Saturday, 7 September 2013

Chutney Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions

With September being the start of the academic year (here in the UK at least), it got me thinking about my school lunch box. Kids these days seem to have such exotic palates, growing up exposed to so many different cuisines both at home and when they go out, I can’t imagine they are satisfied with just a sandwich and a piece of fruit anymore. However when I was growing up my packed lunch always begun with a sandwich – cucumber and mustard mainly, sometimes jam, sometimes peanut butter, often the two together (you can tell I had a limited palate). Something between two slices of bread was always the starting point for my lunch box, followed by a box of fruit, packet of crisps, maybe a chocolate or a piece of cake and a couple of snacks for the journey home (I had a very high metabolism – and also very hungry friends on the coach home from whom it was impossible to hide any scrap of food!).

Since those lunch box days I have progressed in the way of sandwich fillings. Now pretty much anything is permitted between any two slices of bread that enter my mouth. This recipe was born in that vein because almost every Indian household will have some green chutney hanging about in their fridge, and naturally anything that is hanging about in the fridge is game when it comes to sandwich fillings. A lot of people will have their own version of this sandwich adding all sorts such as sliced tomatoes or shredded lettuce. But my recipe keeps it classic; simply chutney and cheese.

Chutney Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions

However it should be noted this chutney is not your average sweet mango marmalade-ish chutney. This is the real deal chutney, the chutney that my grandmother, like her own grandmother and her grandmothers grandmother too (probably) means when she refers to chutney. It gets its vivid green colour (and name) from the hoards of coriander that it begins with, plus a little extra from the mint I’ve added in for freshness. This chutney is used as a dip for absolutely anything, so even if you're not too keen on the sound of the sandwich, the chutney alone is worth a try.

To make this sandwich properly, the bread you use has to be white. You just won’t get the same crisp lightness on your toast without white bread. A packet of crisps is never too far away from any sandwich but I like mine with a side of pickled onions. They add a satisfying crunch and sharpness to the dish. Furthermore, they really couldn’t be any easier to make.
So if you want to spice up your lunch box here’s how you make my Chutney Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions.

Chutney Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions (serves 4)

Ingredients for the Chutney
For the Chutney:
1 bunch of corriander, roughly chopped
Approx 30 mint leaves
2 tsp cumin seeds
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 lemon, juice only
3 chillies, or less depending on how spicy you like it
Approx 10/15 roasted peanuts

For the Pickled Onions:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 pinch of sea salt

To make the chutney, simply add all the ingredients, apart from the peanuts, into a blender. Blitz until smooth. Check the consistency of the chutney. Add the peanuts to thicken if necessary. Blitz until smooth – and the chutney is done. It will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Alternatively you can freeze it ready for a later date.

Ingredients for the Pickled Onion

For the pickled onions, simply mix all the ingredients together and leave the onions to pickle in the juices for at least a couple of hours. (If you can make this day before you want to eat it, even better! The flavours develop over time, so the longer you leave it the better it will taste).

To assemble the sandwich simply toast one side of each slice of bread. Spread the chutney on the un-toasted side. Pile on the cheese (grated/sliced – however you like it) and sandwich together. Serve with the pickled onion on the side. This recipe couldn’t be any simpler but still tastes delicious!

Just couldn't help but take a bite!

// Click here PRINT RECIPE //

Until next time...

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