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Chaat, meet grilled cheese. This quick and easy dish uses a spice blend to save you a lot of time and still deliver big flavor. The dipping sauces are easy, but it's also fantastic on its own if you just want to whip up something quick.
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
1 cup spearmint leaves and tender stems
2 Tbsp yogurt
Hot peppers to taste, I like serrano or Thai bird
Fresh lemon or lime juice
Salt, to taste
Sweetener, to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup grated cucumber
Big pinch of salt
Optionally, fresh herbs like cilantro and/or mint
Two slices of bread
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
1 slice American cheese*
Tomato & White Sultana Chutney
Combine the cilantro, mint, Shabazi, yogurt, peppers (if using), and a pinch of salt and squeeze of citrus in a food processor. Pulse to chop finely, scraping down the sides as necessary and adding water as needed to form a thin paste. Taste and adjust with salt, sweetener, etc.
Combine all ingredients and let sit for about 15 minutes in the fridge for the flavors to extract from the Shabazi spice. If you're feeling particularly lazy a touch of the green chutney can be used to flavor the raita instead of adding fresh herbs.
Butter one side of each piece of bread and place a slice of cheese on each. Heat a pat of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
My perfect texture secret: Microwave the slices of bread, cheese side up, briefly (about 30 seconds or just until the cheese melts a bit). If you don't own a microwave you'll want to reduce the cooking temp a bit when you toast the bread.
Sprinkle the chaat masala spice over the cheese, then close the sandwich and add it to the pan once the butter stops bubbling.
Cook just until the bread turns golden brown on one side (about 2-3 minutes), then lift with a spatula and melt more butter in the pan. Flip and cook the other side.
Serve as-is, or with any/all of the condiments. It's tasty any which way.
* I love combining different cheeses like American and cheddar to get the perfect balance of great flavor and rich texture. See my quesadilla recipe for some other ideas.
• Apply a thin coating of mayonnaise to the outside of both pieces of bread for a richer flavor and more even browning at low temps.
• Add a thin layer of marmite to the inside of the sandwich before adding the cheese. This is especially with a less salty cheese like Emmental instead of cheddar.
• For a spin on the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup add a bit of Izak and/or Tomato Chutney to your favorite tomato soup, plus a dollop of yogurt or cream.
• Try serving the sandwich with msabbaha for an interesting contrast of flavors and textures.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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