You know you’ve got a favourite one, the one that makes your stomach growl by just looking at it, and the one that you’ll sink your teeth into. The one you always carve when you are hungry and want something quick and convenient.
Maybe it is a hot pastrami on rye with spicy mustard, or a grilled cheese is more your style, or you cannot resist a frank dip with tender, juicy meat on a fresh roll, or you are a shawarma guy or like the Indian kathi roll.
Sandwich is everyone’s favourite food and has its own charm to it. Sandwich in its basic form is - slices of meat, cheese or other food placed between two slices of bread. Although this mode of consumption must be as old as meat and bread, the name was adopted and popularised only in the 18th century for John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, whose cook sliced meat and bread brought to him at the gaming table so that he could continue to play as he ate. His meal caught the attention of the fellow players and they also wanted the same to be served to them and soon it was fashionable to serve sandwiches on the European continent and the word “sandwich” was also incorporated into the French language. Since that time the sandwich has been incorporated into virtually every cuisine of the west by virtue of its simplicity of preparation, portability and endless variety.
I am totally in love with my favourite Arabic sandwich shawarma which is a local delicacy and is commonly available across the city and everyone has their personal favourites. The best part of preparing, serving and consuming a sandwich is that almost any type of food can be conveniently served into a sandwich, hot or cold. British tea sandwiches are made with thin cut bread filled with fish, foie grass, cucumber, sweet bread, watercress, and tomato. Sandwiches can also be classified as open faced and closed faced ones. There are integral parts of sandwich – bread dressing and filling. In France hollowed out breads are a popular base. The United States contributed elaborate sandwich formulas to two of the most important sandwich recipes. One being the club sandwich of sliced chicken or turkey and the Reuben of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing served grilled on black bread.
Hot sandwiches are notably the hamburger and are a staple of a majority of the western population. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a mainstay of western kids’ diet. Sandwiches first appeared in mainstream cookbooks in 1816. The fillings were no longer limited to cold meat, as recipes called for a variety of things, including cheese, fruit, shellfish, nuts and mushrooms. After the civil war, there was multiple increase in sandwich consumption and they could be found anywhere from high profile luncheons to the taverns of the working class. The portability and easy off sandwich caught on with family and the sandwich became a luncheon staple.
Sandwiches are now popular all over the world, and it seems like every region has their own take on the concept. In Cuba, restaurants serve ham and cheese on Cuban bread. In the Middle East, falafel or shawarma in a pita pocket is the fast food of choice. In France, a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame can be found in most cafés. In Italy, simple and rustic panino sandwiches are the norm. In New York, pastrami on rye is king, though the Reuben takes a close second. In Philadelphia, it’s all about the cheesesteak. Sandwiches come in endless varieties, making them one of the most popular foods worldwide.
Turkey Reuben Sandwich
Turkey breast thick sliced 150 gm
Butter, softened 2 tbsp
White vinegar 1 tbsp
Black pepper 1/4 tsp
Marble rye bread 4 slices
Thousand island salad dressing 2 tbsp
Angel hair coleslaw 250 gm
Swiss cheese 4 slices
Salt a pinch
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Potato chips 60 gm
Ketchup to accompany
Preheat a non stick pan or skillet over medium heat and melt 2 tbsp butter
Add coleslaw, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper
Cook until the coleslaw is wilted, stir to avoid burning it, cook for about 5-8 minutes
Spread each slice of marble rye bread with thousand island dressing
Layer the turkey evenly over half of the bread slices, top each with 1 slice of swiss cheese
Spoon the coleslaw mixture evenly over the cheese
Cover with the remaining bread slices, dressing down
Spread softened butter over the bottom and top slices of each sandwich
Grill the sandwiches until golden brown 4 to 5 minutes per side
Serve immediately with choice of potato chips and ketchup on the side.
Note: You can make a vegetarian or vegan version of this sandwich by replacing the turkey with a sliced grilled vegetables or vegan meat and choosing the vegetarian dressing.
* Chef Tarun Kapoor, Culinary Mastermind, USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]
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