Many of you will know about my love for Khan’s Bargain Ltd. It’s one of the best shops in Peckham; so good in fact that I felt moved to write a whole post about it. Recently, a reader left a comment on that post saying that Mr. Khan has sadly passed away. I went down myself to verify this and sure enough, there was a sign behind the counter. The man who gave his name to such an endearingly chaotic shop is no longer with us.
I considered ways to pay tribute to Mr. K and his Emporium of Random and it seemed fitting to create a sandwich à la Khan’s because there have been oh so many over the past few years. I’ve stuffed them with various bits of cheese or vegetables depending on my mood; creamy labneh with slender crisp slices of baby cucumber perhaps, a slick of muhammara or a dollop of baba ganoush. Always a big handful of fresh herbs.
The sesame speckled flat breads they sell are incredible, so soft and moist. I split one and layered it with aleppo pepper paste (a spicy blend made almost entirely from aleppo pepper and chillies), silky fried aubergine slices, pan scorched halloumi and plenty of coriander. It was a cracking sandwich; base chilli heat, juicy aubergines and salty cheese is a winning combo. Some of the best Khan’s ingredients all together. I didn’t know Mr. Khan personally, but I know his shop inside out; it’s one of the reasons I fell head over heels for Peckham 5 years ago and it’s one of the reasons I continue to relish shopping here. Rest in peace, Mr. Khan, your customers remain loyal and your shop, the most charming ramshackle arrangement of groceries, home wares and plastic animals on Rye Lane.
Sandwich à la Khan’s Bargain Ltd. (makes 2)
2 round soft flat breads
Aleppo paste (if you can’t get this, use another spicy paste, such as harissa or make a paste with red peppers, chilli and oil)
1 packet halloumi cheese
1 large aubergine, sliced into 2cm sliced
Very finely sliced red onion
Oil, for frying
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
Heat some oil to a depth of about 1cm in a heavy based frying pan. Spread some flour out on a plate and dust each aubergine slice in it, then drop into the hot oil. You will need to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Keep the cooked aubergine slices on a plate covered with kitchen paper in a low oven while you finish cooking the rest. When all the aubergines are cooked, keep them all in the oven while you fry the halloumi.
To fry the halloumi, slice it thickly then drop into a dry pan until golden on both sides.
Warm the flatbreads briefly, then split them in half and spread with pepper paste. Layer on the halloumi, aubergines, onion and fresh coriander. Serve immediately.