Before you say yes, ask yourself…”Have I ever had a really good doubles?” Of course, this may be the second question you ask yourself. The first one for many a non Caribbean person, the first question may well be, “what on earth is (or are) a doubles?”
Well, remembering this is only my blog and not an official site for national treasures, a doubles is a food that many a Trinidadian consider a staple. There are some Trinis that do not like doubles (GASP) and cannot see what the rave is about, but for those of us that do enjoy the delicacy, doubles is a must.
So, to get to the point, and according to a Google translation, “doubles is a common street food originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Doubles are made with two baras and filled with curried channa and various chutneys.” A bara is a deep fried dough resembling a flat bread, think pita but hand-sized. The channa filling is well-spiced curried chick-peas.
Below is the recipe for the bara (the flat-bread deep fried dough).
Recipe from Chef Brigette Joseph @chefbrigetterj
2 cups of flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp tumeric
1 tsp yeast
2 tsp light or dark brown sugar
oil for frying
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and tumeric together in a medium sized bowl with a fork to ensure that the tumeric is combined throughout.
Add brown sugar and yeast to mixture and mix further.
Add water to the flour mixture in steps to ensure that you don’t add too much and make the dough too wet. Add just enough to combine the flour and using your hand to bring the dough together.
The dough will look a bit shaggy, but at this point you can add a drop of water to bring it all together and knead for about 5 minutes til it makes a nice ball. The dough will have a very light yellow hue at this point, do not worry, it will get more yellow as it rests.
Place dough ball at the bottom of a bowl (you can use the same mixing bowl) and cover with oil.
Cover bowl with a towel and let rise for about an hour. While dough is rising, prepare container lined with paper towels and a dish towel to hold your fried bara and place the container next to the stove.
After the dough has risen to about double in size, pinch off pieces of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball and place the small balls on a greased tray to wait for shaping and frying.
Pour vegetable oil into a deep pot to fry bara, about 2 inches deep as you don’t need much for frying.
Rub some oil on a flat surface (preferably close to the pot with the oil) that has been cleaned and sanitized.
Place a dough ball on the greased counter-top and using your fingertips, flatten into a circular disc until very thin. It will be very sticky, so use oil to grease your fingertips. You can flatten a couple of these while your oil heats up as it fried very quickly.
Place bara dough with two hands into the oil very carefully.
2 SECONDS LATER using a pair of tongs, flip bara in oil for an additional ONE SECOND and remove from oil quickly (but carefully).
Place in the draining bowl and cover with a dish towel. Repeat until all balls of dough are fried.
Makes 20-22 palm-sized bara
If you cannot get the true, authentic version right now, then making them is a must. You will thank me for it. Bake good choices folks!