Tuesday, April 10, 2007


In March, the MV Doulos came to Kaohsiung, and I was blessed to meet Roopa, who was traveling aboard. (For the whole story, click here.) Roopa has not been home to Trinidad for 18 months, so I made her some doubles, which are a popular street food there. I found the recipe at trinigourmet.com, but made some little adjustments which I will include below.

Doubles get their name from the two pieces of bara (fried bread) that sandwich the curried chickpea filling (called channa). The spices are warming, and the soft bread is comforting -- I can see why they would be popular. This is a litte taste of the carribbean (with roots in India), easily made right here in Kaohsiung.

From www.trinigourmet.com

For the bara, combine
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon geera (cumin seeds, toasted and ground)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine
1 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar

and let set to sponge for five minutes. Add to flour mixture, adding a little water if necessary to make a slightly firm dough. Mix well, cover with a cloth, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

For the channa,in a heavy skillet heat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder mixed with 1/4 cup water

and saute for a few minutes. Add
1 14 oz can chickpeas (a.k.a., garbanzo beans or ceci), drained
stir to coat, and let simmer for five minutes. Now add
1 cup water
2 teaspoons geera (cumin seeds, toasted and ground)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cover and simmer until chickpeas are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the bara. Punch down the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. Oil your hands to keep the dough from sticking, then take 1 generous tablespoon of dough and stretch it into a 4-inch circle. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging circles on a plate. Heat
oil for frying, about 1 inch deep
in a heavy skillet. Add two or three baras to the oil at a time, cooking until puffy and golden brown (about 15 seconds) before turning. Drain on paper towels.

Season the channa with
1 tsp Pepper sauce
salt to taste

and spoon onto the warm bara. Best shared with a Trini friend.

Buying tips:
Canned chickpeas/garbanzos are available at Walason's, Dollar's, Jason's, etc. One of the easier beans to find here. Walason's also has cumin seeds, which you will need to toast in a dry skillet and then grind for this recipe. I have not seen ground cumin for sale here anywhere, but I prefer to toast it and grind it myself anyway. It brings out the flavor and makes the kitchen smell good.

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