Famous as Indian street food, the Mumbai sandwich provides what’s often found lacking in a meatless sandwich: a balance of crunch and heat and juiciness. Better yet: It holds together.
A classic features boiled potatoes, a zippy green chutney and spices; this riff proves that grilled cheese sandwiches are not just for cozying up to warm tomato soup. Here, we’ve used Taleggio cheese instead of the spuds. The spice is a simple mixture of garam masala and cinnamon. but if your palate prefers something bolder, you might want to add a sprinkle of ground cumin or ground red chili pepper.
This recipe calls for a panini press; you can cook the sandwiches in a skillet or grill pan as well (a la grilled cheese).
Serve with a green salad or chips.
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MAKE AHEAD: You’ll have some leftover chutney, which is great stirred into scrambled eggs.
Adapted from a recipe by London food writer Helen Graves at GreatBritishChefs.com.
For the chutney
1-inch piece fresh ginger root
1 medium jalapeño pepper or small serrano pepper
Leaves from 1 small bunch fresh mint (2 ounces)
1/2 bunch cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
Pinch kosher salt
For the sandwiches
4 slices firm (but not crusty) white bread
2-inch piece English (seedless) cucumber
1/2 red onion
1 medium tomato
2 ounces good melting cheese, such as Taleggio (may use a mild cheese, such as Monterey Jack)
1 teaspoon garam masala
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons salted butter, at a spreadable consistency
For the chutney: Peel the ginger and coarsely chop it. Seed the chili pepper, if desired, then coarsely chop. Transfer those two ingredients to a food processor along with the mint and cilantro. Squeeze in the juice of the 1/2 lemon and add the salt. Pulse to form a chutney that is a bit coarser than a thick pesto. Transfer to a bowl; the yield is about 3/4 cup.
For the sandwiches: Preheat a panini press. Place a piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board, then arrange the 4 slices of bread on it.
Meanwhile, cut the cucumber and red onion into very thin slices. Cut the tomato into slightly thicker slices. Cut the cheese into thin slices, as needed.
Whisk together the garam masala and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Cut the garlic clove in half lengthwise; rub the cut sides on one side of each piece of bread. Butter both sides of each bread slices. Spread a generous layer of the chutney on the top sides of two pieces of buttered bread.
Layer the chutney-spread slices with the cucumber, then sprinkle with a little of the masala mixture. Repeat this process with a layer of tomato, then cheese, then onion. Carefully top with the remaining slices of bread.
Place the sandwiches in the panini press; close and cook for a few minutes, just until golden brown and sizzling, and the cheese has melted a bit.
Cut each sandwich in half; serve warm.
Nutrition | Per serving (using half the chutney): 360 calories, 11 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 810 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar