This is almost a first for me on 196 flavors: an authentic AND simple recipe!
Vera and I decided to have an easy “back to school” transition with a week featuring sandwiches. No offense to real gluten-intolerant people… or our Californian friends who are crazy about yoga, kale and other vegan religions…
The recipe I picked is originally from Malaysia and comes with an interesting story, even though it is quite recent.
According to the legend, roti John first appeared in the 60s. An Englishman asked for a hamburger to a hawker in Sembawang, in Singapore. Having no hamburger to offer, the hawker had the ingenious idea to fry minced mutton and onions with eggs into a loaf. Roti John was born… well, almost… as it still didn’t have a name. The street vendor gave the sandwich to the Englishman and said “Silakan makan roti, John,” which translates to “Please eat this bread, John”. John is the name given to Westerners in the region.
It was only in the 70s that this sandwich began to experience a great success. A hawker named Shukor settled in the Taman Serasi center in 1976 and began to offer this popular sandwich. Minced mutton meat, onions, eggs and Sambal plated on a fairly soft baguette bread and cooked on a griddle.
Since then, his wife and his daughter Noriani have taken over after moving the kiosk to the Serangoon Garden Market. Here is his granddaughter Sufiah explaining the steps for preparing the original roti John.
Numerous roti John variants have been created since with chicken, beef, cheese or sardines. The end result should give a crusty bread to the outside with a soft mixture of egg and meat and crunchy onions.
The version I prepared today is with beef but the preparation technique remains the same. Simple and good. Good “street food” the way we love it on 196 flavors. #dietstartstomorrow
- ¼ lb ground beef
- 1 onion , finely diced
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Sambal
- ½ teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- ½ baguette loaf
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Heat a pan or griddle with a little vegetable oil.
- Pour the mixture onto the pan and place a piece of open-faced baguette on top.
- Press on the bread with a spatula and grill for 2 minutes.
- Turn the bread over to make it a little crispy.
- Remove from pan and cut the bread into small portions.
- Add mayonnaise and/or Sambal before cutting the sandwich (optional).