I’ve been asked why the lunchbox series have stalled since my move to Singapore. I don’t think the move has much to do with it or the fact that Nikhil is almost a tween/teenager. My tween is quite the foodie as I said earlier so he still prefers his yummy and healthy lunch menus from home (even if I say so myself:) over the cafeteria food. The issue itself is the lunchbox:). I used to be particularly fond of packing lunches the “laptop lunch” way or add in a fruit, a vegetable, protein and carbs in the lunchbox and the cute laptop lunch containers ensured a balanced diet. And I was super excited when we moved here to “bento land” or so it was I had assumed (with all the Asian/Japanese influence) that I invested – yes those fancy bento containers are frightfully expensive – in a Zojirushi 3 tier bento kit for Nikhil to take to his 5th grade.
Sadly it lasted a month. Zojirushi was deemed too “heavy” to carry and one day it never got home. Was apparently lost in some “black hole” in the school or was picked up by some lucky cleaning service employee – no one knows – bottom line, we are on our 7th lunch box which now has been resigned to a disposable container or even a foil wrapped burrito in a brown bag. Did it conveniently “get lost”? Not sure but it does seem to be a trend among middle schoolers to not tote the separate lunch bags. And so with the demise of the laptop type lunches, I lost the inspiration to showcase the contents.
Nikhil still cares about the contents of his lunch though and for the most part claims he prefers taking his lunch to the “sad” lunches he gets at school, except for the pizza or subway days. I can’t say for sure if they are really that sad but am secretly enjoying it while it lasts – I take it as a compliment, never mind that he is very much still a Mama’s boy:)
So this past week’s lunch menu was the sandwich that can be found at every street corner in Bombay. I found this recipe from this book I recently bought in India – Sanjeeev Kapoor’s Tiffins – Delicious and Healthy Khana for your Dabba (Hindi word for container).
Some quick and easy lunch recipes in here though many would be better off in a traditional Indian tiffin dabba or the bento tier boxes. Oh well, if we do decide to get back on that trend the recipes are tempting enough to make their way into our lunchbox – or better yet – I may start carrying one of those Indian dabbas to work just to try these recipes:)
You do need a wee bit of planning for this recipe like the green chutney and the boiled potatoes but once you have those handy this is a very simple recipe to put together in a jiffy for those crazy Monday mornings.
Quite a lip smacking sandwich and this now makes it in our every other lunch week calendar – yes I do have to make one so I don’t go crazy with the schedules. (Happy to share my weekly lunch menu here for those interested:)
- 4 slices bread
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- 1/2 cup green chutney (coriander and mint chutney – recipe below)
- 1 medium onion cut into thin rounds
- 1/2 medium cucumber cut into thin round slices
- 1 medium tomato cut into thin round slices
- 1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 tsp sandwich masala or chat masala (you can find both in India grocery stores)
- 1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns
- Salt to taste
Method for green chutney
I use this brilliant recipe from Panfusine for the green chutney. There are several green chutney recipes you will find but I like the fact that this one uses a very unusual ingredient – feta cheese – to add to the slightly “fermented” or yoghurty consistency which I think is what gives it a brilliant chutney green color and the thick consistency – perfect for a sandwich spread. I changed it a bit to add some mint as well.
- 1 bunch cilantro – 2 cups approx
- 1/2 bunch mint – 1/2 cup
- 1/2 to 1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 green chilies
- Salt to taste
Blend all the above to a smooth paste in a blender by adding a little water.
Method for Bombay sandwich:
- Trim the bread slices and spread butter and green chutney on one slice (You can skip the butter or you may add it to lessen the spice level)
- Arrange two slices of bread smeared with the chutney with the chutney slide facing up. Now add the onion, cucumber, tomato and potato slices on the chutney slide.
- Sprinkle some sandwich masala or chaat masala and top with crushed peppercorns.
- Cover with another chutney smeared bread slice – chutney side facing down.
- Cut each sandwich into two equal portions, if you’d like and pack with some tomato ketchup. You may also just pack them as is wrapped in grease proof paper to keep them from getting soggy. These sandwiches hold through quite well in the lunch box for later afternoon lunches.