Vegetable Egg Sandwich

It is after eight in the night, and I am standing, hungry and expectant, in front of Maa Kali Stores, the store at the crossing of Lindsay Street and Free School Street. My order is placed, and I am here for the sandwiches.

Maa Kali Stores, Lindsay St Crossing

What I love about this man who makes the sandwiches is the economy of motion with which he makes each and every sandwich. There is a list of sandwiches on offer – you can either order them grilled, or soft. The “soft version” comes in a bun, while the grilled ones are made with thin slices of milky white sandwich bread. An assortment of soft drinks and packaged juices are inside a fridge near the guy who takes my money, and you can ask him for your choice of beverage.

Preparing the Vegetable and Egg sandwich

 The first sandwich I order is the Vegetable-Egg Grilled sandwich, a perennial favorite of mine. The man takes out a thin, sharp knife, and smears some Nutralite on two slices of bread, generously. He explains, “It makes the Sandwich crunchy, and it stays crunchy longer than when you use butter”. He lops off a few slices from a cooked and peeled potato, adds slices of onions, cucumber, peppers, a small mound of grated carrots and some slices of tomato. He generously seasons this with salt and pepper.

cutting the egg

Then, with a second knife, he reaches for a boiled egg, and expertly peels off the shell in a spiral motion which fascinates me to no end. He slices the egg, but then pauses, and asks me whether I want the slices thin or thick. I opt for thick, and he cuts the egg in four thick slices on top of the vegetables. This time, he mildly seasons the eggs, and then covers the lot with the second slice of bread, before placing it on the grill which has turned black with age and use.

The egg over the fresh vegetables

 He puts the sandwich on the grill and puts down the lid, pressing it lightly, letting it cook while he works on the second order.  

building the chicken and vegetable sandwich

This time it’s a chicken and vegetable sandwich (65/-). Personally, I am not a fan of store-bought mayo, so I politely decline their offer to spruce it up with mayo and go for butter instead of nutralite for this one. They pile on the vegetables on top of the spicy chicken, and then that one goes into the grill as the vegetable-egg comes out. It’s placed on a chopping board, cut into four slices, and served up to me on a paper plate with some sauce on the side.

The vegetable-egg sandwich is crisp on the outside, hotter than blazes, and has a bed of fresh vegetables with a little bit of salt and pepper on them, together with the boiled egg. Dipping it in the fiery hot green chilli sauce served alongside, the first bite makes me feel comforted and loved after a long days’ stress. The chicken sandwich on the other hand is a blend of spicy chicken bits and crunchy vegetables and a hint of cilantro, while the toasted bread tastes and smells headily of butter. A perfect ending is some chilled cola to wash it all down, leaving a very full me walking merrily down Free School Street.

Taking the Chicken Sandwich off the Grill

Maa Kali Stores
Lindsay St/Free School St Crossing
New Market Region
Kolkata

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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