Sandwich Week: the best sandwich recipes from around the world

Date:14-05-2014 07:58:05 read:0

Sandwich Week: the best sandwich recipes from around the world

To mark National Sandwich Week, Helen Graves, author of the book '101 Sandwiches', shares six sensational recipes from across the globe

Vietnamese favourite: Helen's nánh mì with caramel pork 

VIETNAM: Caramel pork bánh mì

The bánh mì is arguably one of the world's greatest sandwiches. A light baguette is stuffed with various fillings, which may include pork, pâté, sausages, sardines, or tofu, among others. It is garnished with fresh coriander, chilli, cucumber slices and pickled carrot and daikon radish and is a lesson in the power of contrasts.

The sandwich is a product of the French colonial presence in Vietnam, which resulted in ingredients like baguette, mayonnaise, and pâté being combined with Vietnamese pickles and spice.

Makes 4


For the carrot and daijon pickle

1/2 cup (125ml) rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup (50g) caster sugar

1 carrot, about 2.oz (75g),cut into short thin sticks

1 daikon radish, about 7oz (200g), cut into short thin sticks

For the caramel pork

6 tbsp caster sugar (800g) pork belly, skin removed and cut into cubes

Scant 1/2 cup (100ml) fish sauce (Three Crabs is a good brand)

4 spring onions, white parts only, bashed with the flat side of a knife

2 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed with the flat side of a knife

4 black peppercorns

A pinch of sea salt

4 x 6in (15cm) (-ish; don't go getting the tape measure out) lengths of white baguette


1 fresh red chili, sliced (seeded or not is up to you)

1 cucumber, halved and sliced lengthwise into long sticks

Fresh coriander leaves

To make the carrot and daikon pickle, mix the vinegar, salt, and sugar together in a bowl until everything is dissolved. Add the vegetables and press down to make sure they are all covered by the liquid. Set aside to pickle for at least an hour before eating, or a couple of days (in the refrigerator) if you're feeling organized.

The pickle will keep for around 4 weeks if well sealed and stored in the refrigerator.

To make the caramel pork, mix the sugar with 4 tablespoons water in a pan and cook over a high heat, without stirring, until the sugar is a rich golden color. Very carefully add the pork cubes to the pan and stir so the meat is coated with the caramel. Add enough water to cover the pork, then slowly bring to a boil, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface.

Reduce to a simmer and add the fish sauce, spring onions, garlic, cloves, peppercorns, and a pinch of salt. Cook, uncovered, for 15–30 minutes, or until the pork is tender.

Remove the pork from the liquid and set aside on a plate. Remove the scallions and garlic cloves from the liquid and discard, then turn up the heat. Let this reduce until you have only .in (1cm) or so of liquid left—this should take about 10 minutes. Place the pork back in the pan and stir well.

To assemble the banh mi, split each section of baguette and hollow each piece out slightly by removing some of the bread inside. Spread one side with mayonnaise and add a few slices of fresh chili. Add some caramel pork belly chunks, followed by a heaped tablespoonful or so of carrot and daikon pickle, some cucumber sticks, and coriander leaves. Serve immediately.

FRANCE: Croque Monsieur

The croque monsieur (“crisp mister”) is a French classic; a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a typically Gallic twist of decadence in the form of béchamel sauce. It appeared on Parisian café menus in 1910, although, as with many sandwiches, the original creator is unknown; some say that it was a happy accident — the result of workmen leaving their sandwiches too close to the radiator.

There are many variations on the classic croque, including the croque madame (with a fried egg on top); the croque provençal (with tomatoes and herbs); croque norvégien (salmon instead of ham); and croque Hawaiian (with a slice of pineapple), among others. A classic is a classic, however, so that's what you're getting here.

Makes 2


For the bechamel sauce

Generous 1 3/4 cups (425ml) milk

A few black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

A slice of onion

3 tbsp (40g) butter

3/4 oz (20g) all-purpose (plain) flour

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the sandwiches

4 slices sturdy white bread

Butter, at room temperature

4 slices cooked ham

Gruyère cheese, grated

Dijon mustard, to serve (you may also consider spreading some mustard inside the sandwich)

To make the bechamel sauce, heat the milk gently in a saucepan with the peppercorns, bay leaves, and onion. When it reaches simmering point, take it off the heat and strain into a bowl. Discard the flavorings.

Melt the butter in a separate saucepan, then mix in the flour, stirring vigorously to make a smooth paste, or roux. Start adding the milk slowly, mixing all the time. When about half of it is in, start adding it in larger quantities. The sauce should be smooth and glossy. Let it cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring, then remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the grill to low.

To make the sandwiches, start by lightly toasting the bread slices. Spread with butter, then add a layer of ham, followed by a healthy layer of grated cheese to 2 of the slices. Add a second slice of toasted bread to each sandwich and top with a good blanket of the bechamel sauce. Add a little extra cheese on top, if you like.

Place the assembled sandwiches under the grill and grill until the sandwiches are oozing, melting, and generally lookinggorgeous. It's good to do this slowly in order to make sure that the cheese inside is melted too. When it's going nicely, turn up the broiler a bit to get the top all nice and bubbly. Serve immediately with some mustard.

INDIA: Kati roll

Kati rolls originate from Kolkata, specifically a restaurant called Nizam, and they're traditionally a paratha (a flaky flatbread with paper-thin layers) rolled around various fillings. Today, the kati roll is made with a variety of Indian flatbreads, and the fillings are numerous, ranging from curried meats and vegetables to eggs and potatoes.

I've used aloo gobi (spiced cauliflower and potato), but you can use any leftover curry. In fact, I urge you to use up your leftover curry this way; we all know it tastes so much better the next morning too. Store-bought parathas are perfectly fine to use for this and in fact, are really rather good nowadays.

Makes 4


For the aloo gobi

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 heaped tsp mustard seeds

10 (fresh or dried) curry leaves

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 cauliflower, broken into smallflorets

3 large potatoes, cut into smallish cubes

Pinch of asafoetida (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Fresh coriander leaves

1 fresh red chilli, thinly sliced (seeded or not is up to you)

4 parathas or other Indian flatbreads

1/4 red onion, sliced

For the green chutney and yoghurt

A large bunch of fresh coriander

A handful of fresh mint leaves

About 5 fresh green chillies, chopped (seeded or not is up to you)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp plain yoghurt

To make the chutney, blend the coriander, mint, green chillies and lemon juice together with a splash of water. Add the vegetable oil, plus some salt, and blend to mix. Add the yoghurt, and set aside.

To make the aloo gobi, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or skillet and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the turmeric, cauliflower, potatoes, and asafoetida, if using, and stir briefly.

Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked and the sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper, then add coriander leaves and chilli slices, to taste.

To assemble each roll, heat a paratha in a dry frying pan or skillet for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan, add a line of aloo gobi, followed by some red onion slices and the yogurty green chutney. Roll up and serve.

USA: Muffaletta

They really know how to make a good sandwich in New Orleans. Consider the Po Boy and this, the muffaletta. Born in the French quarter, it is said that its invention can be attributed to the observant eye of a grocer, who noticed Sicilian workers buying all the constituent ingredients for their lunch and balancing the lot precariously on their weary knees while attempting to eat. The grocer suggested that they stuff everything into a sandwich for ease of transporting it into their mouths, and so the muffaletta was born.

Makes 1 muffaletta for several people to share— serves about 4 (obviously the quantities here depend on the size of your loaf but, really, it's just a case of layering everything up inside the loaf)


For the olive salad

51⁄2oz (150g) pitted (stoned) black olives

51⁄2oz (150g) pitted (stoned) green olives

21⁄4oz (60g) Italian pickled vegetables (giardiniera), drained

1 tbsp capers, rinsed and patted dry

1 small red onion

4 canned anchovy fillets, drained

1 tsp dried oregano

Olive oil, for drizzling

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1 focaccia loaf (or a muffaletta if you're lucky or live in New Orleans)

10 slices capicola or salami

10 slices mortadella

10 slices cooked ham

8 slices Swiss cheese

8 slices Provolone cheese

To make the olive salad, finely chop the olives, pickled vegetables, capers and red onion. Mash the anchovy fillets and add to the chopped vegetables, along with the oregano. Add enough olive oil to moisten the mixture, taste, and then season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the sandwich, cut the loaf in half and begin by removing some of the crumb from the inside of each half to make room for the filling. Brush the inside of the bread halves with a little of the oil from the olive salad, then layer up the meats and cheeses on the bottom half. Add a layer of olive salad on top, basically as much as you can fit in without it all falling out the sides, then cover with the top half of the loaf.

Press down the sandwich lightly, to secure everything but not squash it. Cut the sandwich into portions to serve. Serve any leftover olive salad on the side.


Kebabs have a somewhat tarnished reputation as poor-quality meat mops, sponging up the consequences of a boozy night out. Often referred to as an “elephant’s leg,” the great rotating kebab shop spit is regarded with derision during sobriety.

A proper shawarma, however, is something special. This Levantine-Arab specialty sees various types of meat, including beef, lamb, chicken, veal, or a mixture, marinated in a complex blend of herbs and spices, mounted on a spit, and broiled (grilled) vertically, ready to be shaved and served to order. The shawarma can also refer to sliced marinated meats, which are grilled over the direct heat of the fire.

As with many sandwiches, particularly spiced ones, condiments are key; the shawarma is usually served with parsley-flecked tabbouleh, tarator sauce (a tahini garlic sauce; every kebab shop has its secret recipe), pickles, and cooling cucumber and tomato.

Makes 10


For the lamb and marinade

4 tbsp red wine vinegar

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

3 cardamom pods, crushed

Pinch of caster sugar

At least 1 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

50lb (2.5kg) leg of lamb, butterflied

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the tarator sauce

1 slice white bread (crusts removed), broken up into small pieces

1 tbsp tahini, or to taste

3 garlic cloves (skin on), roasted and cooled, then the soft flesh squeezed out of the skins

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Generous pinch of ground cumin

For the tabbouleh

1⁄3 cup (50g) bulgur wheat, cooked according to packet instructions, then drained and cooled

3oz (85g) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a bit of stalk is fine), very finely chopped

6 cherry tomatoes, very finely chopped

4 spring onions, green parts only, very thinly sliced

A small handful of fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped

1 garlic clove (peeled), blanched for a minute in boiling water, then drained and crushed

About 4 tbsp olive oil

Lemon juice, to taste

10 large pitta breads, to serve

Sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and pickles (pickled chilies and pickled turnips are ideal), to serve

To prepare the lamb and marinade, mix all the ingredients together, except the lamb and salt and pepper for seasoning. Make deep slits all over the lamb and spread the marinade all over it, working it into the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, bring the lamb to room temperature. Light a BBQ for direct grilling. Once the flames have died down and the coals have turned white, it’s ready for cooking. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Place the lamb on the grill, fat-side down, and grill for about 20 minutes. Turn the lamb over and grill for a further 20 minutes, until cooked. Remove the lamb from the grill, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Meanwhile, make the tarator sauce and tabbouleh salad.

To make the tarator sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding enough cold water to loosen the mixture to the consistency of ketchup. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the tabbouleh, mix all the ingredients together and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To assemble the sandwiches, toast the pitta breads, then split and fill with hot sliced lamb, tarator sauce, tabbouleh, and sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and pickles. Serve at once.

MEXICO: Burrito

The word burrito means “little donkey,” and the original burritos, from the North Mexican state of Chihuahua, were indeed small, containing only one or two fillings.

There is nothing little about the Mexican-American hulks we are familiar with today, however; huge lunking beasts capable of slaying a grown man at ten paces. These overstuffed, aluminum foil-wrapped burritos we find in town are known as San Francisco or “Mission style” burritos. They typically contain numerous fillings such as meat, cheese, sour cream, refried beans, salsa, and guacamole.

This recipe makes a burrito that comes somewhere in the middle of the authentic and modern. It's like a little donkey that’s become a bit fat.

Makes 4


For the salsa roja

2 dried chipotle chillies

2 dried ancho chillies

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

6 ripe tomatoes, halved

1 onion, cut into wedges

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Chopped fresh coriander

Juice of 1 lime

Caster sugar, to taste

Sea salt, to taste

For the guacamole

1 fresh red chlili, finely chopped (seeded or not is up to you)

2 ripe avocados

Juice of 1 lime

½ small red onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

For the burritos

4 corn tortillas

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 onion, sliced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

12oz (350g) top sirloin (rump) steak,cut into small pieces

Sour cream

To make the salsa roja, toast the chilies in a dry pan over a low-medium heat for a few minutes, turning occasionally, then add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast until fragrant, moving the pan around to ensure they don't burn. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on the rack in a grill pan and cook for about 15 minutes, until starting to char. Meanwhile, simmer the toasted chillies in a small saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes, until tender, then drain. Blend the chillies with the charred vegetables and garlic and toasted seeds in a food processor.

Season the salsa with chopped coriander, lime juice, sugar, and salt to taste. Set aside.

To make the guacamole, pound the chili to a paste with a little salt in a pestle and mortar. Halve, peel, and pit (stone) the avocados and add them too, bashing them up but leaving nice chunks in places. Add the juice of ½ lime and mix well. Stir in the onion and coriander. Taste, and add more salt and lime juice if necessary. Set aside.

To make the burritos, wrap the corn tortillas in a damp clean dish towel, place in a dish, and warm through in a low oven —250°F (120°C/Gas ½) — for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan, add the onion and bell pepper, and cook until beginning to color. Add the steak pieces and fry for about 2 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

To assemble the burritos, lay the corn tortillas out flat and add the fillings in a horizontal line toward the lower half. Add a line of the steak mixture, followed by line of guacamole, and then one of salsa. Add a little sour cream, then roll the bottom side of the tortilla over the filling. Tuck in the sides of the tortilla and continue rolling until everything is contained. Serve the burritos immediately.

*101 Sandwiches by Helen Graves is published by Dog 'n' Bone Books. For more information, go to:

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    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013