Trinidad doubles – Vegetarian street food
A “doubles” is a special Trinidad street food made up of one (a singles) or two deep fried mini roti and a comfort food tasting, lightly curried, chickpea mixture. Of course being Trinidad that just the start. Add Ooft! Hot Sauce, add Tamarind sauce, add cucumber finely chopped and mixed with coriander and lime juice, add mango salsa, make it your own! The small fried roti is called a bara and the basic filling is called channa ( curry chickpea). Then you have the dressings.
VEGETARIAN ALERT – this is a wonderful filling vegetarian meal and EVERYONE loves it!
Every morning all over Trinidad from as early at 5am the doubles vendor comes out. He has a big pot with the hot channa and an insulated box with the barra. On his table he sets out the “dressings”. Immediately queues form. He picks up two barra laying them on his hand slightly offset and then puts a big dollop of hot channa and your chosen dressings, deftly rolls it in a paper sheet and hands to you to eat right there. usually by the cart will be a cooler filled with cold soft drinks and a water dispenser to wash your hands afterwards, this is an immersive experience and an amateur will end up with channa all over his mouth and hands and a giant smile of pleasure!
Read this lovely review of Trinidad doubles in the New York Times which highlights “doubles Trinidad street food” in point 8 – see review
Of course Trinidadian doubles street food would not be complete without hot sauce so you can buy Ooft! here by clicking belowShop Now
Making the Barra mix-
225g white flour (or to be healthy half wheat and flour)
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground geera (cumin)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp or less of salt
Approx 150mls warm water (might use little more or less)
Combine all the ingredients, add water gradually
to make soft dough. Dough should not be to dry or to wet..
Cover 2-3tbs oil…sit for 2 hrs covered with cloth in a warm place.
Moisten hands with oil for each, use about golf ball size dough in hand, flatten into a circle…
Fry on med heat, when the bara rises to surface, take your spoon and toss hot oil over bara, it should puff up a bit, turn fry till light brown in color…
Have a bowl with lots of tissue and cloth to cover your bara..
Cooking the Channa (I use half bag)
Cook time 20-30mins
Pre soak overnight with 2tsp bicarbonate of soda…Rinse, drain well.
Add garlic clove, 1 tsp (chief)curry powder and salt to taste, cook in water until tender.
Drain channa, reserve the liquid…Heat oil, mix 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1/2 onion finely chopped, 1tsp curry powder, 1-2 tbs chopped cilantro in 50ml water. Fry /sauté for 2 mins, (don’t burn the curry)
Add channa to pot & stir throughly. Add the reserve liquid, you can always add more water if channa not tender..When cooked mix in 1 tsp geera, stir and set aside…
Best eaten right away, as they say in Trinidad…”On de spot”
Serve as topping… mango chutney, cucumber chutney, tamarind sauce, Ooft! Of course…