. but I sure do enjoy them. Go heavy on the pepper for moi please.

25 10 2012
Melissa

We just returned from Tobago where we had our first doubles. Then our Trini friends informed us that the best doubles are in Trinidad. On our way home we had to stay a night in Trinidad so they picked us up to take us for the good doubles. We have to say that they were right! The best part was the group of about 20 of us (6 Americans, the rest Trinis) just going throught the line time after time and the man running the stand remembering how much we had each had. I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. Anyway, I stuck with slight pepper, my 10-year old son braved the medium, and my husband went through 5 times, each time with heavy. The man said he had never had a non local do that! Now that we are back in Oklahoma my husband thinks we need to open a doubles stand. I have the same cookbook you mentioned and I think I will brave it for us, but I’ll not torture anyone else.

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