Trinidad weekend means doubles for lunch on Saturday. I’d make them for breakfast but honestly, who wants to get up that early? To me those overnight cinnamon twists are the best breakfast food ever, since they’re basically ready when you wake up. I should also try Alton’s overnight oatmeal. Good stuff. Wait, I was talking about doubles wasn’t I?
Bear with me on this, okay? This post is for my own benefit. You see, when you make something three times a year it’s tough to remember exactly how you did it the last time and how well it worked. This time it worked, and I’m writing my process down before I forget it. I start with this recipe.
Let me first say that you should make twice as much bara bread as is in that recipe, but make the same amount of channa. Trust me.
My doubles recipe called for “enough water to form a soft dough.” Anyone know what that means? Good for you, don’t rub it in. I added the water a little at a time and it looked like the dough would take an endless amount of water. So I added a lot and guess what? It was too much. Way too much. My thoughts immediately went to my blog, you know “Mark Ruins Lunch?” Not wanting to start all over, I decide to knead in more flour and hope for the best. I probably added a half cup of flour to soak up all that water.
Guess what? Something strange happened. When it came time to form the baras I noticed that they were more pliable than before. I’m guessing, of course, because I don’t remember the last time I made doubles. Karen postulated that the kneading made the baras softer and stretchier (is that a word? spell check let it go.). But there was nothing said about kneading in the recipes. Any trinis out there knead their doubles? It turned out great today.
After letting the dough rise, punching it down, and letting it rest again, I contemplated cooking them. Fry in oil, I know, but how to form them? Naparima cookbook says to shape the baras in your hand with some water as a lubricant to keep them from sticking to your hands. I tried that and it sucked. Then I tried ripping some dough off the big dough ball and coating it all over with flour (shaking off the excess). I was able to roll the dough once or twice in each direction so it wouldn’t get all lumpy, then finish shaping with my fingers before I dropped it into the oil.
Cooking time: 30 seconds per side. Previously, I used to “eyeball” the baras to see if they were done (I always cooked them too long), but this time I tried timing it. They were perfect. Well, not perfect, they could still be a little thinner, but this was the best batch ever. So authentic I could hear the coconut man and his cutlass by the UWI doubles vendor.
And that’s why I’m writing it down. Maybe next time I’ll cook with some pepper in with the channa.