‘High Tea’ Cucumber-Chutney Sandwiches

I grew up eating these delicious, light, fluffy sandwiches. My fondest memories of my summer days when I was in school include going for a rigorous swim, after which my mom would whip up these sandwiches for a light snack. These are often served in homes in India, and my guess is that this was India’s version of the British ‘tea sandwiches’. In India, they slather on butter instead of cream cheese, but I prefer the lightness (and lower calories) of using a light whipped cream cheese.

If you are making these for a party and want a sleek presentation, cut off the ends of the bread slices before cutting them into thirds for bite-sized sandwiches. When making these at home, I prefer not wasting the ends of the bread, and quite frankly, I love the rustic look! 🙂

Enjoy this airy (and deliciously vegetarian) recipe from my childhood days. Share them with your kids, family, and friends and pair it with a delicious cup of cardamom tea to feel like royalty and have high tea! 😉

Love,
Priyanka

Cucumber and Chutney Sandwiches PK
Yields: 1 beautiful sandwich
Ingredients
2 slices of white or buttermilk bread (or any other bread you enjoy)
1 tablespoon of light, whipped cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro-mint chutney
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced into disks
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Fun idea: Stuff these sandwiches with some crispy chips like doritos for an added crunch!

Directions
Spread the cream cheese on one slice of bread. Now lightly salt and pepper this piece of bread. Now spread the chutney over the cream cheese (this minimizes the bread getting soggy from the chutney). Now arrange the slices of cucumber on top of either side (you can add less or more cucumber according to taste).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Mac ‘n Cheese Grilled Cheese!

For the .00001% of you that have never had macaroni cheese and/or grilled cheese, perhaps this recipe may not be of interest to you 😉 But for the rest of you who have grown up on these traditional American dishes and enjoy them even today as adults, this recipe is for you! This recipe will knock your socks off (and impress and wow your kids too!)

I eat copious amounts of cheese in my life, and my goodness this dish hits the spot for me. When served fresh off the skillet, the hot, fresh, and cheesy mac and cheese coupled with perfectly double-crisped buttermilk bread (I brown BOTH sides of each slice so that it is extra crunchy) transports me to my childhood in one, heavenly bite.

Feel free to use leftover mac and cheese from another night, just be sure to heat it up in the microwave before you load it between your sliced bread! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this with your loved ones – and if you do share it with your adult loved ones that might want more than just pasta, cheese, and bread, feel free to get creative by adding sliced onions, tomatos, cooked crab, cooked lobster, or more into the middle of the sandwich along with the mac and cheese! 🙂

And lastly, if you don’t like the idea of the mac and cheese sandwich, please just make the mac and cheese in my recipe with the cheese and bechamel and serve it like a pasta – I promise you will love it! 🙂



Ingredients

2 cups elbow macaroni pasta
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I like to use a mix of sharp cheddar and gruyere)
2 cups white bechamel sauce
Kosher salt, as desired
freshly cracked pepper, as desired
sliced buttermilk bread
1/2 tablespoon butter

Directions

Cover a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Add uncooked elbow macaroni and cook according to directions until cooked the way you like to eat them (do not under cook!). Drain well in a colander.

While the pasta is hot, mix it with the cheese and bechamel sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Assembling the Grilled Sandwich

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, melt butter and put both slices of bread on skillet. Allow the side that is down to brown to the way you like it.

Now flip the bread slices and add a little more butter, if desired. Load one of the browned sides with your hot macaroni and cheese and top with the other slice, browned side on the INSIDE of the sandwich.

Continue to cook the sandwich over low to medium heat until the outside of the bread slices are browned to your perfection.

Serve hot with sliced red onions, tomatoes, basil tomato sauce, chipotle mayo, relish, tomato soup, or anything else that you think you might like. Enjoy! 🙂


New Delhi Sloppy Joe Burger

This recipe is truly an adaptation on the ‘American’ Sloppy Joe and has a refreshing Indian twist to it! As many of you may know, it is not common to find beef in India because of the religious connotations (in Hinduism, which is widely practiced in India, cows are considered holy, and therefore it is not kosher to eat them!) 🙂

I make this recipe with both beef and lamb, but have included lamb as the primary meat source just out of respect since I am calling this an ‘Indian’ recipe. But you can even make it with ground turkey or chicken with outstanding results! I think it is lovely with beef and lamb (the red meat flavors really make you believe you are eating a true sloppy joe!), but either way is great.

Some might argue that my recipe here is a simple Indian ‘kheema’ recipe without the potatoes and peas, however I do think that this recipe tastes very different than Kheema. Try it out and let me know what you think! My husband gave it two thumbs up, and in my books, that means that it’s a keeper! 😉

PS – he loves his spice, but if you are not interested in a high spice profile, omit the red chili flakes and/or the green chilies! You can always add more later if you want (or even top your burger with some Sriracha sauce!)

Yields: 4 sloppy joes!

Ingredients

Spicy Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger (or ginger powder)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 thin green chilis, seeded and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 (12 or 15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water

Lamb:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup toasted cashews
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon ground all-spice powder
1/2 large white onion, finely sliced
1 bell pepper (color of your choice!), seeds and membrane removed, finely diced
3 green chilis (seeds intact if you want it spicy) chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground lamb (or beef or turkey or even chicken!)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup half-and-half
Small handful chopped fresh cilantro (soft stems included)
4 hamburger buns

Garnish: thinly sliced red onion & freshly chopped cilantro

Directions

For the spicy tomato sauce:

Heat the vegetable oil in your saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chopped green chili. Saute slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Now add the garam masala and paprika and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Keep warm.

For the lamb filling:

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the cumin seeds (or cumin powder) and all-spice and cook for about 20-30 Now add chopped onions and bell pepper, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown. Add the chili pepper. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add salt, ground lamb, Worcestershire, cilantro, & black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the lamb and incorporate all ingredients well. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes until the meat is no longer pink and browned. Continue to use the wooden spoon to break up the beef into smaller pieces.

Now add the honey, half-and-half, and toasted cashews, stirring throughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Take pan off of heat and set aside.

Assembling your burgers:

Toast the hamburger buns on a preheated grill pan or on a skillet. Fill with the meat mixture, top with the spicy tomato sauce and serve. My favorite way to serve this burger is to garnish with fresh red onion for a bit of crunch and fresh cilantro.

Enjoy! 🙂

Wine Pairing: A full-bodied Zinfandel or Pinot Noir is perfect with this spicy, red meat dish!…or a SWEET MANGO LASSI! 😉

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwich with Toasted Coconut & Almonds

This recipe is a new one in my repertoire and I put it together for a recent event I was hosting at my husband’s office. The food theme was ‘tapas’ and this fit the bill! I only had a few hours to put together a spread of tapas, and this was probably the easiest one for me to put together! The biggest reason is because this is pretty much a no-cook recipe – assembly only!

I bought a rotisserie chicken from the market, and after that it was all assembly! 🙂 I decided to do sandwich triangles, but I also like the thin, rectangular presentation for tea sandwiches (classic is always lovely!). If you are worried about the sandwiches coming apart, feel free to put a toothpick through each sandwich.

Even though this is great as a ‘tea’ sandwich, this sandwich is perfect for a quick lunch sandwich to switch things up a little.

If you don’t want the sweeter taste that comes from the marmalade and coconut, omit them and add white onions and avocado cubes to the chicken mixture (although, try it once – you might be surprised how much you like it!).

Enjoy 🙂

Yields: 24-36 tea sandwiches or 12 entreé-size sandwiches
Ingredients

1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons orange-ginger marmalade (or you can use orange marmalade if orange-ginger is unavailable)
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups diced cooked chicken (I take meat off of a fresh rotisserie chicken from the supermarket)
12 slices of bread of your choice, crusts trimmed (pumpernickel adds a great taste variance, but I usually have buttermilk on hand and enjoy that)
3 tablespoons diced green onions

Preparation

Bake coconut and almonds in a shallow baking pan at 350°, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted. (Note: if you want them to bake separately in case there are leftovers afterward, use different pans, otherwise to save time, I just put them in the same baking pan).

Stir together cream cheese and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; gently stir in chicken with a spatula until all ingredients are well-incorporated. This chicken salad filling can be made ahead and can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Spread evenly on bread slices and top with toasted coconut, toasted almond, and green onion, as desired. Cut each slice into 2-3 strips (optional) for tea sandwiches, or you can leave whole for an entreé portion.

Hamburger Bun Grilled Cheese (Inside-out!)

If any of your Memorial Day weekends looked like mine usually do, you’re probably hoarding a few (if not more!) leftover hamburger (and possibly hot dog) buns and don’t know what to do with them before they go bad. However, do not fret! Sometimes we forget the simple pleasures in life when we try to cook all these cool new things – and one of those simple pleasures is GRILLED CHEESE!

Whether you make it for yourself or your kids, go crazy with whatever you want to add in the middle along with your cheese of choice – but whatever you do, put those buns to use and discover a new sandwich you will love!

If you ask me, my favorite combination is pepper jack cheese (for a little kick) along with some thinly sliced red onions and one slice of tomato in the middle. But feel free to just stick to the traditional cheddar cheese and the bun ;-).

🙂

Ingredients

1 hamburger bun, split
sliced cheese, type and amount is your choice
butter, as desired

Directions

Heat a skillet on the stove. Meanwhile, invert the hamburger bun (insides out!) and fill in between with your choice of fillings (cheese, veggies, etc). Butter both sides of the outside of the bun that will heat on the skillet (what would have previously been the inside of your hamburger) and cook until desired doneness.

Serve with potato chips, fries, or a tomato soup! 🙂 If you want a spicy kick, mix ketchup with a bit of tabasco or any hot sauce you like and dip away!