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Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

This popular breakfast food of spiced chickpeas served between two pieces of fried dough is also a late-night favorite after a good “lime,” the Trini term for “hanging out.” On Friday and Saturday nights, smart doubles vendors take to their open-air stands to serve hungry revelers seeking a midnight snack.



  • cup warm water (100–110°F)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


    Make Dough

    1 Place the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside until the mixture bubbles, about 1 to 2 minutes.

    2 In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper. Stir in the yeast mixture and add additional lukewarm water as needed, about ½ cup, until the mixture comes together into slightly firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

    Make Filling

    3 If using dried chickpeas, drain, place in a pot with 6 cups of fresh water. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and set aside. If using canned chickpeas, drain in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.

    4 Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add the garlic and stir well, frying for 1 minute. Add the curry powder and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds and then add ¼ cup of water.

    5 Stir in the drained chickpeas, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add 1 more cup of water, the cumin, and salt and pepper, and lower the heat. Simmer until the chickpeas are very tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside.

    Assemble & Fry

    6 Punch down the dough and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and flatten each into a circle about 4½ inches in diameter (dampen your hands with water if the dough is sticky).

    7 Heat about 1 cup of canola oil (at least 3 inches deep) in a frying pan or medium saucepan. Test the temperature of the oil by sprinkling a bit of flour into it; if the flour bubbles and sizzles the oil is ready. Add the dough circles in batches and fry turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 40 seconds. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

    8 To serve, place 2 tablespoons of chickpeas on a piece of fried dough. Top with the pepper sauce, Kuchela, and cucumber, if desired. Top with another piece of fried dough.