Five Mumbai chefs show how to enjoy a bite of an environmentally-friendly sandwich

Feb 25, 2018, 09:02 IST | Jane Borges

What does it mean to enjoy a bite of an environmentally-friendly sandwich? Five city chefs show us the way

Could you be harming the environment with the simple act of biting into a sandwich? If a fresh study is to be believed, yes. Last month, researchers at the University of Manchester announced that they had concluded “a first-ever study looking at the carbon footprint of sandwiches, both home-made and pre-packaged.”

While the study gave its thumbs down to sandwiches containing pork, cheese and prawns, since these have the highest carbon footprints, it also took into account processing, transporting, packaging and refrigerating ingredients.
And so, our current fast-food sandwiches didn’t even come close to making the cut. For the environment conscious, this could spell bad news.

City chefs, however, feel there’s no better time to look at what it means to be sustainable. Based on the results of the study, five Mumbai-based chefs rustled up their own, previously unattempted versions of the ideal sustainable sandwich. And, while delicious, we can also vouch that it’s going to be a guilt-free binge.

Rushina Ghildiyal

Garhwali patudi and plant protein bread sandwich
Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal, author, menu consultant and food historian

For til ki chutney: 200 gm toasted sesame seeds, a handful of coriander leaves, 2-3 garlic cloves (optional), 1-inch piece of ginger, 2-3 green chillies, juice of 1 bada nimbu or big lemon, ½ tsp sugar (optional), a handful of mint leaves, 1 tsp roasted cumin (optional), salt to taste, water as required.

Bread sandwich

For the gehat slices: 1 ½ cup gehat, soaked for 2 hours and drained, 1 ½ tbsp green chilli chopped, 1 tbsp garlic, chopped, 1 tbsp ginger, chopped, 1.5 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda, oil to fry. For the leafy green patudi: 250g greens (of your choice), chopped fine, 1 green chilli, minced, 2 tbsp besan (chickpea flour), a little salt as greens are inherently salty.


For chutney: Place toasted sesame in a blender and blend to a coarse meal. Add coriander leaves, garlic cloves and green chillies and grind again. Add lemon juice, a little water and grind to the consistency of idli batter. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

For slices: Strain the soaked dal and leave to dry for 10 minutes. Combine chilli, garlic and ginger in a blender with the soaked dal. Transfer to a bowl, add the salt and baking powder. Mix well. Spread the coarse dal paste evenly in small baking trays. Place in a steamer and steam for 12-15 minutes until cooked. Use a cookie cutter to cut in circles and keep aside. Heat a non-stick pan and brush with oil. Place the round lentil cake on it and cook till golden and crispy. Repeat till all are done.

For patudi: Place the chopped greens in a large bowl or plate. Add salt, chillies and mix. Add the besan, start with 1 tbsp and add more if required. There should be enough flour to bind the greens. When a handful of the mixture, squeezed in your fist, holds on its own, it is ready. Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame. Add a little oil to the pan and drop in a handful of the green mixture. Flatten to form a small patty. Allow this to cook. When the side in contact with the pan is golden going on brown, flip over and cook the other side.

To assemble: Spread chutney on two slices of the ‘bread’. Take one slice, chutney side up. Place a patudi ‘patty’ on top. Add sliced mooli or onions for crunch and sandwich with the other slice chutney side down.

Nature-friendly because...
I used a traditional Garhwali recipe, because the people of this region are connected to the earth and make the most of everything. Here, I have used gehat/kulith or unpolished horsegram dal, which is a local favourite. It requires less processing.

Feta toast

Aubergine and feta toast
Mithilesh Tembe, Executive chef, 1BHK

1 whole aubergine, 30 gm red onion, 45 gm tomatoes, 3 gm green chillies, 6 gm fresh coriander, 45 ml extra virgin olive oil, 1 lime, 60 gm greek yogurt, saffron - a few strands, 1 garlic clove, charcoal for smoking, fresh mint and coriander leaves for garnish, 30 gm feta cheese, 6 gm pomegranate seeds, 1 gm black pepper crushed, 3 gm black salt, slice of sourdough bread, 15 gm tahini paste.

Mithilesh Tembe

Place the aubergine on a hot charcoal grill. Chop the onions, tomatoes, green chillies and coriander leaves. Once the aubergine is cooked, de-skin it and pull out all the seeds. Mix the leftover flesh with the tahini and chopped veggies. Add olive oil to the mixture and give it a good stir, season well and add half a lime’s zest. While the aubergine mixture is resting in the fridge, rub a nice big clove of garlic over a slice of sourdough bread, spread some olive oil over it and toast it in the oven till nice and crisp.

For smoked saffron yoghurt: Mix some soaked saffron threads with Greek yoghurt and add in the clove of garlic that you used to rub over the slice off sourdough. Mix well and season with black salt. Now, smoke the mix using charcoal for 10 minutes to impart desired smokiness.

To assemble: Place the toasted slice of bread and spread aubergine mixture over it, topping it up with a dollop of smoked saffron yogurt, pomegranate seeds, crumbled feta cheese. Use fresh mint and coriander sprigs to garnish the toast.

Nature-friendly because...
As a chef, what matters to me is bringing a delicious meal to the table, and when you combine that with sustainable ingredients, it becomes challenging. But, I think, it’s mostly about going back to our roots, and choosing a traditional, basic style of cooking.

Dumpling sandwich

Gluten-free herbed chicken dumpling sandwich
Chef Anil J, Executive chef, Su Casa

For cracked gluten-free micro buns: 225 gm gluten-free flour, 3.5 gm yeast, 4 gm salt, 10 gm sugar, 110 ml water.
For fresh herbs soft chicken dumpling: 200 gm chicken leg boneless, 10 gm shallots, 10 gm garlic, 20 gm cilantro stem, 10 gm salt, 10 ml sesame oil.
For beet coulis: 1 beetroot (roasted), 10 ml fresh cream, 15 gm cream cheese, 10 ml salt.
For sweet potato chips: 15 gm sweet potato, 6 gm peri peri powder, 100 ml refined oil

For bun: Make a dough out of the ingredients. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes, then make a small roundel, which weighs 16 gm. Bake it at 180ºC for 15 minutes. Once baked, apply olive oil wash and keep it to cool.

For chicken dumpling: Make a mix of all the ingredients by combining it together, season the meat accordingly and make a dumpling by applying oil to the hand. Each dumpling should weigh around 16 gm.

For beet coulis: Roast the beetroot in the oven by applying olive oil, salt. Roast it at 160 degree Celsius for 25 minutes. Once roasted, peel the skin gently and puree it by adding fresh cream, seasoning and cream cheese.

For sweet potato chips: Hand pick a good healthy sweet potato. Thinly slice the potato and drop it into a medium heated oil. Fry it gently till it gets a golden brown colour and pad it gently on a tissue paper.
Place the chicken dumpling on the bun. Enjoy with beet coulis and sweet potato chips.


Grilled guacamole sandwich
Chef Tushar Kalyankar, Head chef, Garde Manger Café, Vile Parle

1 ripe avocado, medium onion finely chopped, 1 green chilly finely chopped, 1 garlic clove crushed, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, 2 teaspoon olive oil (optional), chopped cilantro, lemon juice, rock salt or black salt to taste, 4 slices of brown bread panini.

Tushar Kalyankar

Take the avocado pulp in a bowl, add chopped onions, green chillies, and chopped cilantro, add crushed garlic cloves, black pepper powder and few drops of fresh lemon juice and mix well, add olive oil (optional). Toast the panini bread and apply guacamole paste on both sides. Grill till perfect. Once done, cut the bread in triangules and serve with hummus or tahini dip.

Nature-friendly because...
My idea of a sustainable sandwich is one which comprises ingredients that are locally produced and affordable. Such sandwiches should be easier to make, in order to cut down on the cooking and preparation cost.

Vegan sandwich

Power packed vegan sandwich
Rakhee Vaswani, Founder, Palate Culinary studio and Academy

For edamame dip: 50gm edamame beans, 20gm tofu, 1/2 boiled and mashed sweet potato, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp veg seasoning. Blend all ingredients together
For crumble: 1 tsp sesame (Black and white), 1 tsp flaxseeds, 1 tsp oats flour, 1 tsp coconut oil. Other ingredients include 2 slices of multigrain bread, slices of tomatoes, slices of avocados, salt.

Rakhee Vaswani

For crumble: Mix all the ingredients. Oven bake at 100 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.
For assembling: Spread the dip on the bread; put sliced avocado and tomatoes. Spread the crumble.

Nature-friendly because...
Sustainability is about having resources that are locally available, and healthy. Both, edamame and avocadoes can now, be picked up from any market.

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