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If you could only post ten links on your blogroll, which sites would you choose? TriniGourmet.com would make our list for sure. It highlights Trinidadian ‘fusion’ cuisine with some international recipes, while staying kosher, in keeping with its author’s Jewish heritage.
Sarina Nicole, who is half-Trinidadian, half-Jamaican, has a heck of an impressive resume. Besides being an outstanding food blogger, she is also a life coach, and tries to generate awareness about Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Health problems and a car accident have not held this very talented (and attractive) girl back. Wishing you a quick recovery, Sarina.
Carribean cuisine has a major Indian influence, and the Trinidad ‘Doubles’ is not unlike the Indian Chole or Chana Batura. Immigrants from India, like these coolies (manual labourers) who arrived in 1897, brought these recipes with them.
“Trinidad Doubles is the ultimate local street food. It’s cheap. Usually hot/warm. Hearty. Filling. The below recipe is for the old skool style of doubles with 2 bara that form a “chickpea sandwich”. These days doubles vendors more often will make one large bara that is then folded over to enclose the curried channa filling. You can see that method in this video!
One large thin bara may be good for speed and profits but let’s not let the 2 bara method die out either, it is after all how doubles got its name! Plus it’s cute!
By the way, I’ve seen online several people mentioning that their bara tends to come out like fried bake (bready?) So I should let readers know that done right bara should be spongy and pillowy, light and chewy and very flexible/bendable.
(adapted from a recipe in the Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook)
Makes 6 servings
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon gheera (cumin)
½ tsp ground pepper
1 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
¼ tsp sugar
Oil for frying
Filling (Curried Channa):
1 14 oz channa (chickpeas/garbanzo beans), tinned
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tsp ground geera (cumin)
1 tsp Pepper sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, curry powder and gheera.
2. In a separate small bowl place the warm water, sugar and yeast and set to sponge for 5 minutes.
3. To the flour, add the yeast mixture and enough water to make a slightly firm dough.
4. Mix well, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 1½ hours.
5. For the filling, heat the oil in a heavy skillet, add onion, garlic and 1 heaped tablespoon of curry powder mixed with ¼ cup water.
6. Saute for a few minutes.
7. Add the channa, stir to coat well and cook for five minutes.
8. Add 1 cup water, gheera, salt and pepper; cover, lower heat and simmer until the peas are very soft (20-30 minutes).
9. When the channa is finished it should be moist and soft.
10. Add pepper sauce and season to taste with additional salt if desired.
11. For the bara: The dough should be punched down and allowed to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
12. To shape the bara, take 1 tablespoon of the dough and flatten to a round, 4 or 5 inches in diameter.
13. Use oil to moisten palms of your hands so that the dough won’t stick to them.
14. Fry the baras in hot oil until puffy (about 15 seconds per side), turn once and drain on kitchen paper
15. When all are cooked, fill with channa by placing a heaping tablespoon of the cooked filling on each bara, covering with another to form a sandwich.
(Post and picture reproduced with permission from here. Do check out the additional pictures, video and tips at that link.)
Temple in the Sea. Picture from here.