Back when I was in college, we had this amazing cafe really close by that served some of the most amazing snacks and it was a fact that if you couldn’t find a person on campus, you’d definitely find them at this cafe. On offer was a range of savory puffs, rolls, cutlets, sweet stuff and sandwiches. This humble tomato cheese sandwich was my favorite. Just recently, out of nowhere I really wanted to have one of these and there was no way that I was going to travel 1 hour to and another hour back just to get a taste of this, considering how easy it was. So I ran to the kitchen and in less than 5 minutes I was happily munching away on one. At that moment nothing could’ve tasted better. This sandwich is so simple, that nothing can go wrong really.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think of it. Its a meatless sandwich that I absolutely love.
Tomato Cheese Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices of bread
Butter, to spread
1 tomato, sliced
A slice of cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper corns, to taste
Spread butter on one slice and top that slice with slices of tomato. The butter prevents the slice of bread from getting too soggy from the juice of the tomato.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the slices of tomato to season it.
If you’d like, you can butter the other slice of bread and place a slice of cheese over it.
Cover the slice of bread that has the tomato slices on, with the one that has the cheese slice on.
This sandwich is really simple to put together if you keep a few things at hand. For example, having some leftover grilled or roasted chicken is a life saver. But even if you don’t here’s what I do. I simply marinade a chicken breast, cut into smaller pieces with some salt, a dash of lime juice and some ginger garlic paste for about 15 minutes and I add some water (not too much) and boil it till its done. You can then keep this refrigerated till you need to use it.
Chicken Mayo Sandwich
2 tsp Homemade Mayo (you can add more if you like)
Some shredded chicken
A couple of leaves of iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 tomato, sliced
Salt to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
2 slices of sandwich bread
Mix the mayo, chicken and lettuce and spread this on one of the slices of bread.
Placed the slices of tomato on the other and season with some salt and pepper.
Place one over the other and enjoy.
It so happened that early one evening, I was famished. I needed to eat something and I needed it at that very moment. I had just returned home from grocery shopping and didn’t bother to pick up anything to munch on. I’m glad I didn’t. Not eating junk food is always a good thing, isn’t it? So there I stood, before my open refrigerator, staring blankly at what was on the shelves, willing for something to shout out and relieve those hunger pangs. And friends, its during those moments of almost delirious desperation, that I decided to try this sandwich out. It took me just a few minutes to make since theres no need to wait for the butter to soften or even grate the cheese, and when I tasted it, it was so much better than I could’ve ever imagined. It was pure bliss. Later that evening, I treated my husband with one and he asked for a second one after just taking a bite. Thats how good it was. This has become a favorite in my house. I hope you will try it out too.
What I like about this particular grilled sandwich is that you don’t need any fancy equipment. Everyone has a skillet lying around in their kitchen, so this is a grilled sandwich that everyone can enjoy.
Skillet Grilled Cheese Sandwich
(Makes one sandwich, but you can easily make as many as you wish)
2 slices of sandwich bread
1 slice of cheese (you can use any variety you like)
A couple of tsp butter
Place the slice of cheese between two slices of bread.
Place a dollop of butter in a skillet over low to medium heat. You don’t want the butter to burn.
Place the sandwich in the pan and let it brown off, uncovered till a little crisp.
Carefully turn the sandwich over, place a couple of smaller dollops of butter on the sides of the pan and lift the edges of the sandwich to help it under. Brown off that side of the sandwich as well.
Take off the heat. I cut it into two rectangular pieces, but you don’t have to, cut them any way you like, if you want to cut it, or leave it whole.
Eat while its still hot.
Look at all that golden melted gooey goodness of the cheese.
This chutney keeps very well. So you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to a week and use it as and when you need to.
Here’s a few options on what you can do with this spread –
1) Chutney sandwich – Spread it over some buttered slices of bread. I think it goes well with slightly toasted slices as well.
2) Chutney Cheese sandwich – Butter a slice of bread and spread some of the chutney over it. Top with a slice of cheese or grated cheese, whatever you have at hand. Cover this with another slice of bread.
3) Veggie Delight sandwich – Butter a slice of bread and spread some of the chutney over it. Place some slices of tomato and cucumber on it. Cover this with another slice of bread.
These are just a few sandwich combos to get you started. I’m sure you’ll come up with many more and I’d love to hear about them. And oh yes, how can I forget –
4) With rice – On days of fasting, my mum used to serve us this chutney with a small portion of warm, plain rice to get us through the day.
Check out how I make my Coconut & Coriander Chutney here –
Coconut Coriander Chutney
1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 large bunch of fresh coriander, leaves and tender stalks (About 1 tightly packed cup)
6 small cloves of garlic or 2 large cloves of garlic
1 green/red chilly
1 tbsp sugar
1 walnut sized ball of tamarind, soaked in 1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
Tip all the ingredients except the coconut into a blender or food processor. Blitz to form a puree.
Add the coconut and blitz again. You can leave this spread as coarse or grind it as finely as you like. I like it ground fine but not too fine. You may need to add a dash of water to help the ingredients grind well.
Taste and adjust the flavors, if needed.
Store in a container, refrigerate for up to a week and use as and when needed.
Now don’t get me wrong, we love the ready made stuff too. But the satisfaction of making your very own version, tops most of those ready ones. Also, not surprisingly, these turned out really tasty. Heck, they were tastier than a lot of the burgers that we’ve eaten from many different places. I think the only burgers that can top these are the ones that we had at BLT’s and Al’s Diner in Hong Kong. I used to think that the best burgers in Mumbai could be found at Hearsh’s or Candies in Bandra, but I now beg to differ. Though the burgers from both these places are good, I’d rather have the home made ones whenever possible. To sum things up, this was a wonderful treat. With a little planning you’ll enjoy the flavors and you’ll save a few bucks while you’re at it.
Over the past few months, whenever I pass by most eateries, fast food places or restaurants and am considering stopping there, I realize that a lot of my favorite stuff can be made at home, which turns out tastier and more economical. So really, I think I’ve ruined eating out for myself. (Well, except when we are at Candies. That place, I think, has some really wonderful food.) Do you find this happening to you? It’d be nice to know I wasn’t alone and possibly crazy, thinking like this. 🙂
Anyway, back to the burgers. Just yesterday I posted the recipe for these delicious Burger Buns.
In the past I’ve also posted an easy recipe for Homemade Mayonnaise. This can be made earlier, if you like, and refrigerated till you’re ready to assemble the burgers.
For the Burger Patties –
1/2 kg beef mince (ground beef)
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1″ ginger, chopped fine
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black peppercorns, to taste
Oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients together till they’re well distributed.
Shape into patties.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Carefully place the patties on the pan and cook through as desired. We like out beef well done. So we let it sear on high heat for a few seconds to lock in the juices and then cook on a medium flame till done.
To assemble the burgers –
Slice the burger buns in half.
Spread some mayonnaise on the bottom half.
Place the beef patty on in.
Top with a slice of onion, a slice of tomato and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add a leaf of lettuce. Cover the the top half of the bun. Obviously, you can pick and choose the stuff that goes into your burger but this is what I used. Other interesting options are pickles, sauteed onions, maybe some crispy bacon etc.
P.S. Don’t be fooled by the size, this fills you up fast. The burgers that we buy here are seldom filling so we made a third burger which my husband and I figured we’d split in half. It was a task for both of us. I guess thats what you get with wholesome food. You know exactly whats in it, it tastes great and satisfies those crazy hunger pangs. We had these bad boys with some homemade fries.
2 potatoes, peeled and cut and kept in salted water.
Pat dry and deep fry till done.
Drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Serve with some ketchup if you’d like. We prefer ours without it.