This is my own concoction, and it represents a truly British dish, needing the right combination of immigrant groups in sufficient numbers to have shops providing for them.
Patra is an Indian speciality made by spreading a spicy gram flour batter on taro leaves, rolling it up Swiss roll fashion and steaming it. It is available from Indian groceries in two forms in the UK. The easiest to find is canned but it is also available frozen, and this is, in my opinion, much better. The amount of patra you need depends on the size of the patra (the frozen is smaller) and the size of your slice of bread.
Polish shops have a range of ketchups. The “extra hot” one illustrated is not as spicy as it claims but has a nice tang. You can always spice it up by going to a Chinese or North American grocery and getting a hot chili sauce to add to it.
To make one sandwich:
between 3 and 5 slices of patra
2 slices wholemeal bread
Polish “extra hot” tomato ketchup
1-2 tbs olive oil
½ tsp white sesame seeds
½ tsp cumin seed
a pinch of asafœtida (hing)
Heat the oil in frying pan and add the spices. Cook for about thirty seconds before adding the patra and turning the heat down. When cooked, it goes a lovely golden brown colour – after a few minutes you will have to flip the slices.
Meanwhile, take one slice of your bread and put lots of ketchup on it. When the patra is done, arrange it on this slice of bread, add some more ketchup and bung the other slice over it. Cut in two and eat.
This wholemeal soda bread has been known to impress your actual, genuine Irish people – and there’s not a drop of buttermilk to be seen.
As usual, I’m using my metric 250ml cup. The US one is 225ml, but don’t worry – it’s the proportions that count. Every ingredient seems to be called something different in American, so I will try and keep the recipe bilingual.
4 cups wholemeal/wholewheat flour (or 3 wholemeal plus 1 plain/all purpose white flour)
Approx 2 cups soya/soy milk, ideally sour, with a teaspoon of vinegar added to make sure.
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda/baking soda.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C./400 degrees F. (it says 392 here, but I’m sure it’s not that crucial!). If you don’t have a fan-assisted oven, go a wee bit hotter than this.
Mix the flour and the soda in a big bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups of soya milk and mix. Add more soya milk if needed.
Knead for a few minutes. I prefer to knead in a bowl, but others use a floured board.
Retrieve a baking/cookie sheet, and grease it well with vegan margarine.
Form the dough into a ball, place it on the sheet, and flatten slightly. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross in the top.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes. It should sound hollow when you tap the bottom, if it is done. Use the time to make a nice soup or something…