As a hostel fresher I lived for a long time on a steady diet of smuggled mess food. The just edible food was cold and unpalatable by the time it reached us and could only be salvaged by generous dollops of homemade pickle from all over the country.
This was Bangalore in the nineties. The city was just acquiring the reputation of being the Pub City with a great night life, and here we were stuck in an underground dormitory poring over Anatomy text books and shivering at the sound of footsteps. If there was a definition for anticlimax – this it would be.
A month into this dump, I remember sneaking out with a friend on the pretext of buying Air tickets and going to MG road. MG Road at that time was THE destination. It was the hippest part of town and the coolest hangout spot. Menial freshers attempting to even look at M G Road before the fresher’s night was over, was unheard of.
Dowdily clad we stepped out of the auto at MG Road, in the light drizzle that then characterized Bangalore. It was then that I first smelt the real Bangalore.
It was a heady irresistible smell. We were drawn to the smell as if we had heard the call of the Pied Piper. We moved towards it – oblivious of the disapproving upturned noses of the swish crowd that took in our dowdy appearance.
The trance ended only when we sunk our teeth into the smell - that had converted into a Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich and it made its way down our throats and ended in nothingness.
When I close my eyes I can still taste that sandwich in my mouth. I have tried unsuccessfully to replicate that taste in the many sandwiches that I have assembled since that day. Maybe I have never been that hungry since.
Today’s recipe is the ubiquitous Chicken Sandwich. It is not grilled but it is super simple and a sure fire hit every time it is served.
1. Open a pack of Boneless Breast of Chicken (250gms). Boil it with some salt (to taste). I always pressure cook it for one whistle, but then I have to be excused my idiosyncrasies as a Microbiologist. Anyway pressure cooking works just as well.
2. Once the chicken is boiled, shred it. I just chop it up with the knife like I’m chopping onions.
3. Now chop up a tomato as well
4. Put the chicken and the tomato in a bowl and add 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (I buy my mayonnaise)
5. Mix all this well
6. Now take the best sandwich bread you can find and layer this mixture on one slice and place another slice over it.
7. With a sharp serrated knife, cut the sandwich up into two rectangles. You could make triangles but they are more prone to breaking and so I never try that shape.
8. Repeat this until all the mixture is over. You should have at least ten sandwiches by then
9. The sandwiches are now ready
10. Until you serve them refrigerate them. It is a good idea to wrap the sandwiches in a moist kitchen towel and keep them like that even when you put them on the table to prevent the bread from becoming crusty.