Chef Brigette Joseph shares her recipe for Doubles, the most popular street food in Trinidad & Tobago. This recipe demonstrates how to achieve a tasty channa using Cuisine Chick Peas/ Channa as well as the method for making a light and fluffy bara.
Special thanks to Cuisine for sponsoring this episode of Simply Local. Cuisine products can be found at Massy Stores nationwide.
Make Green Seasoning. The ingredients in the green seasoning is very important as it adds to the flavor profile of the channa.
Place dried channa and split peas in heavy bottomed pot. Wash with cold water and drain.
Add onions, pimentos, baking soda & salt to the pot along with the dried peas and cover with 6 cups water. Turn stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Some white foam will come to the top as it boils, skim it off the top with a pot spoon.
After skimming the white foam, add the green seasoning, saffron powder and geera and mix thoroughly. The saffron will make the water turn a burnt orange colour, do not be concerned.
Skim any further foam that comes up and bring to a rapid boil and then turn your heat down to low/simmer.
This process will take from about 2 to 2.5 hours, please keep stirring the channa intermittently, as you don’t want it to stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
After 2 hours, your channa should have the texture that you are used to seeing at the vendors, thick sauce with whole channa grains. Check the channa grains for doneness. When the channa is soft enough to squeeze with very little effort, it is ready.
Check for salt, add to taste. Turn off heat but keep on stovetop to stay warm until bara is ready.
Blend with a small amount of water until ingredients are finely chopped but not a puree.
Makes 22, palm-sized baras
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp yeast
2 tsp brown sugar
Oil for frying
N.B. you can start this process after the first hour that your channa is cooking.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric together in a medium sized bowl with a fork to ensure that the turmeric is combined throughout.
Add brown sugar and yeast to mixture and mix further.
Add water to 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 bring the dough together. The dough will look a bit shaggy, at this point you can add a drop of water to bring it all together and knead for about 5 minutes till it makes a nice ball. The dough will have a very light-yellow hue at this point, do not worry, it will get yellower as it rests.
Place dough ball at bottom of 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 & a dish towel for when you are frying your bara and place next to the stove.
To Fry: After dough has risen about double in size, pinch off pieces dough about the size of a ping-pong ball and place the small balls on a greased tray to wait for shaping and frying.
Place vegetable oil in pot to fry, about 2 inches up the side of the pot, you don’t need much.
Rub some oil on a flat surface (preferably close to the pot with oil on the kitchen counter) that has been cleaned and sanitized. Place a dough ball on the greased countertop 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 fries very quickly.
Place bara dough with two hands into the oil very carefully. 2 SECONDS LATER using a 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 dish towel. Repeat until all balls of dough are fried.
Monitor the heat level of your oil, you don’t want your oil to get super hot and burn your dough, so midway through frying you can lower the heat.
Wash your hands in between each step. To avoid cross contamination, gather all ingredients first so you won’t be touching too many surfaces while in the process.
Wash your hands again!
I tested cooking of the channa both from dry and also dried channa soaked I preferred the dry one without soaking as the flavor was excellent as the grain was hydrated with the flavor in the water I was boiling it in.