|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|Place of origin||Trinidad|
|Region or state||West Indies|
|Main ingredient(s)||Flour, Chick Peas|
Doubles is a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a sandwich made with two bara (flat fried bread) filled with channa (curried chick peas). Topped with a variety of chutneys (mango, shado beni cucumber, coconut, tamarind) and extra pepper sauce (ranging from a dash "slight" to much more), this delicacy is the most popular fast food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is usually eaten for breakfast, and sometimes lunch, but can be a late night snack as well. Popular doubles venues are Sleepy's Doubles (the pioneer) at St. Helena Junction, Deen's Doubles in San Juan, Ali's Doubles in San Fernando, Sauce Doubles in Curepe, and Johnny's Doubles in La Romaine and Golconda.
Bara is a quick bread made of flour, baking powder, salt, and ground turmeric (which gives the bread its yellow color). It is flattened to a thin round disk about 4 to 5 in (10 to 13 cm) in diameter and fried until golden brown. The bara is then filled with the channa ready to be sold. There is no set recipe for the channa, which can be just curried or mixed with curry and dhal (split peas, usually the yellow variety).
The origins of this food began in Trinidad by the Deen family, Emamool Deen (a.k.a. Mamudeen) and his wife Rasulan in 1936 in Fairfield, Princes Town. The name doubles originated in 1937. When Mamudeen started the business the products he sold were fried channa wrapped in cone-shaped packs. He diversified his product line soon after by adding curried channa with chutney. He then introduced a single bara with the curried channa. His customers would ask him to double the bara, hence the name "doubles" evolved. Deen's Doubles became the pioneering brand.
As the demand for Deen's Doubles increased, Mamudeen employed his two brothers-in-law, Asgar Ali and Choate Ali to sell Deen's Doubles in 1937. The Ali brothers launched their own Ali's doubles brand in 1938. Asgar Ali chose San Fernando for his sales district and Naparima College in particular as his historical starting point. Choate Ali remained in Princes Town while Mamudeen expanded to San Juan and Port of Spain.
One of Mamudeen's sons, Shamaloo Deen, later sold Deen's Doubles in his restaurant Deen's Diner on Marion Street, St. Boniface, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, near prairies where most of the channa consumed in Trinidad is grown. On June 25, 2001, Shamaloo sold the Marion Street restaurant and the Deens Diner name to Kenneth Mungal, a fellow Trinidadian, who continues to serve doubles.
Some culinary historians plausibly assume that doubles evolved from the Indian dish chole bhature (also called chana bhatura), which is a combination of chole (chana masala), spicy chick peas and the bhature (poori), a fried puffy bread made of maida flour which is used in the making of Indian pastries, bread and biscuits.
Chole bhature is a dish served with onions and achar and commonly eaten in northern India. It is served with one large bhature which is eaten like chapati to scoop up the chole and not presented as a sandwich, like doubles. The taste difference between chole bhature and doubles is distinctive as the bara is made from all-purpose flour and spices, and Trinidadian curries and chutneys have evolved with their own unique taste characteristics.
Vendors sell doubles out of a box. Mamudeen, the pioneer of doubles, was the first to build a wooden box, painted yellow, to fit his freight bicycle from which he sold doubles. When automobiles replaced bicycles, the box remained, to preserve the original sales image. A few vendors fry their baras in makeshift kitchens in the back of pickup trucks; the channa however, continues to be produced in their home-based kitchens.