Mom made doubles! when she came to visit in Guyana. Yay! Of course we were all a bit skeptical because my mother never made real doubles in our life…she turns up her nose at the street bara which are made with ONLY flour and are therefore thin and insubstantial. Her “doubles” used healthier bara made with ground dhal and highly seasoned – more like a kachorie – try wrapping something that thick and solid around anything. We used to try our best to balance the channa on the round bara and get it into the indentations.
But this, this is real bara – she didn’t add anything, just, flour, water, turmeric, salt etc, and yeast.
Recipe Notes - You can make bara using ground split peas/split peas flour, but I don’t think the doubles man on the street does that – the bara is just too limp to have anything but flour. And channa for street doubles is not normally curried (in the traditional Trini sense), but rather boiled until soft and runny with all the seasonings – this is the easiest way to get the channa for bulk street sales. And I can tell you that the recipes here, tasted authentic enough Everyone has their own version, and most people prefer to buy it on the street anyway!
Baras (maybe about 2 dozen)
* 2 lbs flour
* 2 tablespoons of baking powder
* salt and geera/cumin to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or an extra pinch if needed
* 1 teaspoon yeast
* 1 teaspoon brown sugar
* approximately 2.5 cups water (possibly up to 1/2 cup more) (forgot this before!)
1. Mix well and knead until it becomes a soft dough.
2. Smooth over with oil or water and allow to rest until dough has risen to about double.
3. Heat oil at least 2 inches deep in a heavy pot.
4. Break off pieces of dough about the size of golf balls (or a little bigger).
5. Stretch out into rounds about the size of the palm of your handand place gently in oil. Wet or oil your hands to make this job easier, as this is a very sticky stretchy dough.
6. Turn over as soon as it starts to swell. Take out when it is puffy and golden.
7. Stack the baras on brown paper, keep covered to keep them soft. (For the really limp bara you get from the doubles man, you probably have to make a hundred or so and stack them up in a cooler, the way he does, the heat and weight will flatten them then )
* 1/2 lb dried channa/chick peas (I don’t like the taste of the tinned chick peas, but you can use that, it cooks a lot faster, or if available and you are rushed, channa comes curried in tins now!)
* 3-4 cloves minced garlic
* 1 tablespoon each chopped chadon beni/bandhania (coriander/cliantro as a substitute) and chive
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
* salt, pepper and geera/cumin to taste
* 1 whole congo/scotch bonnet pepper (do not chop or burst unless you want the channa to burn without even the chutney!)
* (optional) 1/2 teaspoon curry powder)
1. Soak the dried channa overnight (24 hours), changing the water at least twice (if using tinned channa, rinse very very well).
2. Put channa in a pot/pressure cooker and cover with fresh water, about 2 inches above the level of the peas (less if using a pressure cooker).
3. Add the seasonings and bring to a boil. Cook until the channa is very soft. There must still be liquid in the pot, so don’t let it dry out.
Recipe Notes (continued): If you want to curry the channa properly instead of the above version-
1. Boil the channa with salt, garlic, pepper and turmeric until soft, but not too much liquid.
2. Saute one thinly sliced onion in oil until golden.
3. Add a tablespoon of curry powder to the onions.
4. Add the cooked channa, stir well. Add other seasonings, stir and cover for about 10 minutes.
5. Add some water and let the channa cook to a nice soft mushy consistency, tasting for seasonings.
* * * * * * * * * *
Assemble the doubles by laying out 2 baras overlapping each other at the ends (on paper or a plate) and top with a spoon of channa. Top that with your choice of hot pepper sauce, chutneys whether chadon beni/bandhania, tamarind, cucumber, mango or coconut. If on paper, wrap it up like the picture or eat it the way I do, using one bara to scoop up half the filling and repeat.
My Doubles set on Flickr.
P.S. I found that website I mentioned earlier where someone had left a comment that the doubles he eaten were made with BAKED bara! Read to the end, after the recipe! And I still wish that I could respond to that person…but maybe he asked the doublesmen in Piarco and found out the truth. There’s always hope.
Addition: Marsha tried making the bara as she mentioned in her comment, so go see how she fared. Of course, she’s no different from me in that she tweaks recipes from the word go cooking is indeed fun!
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