Summer of Sandwiches

Everybody loves sandwiches, right? Everywhere you go, there is always some local version made with whatever ingredients are on hand. They are versatile and eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Many of the most well-known creations have meat: doner kebab sandwiches, the muffaletta, chicken shawarma, a grilled Cuban. But what about the vegetarian and seafood sandwiches of the world? Includes links to recipes and notes on how to make them more vegan friendly.

Part 1 of 3 features 10 sandwiches from India, Pakistan, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and Australia.

1. India: Bombay sandwich – homemade caramelized onion jam, scallion chutney, potatoes, and melted cheese on sourdough (get the recipe here). Onions take more than 20 minutes to caramelize so add 15 minutes to the estimated cook time, and I used garam masala curry paste instead of the powder. You can make this grilled sandwich vegan by using olive oil instead of ghee, and substituting a dairy-free cheese that melts really well.

2. Pakistan: Bun kebab – potato and chickpea patties with red onion, omelet, cilantro mint yogurt sauce, and tamarind chutney on a sweet roll (get the recipe here). Great for people who love cilantro, the tangy yogurt sauce is especially delicious! You can make it vegan by using your favorite egg substitute for the omelet and egg wash for pan frying, using different bread (sweet rolls often contain egg and milk), and dairy-free yogurt.

Bombay sandwich from India (left), and bun kebab from Pakistan (right)

3. Laos: Khao jee – homemade sausages on a baguette with shredded carrots, watercress, garlic aioli, and chili sauce (get the recipe here). The recipe calls for ground pork so I used ground Impossible Meat so I could mix in spices and herbs like lemongrass, green onions, ginger, and shallots. Leave out the fish sauce and add soy sauce if you want to make the Impossible sausages 100% vegetarian, and substitute the aioli to make the sandwich vegan.

4. Thailand: Thai crab cake sandwich – crab cakes with scallions, cilantro, fish sauce, ginger, and chilis on a brioche bun (get the recipe here). Based on the Thai fish cake tod mun pla, which are usually served as appetizers or with rice, these crab cakes make great summer sandwiches, especially when they’re served with sriracha mayo, sweet chili sauce, and avocado.

Khao jee from Laos (left), and Thai crab cake sandwich (right)

5. India: Chutney tea sandwich – light tea sandwiches with sliced cucumber, homemade cilantro ginger chutney, and a sprinkling of toasted cumin and chaat masala on soft white bread (get the recipe here). The spicy chutney is delicious with the crunchy cucumber slices and creamy butter – make it vegan by substituting your favorite non-dairy spread.

6. Singapore: Roti John – seasoned plant-based Impossible Meat and sautéed onion in an omelet, grilled into a baguette and served with cucumber and red onion slices (get the recipe here). The assembly is a clever way to keep this street food from falling apart: the sliced baguette is placed face-down in the pan on top of the egg mixture so it cooks into the bread like a savory French toast, making sure everything holds together. Use an egg substitute to make it vegan.

Chutney sandwich from India (left), and roti John from Singapore (right)

7. Vietnam: Banh mi – slices of marinated tofu, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and sriracha mayo on a soft baguette (get the recipe here). I used sesame oil instead of olive oil for the tofu marinade, but overall a reliably delicious sandwich! Make it vegan by using a plant-based mayonnaise, or substitute your own spread instead.

8. Japan: Croquette sandwich – panko-breaded croquettes of mashed potato mixed with Field Roast veggie sausage and smoked mushrooms that are baked in the oven and served with lettuce and tonkatsu sauce in a dinner roll (get the recipe here). Called “korokke sando” in Japan, this sandwich is adapted from French croquettes and are usually deep fried. Make it vegan by substituting the butter in the mashed potatoes, the mayo on the bun, and the egg wash – and make sure your tonkatsu sauce doesn’t include oyster sauce.

Banh mi from Vietnam (left), and croquette sandwich from Japan (right)

9. Australia: Avocado toast – open-faced sandwich with avocado mashed with feta cheese, lemon juice, and chili flakes on sourdough with a fried egg (get the recipe here). The recipe calls for poached eggs but my poaching technique needs some practice. Avocado toast has endless variations; make it vegan by adding toppings like roasted garlic, tomato, fresh basil leaves, infused olive oils, or sriracha.

10. Australia: Prawn roll – prawn salad with chopped onion, celery, chives, mayo, lemon juice, and hot sauce on a warm roll with butter lettuce (get the recipe here). It’s possible to make a vegan version of this sandwich with plant-based butter and mayo, along with this recipe that uses oyster mushrooms instead of prawns – although it may not be quite the same since seafood is the star.

Avocado toast (left) and prawn roll (right) from Australia

This list of global sandwiches was inspired by this Thrillist list, although it featured a majority of meat-based sandwiches or ones with ingredients like buttered bread, mayo, and French Fries (I’m looking at you, England). The original article also didn’t provide any links to recipes.

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