Friday, April 15, 2011

Bombay Sandwich

by Aishwarya Pramod

Bhelpuri and vada pao may rule the world of Mumbai street food; but I think the Bombay Sandwich manages to hold its own quite well :)

Everyone I know likes them – hot, toasted, full of sliced vegetables, melted cheese and spicy green chutney.


I’m not really sure why it’s called a Bombay Sandwich (I googled it and found no explanations), but I think it’s probably because the sandwich as a major staple of street cuisine is only found here in Mumbai. I’ve eaten these sandwiches at Elco Arcade in Bandra, at a little stall outside my college building, at a stall in Matunga Market, in Gurukripa Restaurant in Sion, and near Podar College... And they’ve all been deliciously filling. :)

I’ve noticed that these sandwiches tend to be almost exclusively vegetarian. I suppose that’s part of the definition of a Bombay Sandwich. And there’s usually a fixed set of veggies that go into it – cucumber, tomato, potato (very important), onion, beetroot, capsicum. And the bread is always soft and white, no fancy healthy alternatives like brown or multigrain.


Some sandwich-walas add their own special twists to the sandwich. The one near my college, for example, tops his sandwiches with crunchy sev; really nice! The one near Podar College offers chocolate and cheese sandwiches, which seemed popular among the students.


The Making of a Bombay Sandwich



Spread the slices with butter, green chilly-coriander chutney, and red garlic chutney. Add fresh crunchy cucumber slices....

...thick wedges of boiled potato, and sprinkle generously with sandwich masala (a KEY ingredient). This sandwich-wala perhaps makes his own masala. When asked, "Bhaiya ismein kya hai?" he said "Ismein toh jahaan hai" :). But one could recreate this sandwich at home using sandwich masala from Kapol or Tid-bit.



Add onion, beetroot (ooh, colourful) and a ton of grated cheese...


Tomato, more masala, and finally it's ready to be toasted...


... using this contraption-thing (we have one just like it at home).

It comes out hot and golden-brown. Cut into pieces, top with more chutney, more grated cheese, or both.


Delicioso!


Oh, but I cringe to think how calorific (AND unhygienic) it probably is. Kidding, actually I don't care, I’d eat it anyway, anyday :)

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This article also appeared in Chorus+Echo, a UK-based website that
curates and publishes interesting cultural stories from around the world
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18 comments:

Anish said...

Awesome post! There's nothing like a Bombay sandwich topped with sev to stop those hunger pangs. There's a whole line of sandwich stalls at Nariman Point outside of the office buildings that feed officewallahs lunch everday, check those out too! Some of them use the huge triangular bread that fill your stomach the entire day.

Priya said...

There is nothing like the Bombay Sandwich. No other sandwich comes close to this humble snack. Good street food is so integral to Bombay. Good post, Aishwarya!

Anonymous said...

Came to know thru Facebook. Excellent writeup on the Bombay Sandwich. Yes, it is called Bombay Sandwich because it is popular in Bombay.

Vandita said...

Good post Aishu. As I read it, I recalled how much I loved these when I was in Bombay long time back. I think that masala and special spicy green chutney is the USP for this snake and makes it what it is.

Krishnaraj said...

Dear Ash,
The Bombay sandwich has been there for ages now and from the looks of it hasnt changed much. It used to cost Rs 5/- or so in the late 80s. I could almost taste it thru ur post.
You, young lady, have touched me and many others. 'Well done'.

Anu Karthik said...

I am drooling already. How much do one of these cost? And how can they even fit it in that contraption after everything they have stuffed it with. I am going to have to try this at home!

Satish said...

Excellent piece, Aishu! i am So missing the Bombay sandwich now. i remember there was this guy in Sion circle, on the other side of the subway (there was an 'Alfa' bar that side of the footpath , your mom will know). he used to make these really yummy ones.

Satish said...

Excellent piece, Aishu! I'm So missing the Bombay sandwich now! i remember there was this guy in Sion circle, on the other side of the subway (there was an 'Alfa' bar that side of the footpath , your mom will know). He used to make these really yummy ones.

sugatha said...

Hey nice post Aishwarya. Write more!

Meena Kadri said...

How fab we've got folks like you
– to post gems like this!

Akshay Anaokar said...

Wowwwwwwwww... That was indeed a mouth watering post!

You gotto try the Bombay Sandwich at the stall near the Old Passport office, Worli... Calling it HEAVEN would be an understatement!! I dunno if it's still there... But if yes, Please try that one and let me know, how u found it!!!

Once again... Awesome post Aishwarya... Like Mom.. Like Daughter!

Haddock said...

I have seen these sandwiches mostly in the fort area (probably due to the white collared working group) but the common factor that I have seen is that all of them use the same brand of bread (seen in the first picture)

artnavy said...

I miss WIBS bread here in the South

jananisings said...

I love love love Bombay! There is nothing like this city that speaks more freedom to me!

PJ said...

Oh I miss Bombay!!! and Im hungry!!! :D

Vruti said...

This made me remind my good old Engineering days when I used to have a minimum of 1 veg SADA sandwich everyday for 4 years..... :(:(

Mumbai Tiffin Service said...

Yummy. Bombay sandwich is just irresistible when its about 5 in the evening and you are not yet hungry for dinner but yet just hungry.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who have never had a Bombay Sandwich and what to make one at home. What kind of grated cheese?