My friends welcomed me wholeheartedly into their culture, and what better way to repay them than to make their favorite street food for them in my home.
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoon gheera (cumin)
1 tsp ground pepper
2 teaspoon yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
Oil for frying
Filling (Curried Channa):
1 16oz bag of dried chickpeas (cooked in salted water and drained)
3 tablespoons curry powder
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tsp ground geera (cumin)
1 jalapeno minced
3 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, curry powder and gheera. In a separate small bowl place the warm water, sugar and yeast and set to sponge for 5 minutes. To the flour, add the yeast mixture and enough water to make a slightly firm dough. Mix well, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 1 ½ hours. Since we’ve got to wait for the dough to rise until the next step, we’re going to work on the filling now. For the filling, heat the oil in a heavy skillet, add onion, garlic, jalapeno, and 3 heaped tablespoons of curry powder mixed with 1/2 cup water.
Sauté for a few minutes. Add the channa, stir to coat well and cook for five minutes. Add 1 cup water, gheera, salt and pepper; cover, lower heat and simmer until the peas are very soft (20-30 minutes). When the channa is finished it should be moist and soft, you want the channa to basically melt in your mouth. Season to taste with additional salt if desired. And, now we’re back at it with the bara: The dough should be punched down and allowed to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. To shape the bara, take 1 tablespoon of the dough and flatten to a round, 4 or 5 inches in diameter (You want them as thin as possible without ripping a hole in the dough). In my experience, the dough is always really sticky, so I use oil to on my hands to work the dough. You do not want to work them too much, or else they will come out dense. Fry the baras in hot oil until puffy (about 15 seconds per side), turn once and drain on paper towels. When all the bara are fried, you’re going to do like the Doubles Man does, take two bara, add a heaping tablespoon (or two) on top of the bara, top with pepper sauce, shado beni, pineapple chow… WHATEVER Floats your boat! Doubles are not a sandwich… I repeat! NOT A SANDWICH, so if you try and eat them that way you’re going to get channa all over you.
My Trini friends haven’t told me that my shado beni tasted like an American trying to copy Trini food… So here’s the recipe!
1 bunch of culantro (and if you’ve never ever seen this herb in your life… you can use cilantro)
2 jalapenos (you can use less… for a mild version sub ½ of a green bell pepper)
¼ teaspoon of salt… probably more
¼ cup of water.
4 cloves of garlic
Remove the skin from the garlic, slice and place in blender. Cut and squeeze the lime juice in the blender, then add the salt, water and jalapeno. Now wash and rough cut the culantro (or cilantro I swear they’re different) and … place in the blender. Then you’re going to blend until smooth everything in the blender for about 3-4 minutes, stopping to push the ingredients down so everything gets worked. That’s it! Voila! Well… unless you need more salt. Throw it on top of your doubles or literally anything. (At the Subways in Trinidad you can put shado beni on your sandwich!)
1 chopped fresh pineapple (skin and core removed)
1 clove garlic minced
2 tbsp cilantro chopped (same thing… if you can get your hands on culantro grab it)
Juice from ½ a lime
Couple dashes of pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
If you just feel like snacking on this chow, cut the pineapples into nice sized chunks. If you’re putting this chow on your doubles, cut them into much smaller pieces (think pico de gallo). Put pineapple in a medium sized bowl, add garlic, cilantro, lime juice, pepper sauce, salt and pepper, then mix. It’s ready to go right then and there… However, if you let sit for at least 20 minutes you can get all of the flavors to meld.