Friday, January 25, 2013

Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches with Mint Cilantro chutney.

A sandwich has to be the most versatile and customize-able food out there. Sandwich is one of those rare foods which is made different by each person, who makes it. I am such a fan of sandwiches, I always have rolls and loaves occupying a fair share of my freezer. I also happen to keep three different kind of mustards, buy my mayo at a wholesaler and at any given time have 3 different cheeses (sliced) in the fridge. My family appreciates it too. My kids love the turkey, ham and BLTs I churn out and also make special requests for the Grilled cheeses.
But these sandwiches are what I learned once I got to America. Back in India, where cold cuts and lunch meats are still not very popular, the sandwiches are lighter, with fresher ingredients and mostly eaten as a snack at tea time.
When we were kids, my Mom used to make a jar of this freshly ground chutney, and buy a pack of Wibs bread. I and my brother would gladly run to the nearest planet to get her her tomatoes and cucumbers that completed this favorite of ours.

Another one of those discontinued classics, from my childhood.
*Source: Internet*

Three ladies whose, made it three different ways, each way different and yummily addictive. Initially, my Mom's version had it spicier with just the chutney on the bread, sans the veggies. Then we had the chance to taste the same dish at my Aunt's place who made it with butter and a watery version of the chutney. My mentor and my teacher, another amazing lady in my life, chose to make it mild, with plenty of veggies that made those sandwiches really hit the spot for me! The last variation was what opened my eyes to a whole new world of cooking as the working moms know it! I will share the last variation in a different post as it flicked on a bulb inside my brain, leading to many brilliant ideas and a whole new style of cooking. Lets just say, it deserves a whole lot of respect and a new post.
Coming back to our current topic, it was no surprise we kids decided to take things to our hand, and ask Mom to cut back on the green chilies and garlic and include veggies in our sandwich. And the result is what i would like to share here, today.
These sandwiches are still one of our favorite foods, featuring on picnics to brunches to simple teas with friends. They are easy to make, are made from fresh ingredients, and has very little fat or sugars. If you pair them with wholegrain bread, you can even call them health food.
So here it goes:-


Ingredients:-For Chutney:-
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1 small bunch cilantro/coriander, cleaned, and roughly chopped
1 small bunch mint, cleaned, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 green chilies
1 one-inch-piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
salt- to taste
1 tsp sugar
For Sandwich:-1 pack of your favorite sliced bread
2 large tomatoes- thinly sliced
2 cucumbers- peeled and thinly sliced (seedless / soft seeded varieties preferred)
Salted butter (optional)

Another good way to serve: Let the eaters assemble it! :-)

Preparation:-(serves 4-6)
1. Grind all the chutney ingredients together, using as little water as possible, in a chutney jar attachment of the your mixer or in the finest grind-able setting of your blender. The consistency to be achieved is paste-like, which is easily spreadable on bread. A little less finer consistency is not bad at all, but some may find the texture of rough-ground coconut a little bit annoying. (See the note at the end of this post, for the recipe variation omitting coconut.)
2. Spread butter (if using) on a slice of bread. Spread the chutney on top of the butter as required, layer with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and top it with another buttered slice.
3. Repeat until the bread and chutney is used up. Serve immediately.
4. Storing this chutney for more than 24 hours is not advised since fresh coconut is highly perishable. Always refrigerate leftovers.

Variation:-A good alternative to grated coconuts would be adding 2 avocados to this recipe. But since avocados tend to discolor pretty fast, adding 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice is recommended. Avocado also makes this sandwich chutney super spreadable, and creamy (like a mushy guacamole.)

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