Tea time with cucumber sandwiches

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Sandwiches are indeed a convenient food and among the many variants of sandwiches that can be had today, cucumber sandwiches are one of my most favourites. It can be found on our breakfast table atleast once a week though we prefer brown bread instead of the white one. Wafer thin cucumber sandwiches are perhaps one of the many remnants of British rule in India which now have taken on a new avatar to suit our palate. The Indian variant often comes with green chutney and sometimes contains slices of boiled potatoes too.

Perfect salad ingredient

Cucumber, many may think, is a perfect salad ingredient. Yes, it is, but there are other ways one can enjoy it. In India, cucumber is used in more ways than salads and sandwiches. In South, it is grated and mixed with rice rawa to make cucumber uttappa or even idlis. And believe me, they are simply delicious! I was first introduced to them at a Mangalorean friend’s breakfast table and ever since I am a big fan of these delicacies.

As healthy as cucumber

The cucumber is believed to be a native of India, and it is believed that it has been cultivated in western Asia for 3,000 years. From India it spread westwards and eastwards too. From the health point of view, cucumbers are about 95% water yet contain most of the vitamins you need every day. It contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc...wow, that’s a lot of nutrients, right? So no wonder we can enjoy the many benefits of this vegetable. Fresh cucumber juice can provide relief from heartburn, acid stomach, gastritis and even ulcer. Alyona uses this juice as a beauty agent – a soothing, cooling and toning facial especially during the hot summer months. Cucumber is also a very good diuretic and has cooling and cleansing properties and is therefore good for the skin. Otherwise too she takes full advantage of the cosmetic properties of cucumber – places a cucumber slice over each eye because it not only soothes the eyes but also helps reduce the puffiness and dark circles that can sometimes be found under the eyes.

Just the other day my doctor friend told me that cucumber can help heal diseases of kidney, bladder, liver and pancreas. And here’s another thing I learnt about cucumber just recently. Apparently the outside of the cucumber can erase the pen writing so you can rub with it if you make a mistake while writing with the pen. And yes apparently it helps to erase crayons and markers with which the kids decorate the walls so enthusiastically! I wish I had known this when our kids were small.

How to choose cucumbers and store them

Look for firm cucumbers, without blemishes or soft spots. Wrap them loosely in plastic and store in the crisper section of the refrigerator.

Recommended recipes-

Cucumber and Moong Salad,  Pickled Cucumber,  Cucumber and Spinach Pancakes with Greek Salad,  Cucumber Chutney,  Cucumber Lemon and Mint Ice Tea,  Chilled Cucumber & Buttermilk Soup

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.