Sunday, 17 March 2013

Trinidadian Doubles (home-made)

Trinidad doubles is a delicious street food from Trinidad and Tobago. It is totally delectable sandwich made from fried dough, called Bara, with curried chickpeas filling. It is usually topped with variety of chutneys such as mango, tamarind and cucumber chutneys etc. It is usually served with hot pepper sauce made from Habernero/Scotch Bonnet peppers and the amount can be varied according to your taste. In Trinidad they use "bun danya/Mexican coriander" which is used for garnishing much like the Indian coriander. See here for more info on this plant.

Doubles is usually eaten for breakfast in Trinidad, but, some times it is eaten as evening snack as well. It is the first Trinidad food that I fell in love with. I enjoy it so much that whenever we go to visit our family there they always make sure and have it for me everyday :) Click here for a video of a vendor selling doubles in Trinidad streets on Youtube (FYI).

Here, in the UK, I usually make them as often as I can. But until I now did not get a chance to actually take pics. The fried dough, bara, is very yummy and Anjalie eats them as it is (while I am cooking still) or with her favorite curry and chutney since she does not like chickpeas. The biggest trick in getting this dish correct is getting the texture of bara correct. It should be thin but soft and should pretty much melt in your mouth. So I will concentrate on the step-by-step for bara. The curried channa/chickpeas is very easy to make and can be very quick if you use canned chickpeas. I apologize in advance, for the lack of more pictures for the step-by-step instructions. However, it is the weekend which meant that my 3 yr old was home with us. Naz was busy keeping her out of trouble and the kitchen while I handled the cooking. It was difficult to take pictures once I got my hand into the dough during the shaping and frying part.  I will add them at the next earliest chance!

You will need (for bara):
1 and 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
220 ml lukewarm water*
1 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
oil for deep frying
1 tsp instant active dried yeast**

For topping (optional):
Mango chutney
Tamarind chutney
grated cucumber (with salt and black pepper)
Pepper sauce
bun danya

For curried channa/chickpeas
500 grams of dried channa cooked***/2 can of chickpeas drained
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 stalk of celery finely chopped
1 green onion finely chopped (both green and white parts)
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
2 tsps cooking oil
4 tbsps Madras curry powder (mild if making for children)- any store brand will do, although, I use the Trinidadian Chief brand; you can use more or less depending on your taste
2 tbsps water
salt and pepper to taste
200 ml water + 100 ml more if using canned chickpeas

In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, turmeric power and cumin powder. Mix well.

Add yeast and mix well. Add a little bit of the water at a time and make into a sticky soft dough.

The dough will be sticky and yellow. But do not make it too water (like in pouring consistency) or too smooth/stiff. Too much liquid will make the baras cripy like pooris and too little liquid will make them stiff and chewy.

Cover with cling film/damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hrs until doubled. Here is mine after 1 hr. You can make the curried chick peas in the mean time as follows:

For making the curried chickpeas: Heat oil in a pan. Add onion, garlic, celery and green onions. Fry until onions turn transparent. Mix the curry powder with water in a bowl and add it to the pot (taking care not to let it splutter on to your skin). Cook for 1 min until the raw smell goes. Add more water if needed. Add the cooked/drained chickpeas, salt and pepper and mix well to coat the chickpeas. If using canned chick peas cook covered on medium flame for at least 12-15 mins adding extra water as needed. Mash the chickpeas coarsely using the back of the spoon or with a masher. Cook until a semi-dry gravy consistency is achieved. Now your chickpeas filling is ready.

Keep a bowl of clean water ready next to your dough. Keep an air tight container or preferably brown paper bags lined with kitchen/paper towels ready for draining oil from bara.  Heat oil for frying to medium and maintain it. Lightly coat your hands with water so that it is damp but not dripping (important or the bara will turn crispy instead of soft). Take a small piece of the dough (you should get 15-20 baras with this recipe) and stretch it with your hands into a rough circular shape that is very thin. The dough will be sticky and it will be hard to make perfect circles do not worry about it. The dough should be thin enough to look like a window pane (i.e. light from the other side can be seen). Try to keep the thickness consistent throughout each bara so that they cook evenly. Drop them one at a time into the oil and fry for 30 secs on each side. Take them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain on the kitchen towels. For every 10 bara use another set of kitchen towels and transfer the finished 10 baras wrapped tightly with kitchen towels into the brown paper bag. This makes the bara very soft. Continue until all the dough is turned into baras. Again, sorry for the lack of pictures here.

Now let's get to the serving part:

Take any two bara and place them close together in a plate.

Add the curried channa on one of the baras.

Add your favorite toppings or chutneys.

Add pepper sauce if using.

Cover with the other bara.

Grab and enjoy!!

* You may need more or less water.
**You can use original dried yeast. But that will mean you will have to activate it in water and sugar first for 15 mins before adding to the flour and the raise time can be slightly longer.
***If using dried channa/chickpeas. Soak them over night in cold water and pressure cook them for 25-30 mins until soft.

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