An Indian-influenced chana (chickpea) curry sandwiched between two pieces of crisp naan-style bread called bara , a Trini double is the street food to eat in Trinidad after a spot of ‘liming’ – that’s hanging out with music and a few beers to you and me… As with the best post-pub food you can prepare almost everything beforehand, including shaping the dough, so the eating bit can happen quickly. They are messy, but that’s just part of the fun! you will need to begin this recipe the day before you want to eat, as the chickpeas need to soak overnight.
Soak the chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water. To make the dough, place the flour in a large bowl and stir through the yeast, cumin seeds, turmeric and salt. Pour in the water gradually, mixing together until you have a stiff dough; you may not need all the water. Drizzle the oil on to the worktop and tip the dough on to it. Knead in the oil for a few minutes until smooth. Put back in the bowl, cover and leave to prove for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and rinse under plenty of cold water, then tip into a large pan and cover with fresh cold water. Add the bicarbonate of soda and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 25–35 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.
Set another large saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin and coriander seeds. Toast for a minute or so until you can smell their aroma wafting up from the pan. Tip into a spice mill or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder. Set aside
Set the pan back over a low heat and add the oil. Stir through the onion and gently fry until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and ground spices along with the turmeric and fry for another minute. Tip in the cooked chickpeas and 500ml cold water, bring to the boil and simmer steadily until thick and rich, about 30 minutes. Stir regularly and mash up a few of the chickpeas with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Once proved tip the dough on to the worktop and chop into 8 even-sized pieces. Flatten each into a disc 5mm thick and about 12cm in diameter. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. When it’s really hot, add 4 of the bara and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side until crisp but not particularly coloured. If the oil is hot enough they will puff up a little. Drain over kitchen paper while you cook the remaining 4.
To assemble the doubles, take 2 bara and slightly overlap them on a piece of baking parchment. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of chana into the middle, add a dollop of mango chutney, a little cucumber and a shake of chilli sauce to taste. Fold over the bara to enclose the filling as best you can, and wrap the parchment around it so it supports the double as you eat.