The Mumbai Double Decker Sandwich
A Double Decker sandwich may sound a bit excessive but it’s extremely delicious. The great thing about this sandwich is that you get double the opportunity to combine complex and bold flavors that all work in harmony. This is a vegetarians delight – Made with a large assortment of vegetables, fresh butter, a splash of chutneys, and a sandwich masala that will make your mouth pop.
The name Double Decker was derived from the British influence and is unique to the city of Bombay (now Mumbai). Mumbai was the first city where the red British style buses were deployed. Just like these red buses, the Double layered Sandwich has been around since the beginning of the Mumbai film industry. Its’ an all-veggie chutney sandwich that was made so often that it would get snubbed in the unforgiving city of Mumbai.
The Double Decker sandwich has as the name suggests; two layers. The first layer comprises thinly sliced vegetables – usually tomatoes, potatoes, and cucumbers. They would be placed on top, then closed with another slice.
The sandwich combinations that come out of a street-side Mumbai sandwichwala puts many panini pressing sandwich shops to shame. The Mumbai double-decker sandwich incorporates everything from freshly cut vegetables, mushrooms, and mayonnaise to pesto and even Kurkure in their sandwich shops, but the classic Bombay sandwich and toast sandwich still reigns supreme.
None of that fancy multigrain/wholewheat stuff here. Only very fresh plain white bread will do, and the cheap store-bought variety is the one you’re looking for. The best breads are the ones that are easily available – it ought to be popular brands of Mumbai ie. Gold Star, or Britannia’s Vitarich. The bigger sandwich breads are a good option if you’re making the sandwich in a panini press, but otherwise, choose smaller, regular-sized bread. Needless to say, the crusts stay on if you’re toasting the sandwich but must come off if you’re making it plain. At Tiffin2Go we use a Cranberry sourdough as it provides the perfect balance of sweetness to the spicy chutney flavored Double Decker.
Butter and Chutney
Salted butter is widely used by most Sandwichwalas of Mumbai – they are not shy about their use of butter either. Each slice is buttered and chutney-ed generously, and part of the secret lies here because both butter and chutney press to-gether to form a layer of flavor on both sides of the sandwich. Most sandwich shops of Mumbai will also finish with a smear of butter on top. As for the chutney, it must be a a bold one – no holding back. The chutney needs to stand up to almost two inches worth of stacked veggies. Generally, a coriander-mint-green chili chutney is what’s found in most Mumbai sandwiches; some chutneys have a bit more tang and less heat, but the perfect chutney should be a good mix of both.
This bit is crucial because it forms the body of the sandwich. It’s not the choice of veggies that makes or breaks a Bombay sandwich, it’s the way they are cut and piled. Sliced boiled potatoes form the base of the sandwich, which is followed by very thin, hand-cut slices of cucumber and tomato. Thin slices ensure that no one vegetable overpowers the other and there’s uniform taste in every bite. The vegetables also provide a cool component that offsets the spicy flavors of the chutneys. Some famous sandwichwalas of Mumbai also have been known to add onions, beet and capsicum to their Bombay sandwich. Everyone has their own uniqueness, ie. In a suburb of Mumbai (Vile Parle) they use a combination of mashed potatoes with salt, pepper, and chopped coriander, similar to how we make tikkis. All these additions are welcome, as they show the versatility of this sandwich.
Seasonings and Other Toppings
Double Seasoning – period. The first time you season is after you’re done slicing out a thick layer of potatoes, the second is before you close the sandwich. This is the norm. Sandwichwalas season their delectables twice; building layers of flavor as they build. While the recipe for a sandwichwala’s masala, much like his chutney, is a heavily guarded secret, We at tiffin2Go have taken it apart to make an equally flavorful spice blend of our own.
Ketchup and extra chutney are often used as side condiments – squeezed on top of the skyscraper. Some people also prefer crunchy sev as a topping, which adds yet another interesting textural component to the sandwich. We find that the best Double Decker sandwich should be served with seasoned acidic slaw.
For more information on the sandwiches that we make contact us at Tiffin2Go.com