Madam -Sandwich that should be the work of the devilI’m eating a paneer tikka sandwich.

That is, tandooried cheese between  two bits of toasted bread. Curry on toast. It really shouldn’t work, it should be sacrilege to desecrate North Indian food with toasted white bread. And it certainly shouldn’t need an accompaniment of ketchup. But it’s delicious; though I admit I haven’t tried dipping it in ketchup. Pretty spicy too actually.

Hang on, my mouth is on fire.

And we’re back – gosh that really is spicy – so the ketchup accompaniment is a given with sandwiches here. I’m not sure why, but even with a complex sophisticated cuisine, filled full of multi layered flavours, whenever you order bread, you get ketchup here. Western bread that is, toast, sandwiches, occasionally you even get it with pizza; it’s… odd. But my Indian colleagues all lap it up. They always ask if they can have my ketchup sachets – ‘you sure you don’t mind?’ – and look mildly confused if I point out that it’s not usual in Italy to dip a panini in ketchup.

Even stranger, in Kerala (and possibly other places, my testing sample is rather small on this particular topic), if you order some of the Indian versions of Chinese food (and yes they’re every bit as odd as you imagine) – well they always arrive with two rounds of bread and butter cut into pointy triangles. Always.

Mind you it’s a two way street – one can only imagine what they’d make of that UK chippie classic ‘curry and chips’