Doubles: A Fried Caribbean Secret You Should Know About

Curried chickpeas + Scotch bonnet sauce + tart tamarind + golden fried bread = breakfast of champions.

Chickpea Doubles with Tamarind and Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce Recipe
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

These Caribbean sandwiches are deep-fried, hearty, totally vegan, and one of the most satisfying breakfast street foods we've encountered.

Doubles — they're always called "doubles," never in the singular — are a popular street food in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Like so many foods in Trinidad, where a substantial chunk of the population is of Indian descent, doubles have clear South Asian roots.

The filling consists of a spiced chickpea curry called channa that's scented with garlic, onion, curry powder, and cumin. The channa is drizzled with Scotch bonnet pepper sauce and a tart tamarind sauce. Green mango pickle is another common addition. (Ideally you'd use them all at once; a balance of heat, sour, and sweet.)

The dressed channa is sandwiched in just-fried flatbread, called bara, and then rolled up in wax paper. Ground turmeric gives bara its distinctive yellow hue. The fried bread is pleasantly squishy and pliant — perfect for holding on to the chickpea filling.

Though doubles are often served as takeout street food, these sandwiches are as sloppy as they come. (If you're eating them on the go, be sure to get extra napkins.)

Of course, doubles can be enjoyed at home: Chef Kwame Onwuachi contributed a fantastic recipe to F&W (pictured above) that lays out how to make each component of the sandwich from scratch — including the fried bara bread and the Scotch bonnet pepper sauce.

Frying flatbread, whipping up a curry, and puréeing a couple of sauces might be a tall order on a busy morning. Luckily, if you're able to find a stall or restaurant that makes doubles, they will only set you back a few bucks a piece.

Doubles; Brooklyn
© Gary Soup

Where to get them: American communities with sizable Trinidadian populations, including parts of Florida and the New York metro area, will likely have doubles, sold either at standalone doubles shops or at roti shops (another popular Caribbean fast food). Here are two to try in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn — though if you walk down Nostrand Avenue, you'll find a dozen more.

A & A Bake Doubles and Roti: Hardly bigger than a closet, this diminutive shop specializes in doubles — the ladies at the counter fling channa into bara and roll it all up in seconds.

Ali's Trinidad Roti Shop: Just around the corner from A & A, Ali's is a larger venue, with a cheery yellow interior and plenty of room to sit. Expect to wait a little longer, but it's worth it to get your doubles fresh, with a nicely spiced channa and still-warm bara.

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