Sandwiched in Flavour
Dressed in jeans, a white lace top and black converse trainers, a black French braid swinging off the side of her shoulder, Sima Balqar has a young air about her. When it comes to the kitchen, however, she knows her stuff.
Today, Sima invites her friends to cook and eat her succulent beef and veggie sandwich, though the word sandwich does not do this offering justice. It’s no wonder that Sima’s group has made it a habit to join her daily during their lunch break and see what she’s cooked up.
Smothering mayonnaise over a grilled bun, Zyad Atquai, a chemical engineer by profession, notes that he comes back every day to Sima’s kitchen because of her sauces and the way she cooks her meat. “They are both absolutely delicious!” he says.
Sima has been cooking since her early teens and her father’s continuous support and encouragement helped make her dreams come true. After participating in a sandwich course as part of her culinary degree, where she baked bread from scratch, the 26-year-old found her calling in sandwiches.
Mays Ja’far, an architect, adds that, “Sima’s sandwiches are yummy because she uses her own blends and flavours. She is creative with her sauces and salad dressings.”
Sima tops off the fresh veggies with a mix of grilled beef, roast beef, an assortment of green, red and yellow bell peppers, melted cheese and sliced pickles. So why does Sima call her sandwich a Philadelphia Tower? Because the same mix of meat and veggies is topped off again with a similar portion and sealed off with a toasted bun – a tower it is!
“Sima adds a special twist to all that she creates; what we know as a typical sandwich becomes something else once Sima has a go at it,” says Dana Balkar, a lawyer in training who also makes sure to pick up her lunch from Sima’s.
As we chat whilst making and eating Sima’s special Philadelphia Tower sandwiches, it’s clear that people come back for her food because of the flavour in every bite.
Sima’s Philadelphia Tower
120 g beef fillet
30 g mixed red, yellow and green bell pepper
2 slices roast beef
50 g mozzarella cheese
1 large hamburger bun
1 tbsp mayonnaise
10 g lettuce
3 slices tomato
3 slices pickles, cut horizontally
Pinch of salt, pepper and paprika powder
1. Toast hamburger buns and then spread with mayonnaise
2. Add lettuce and tomato
3. Grill the beef fillet until golden, sprinkle with a pinch of paprika, salt and pepper. Then add bell peppers (you can fry the beef, then sauté the vegetables) Divide into two portions
4. Separately, grill two slices of roast beef, cover each slice with one portion of the beef mix
5. Top each portion with mozzarella cheese and let it melt
6. Add one portion to the bed of lettuce and tomato, top off with three slices of pickles, then add the second portion on top
7. Cover with toasted bun and enjoy