The other day, I decided to relive the joys of my childhood and enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich. But after just one bite, I realised it was lacking something: heat!
That’s how this masala grilled cheese sandwich was born. My desi upgrade on the childhood classic includes sliced tomatoes and onions cooked with Indian spices. It’s the perfect recipe to fuse my Gujarati heritage with my British upbringing, and trust me when I say it’s to die for.
I like to serve this sandwich alongside a quick coriander chutney. You don’t want to skip this part. It’s packed with flavour and is the perfect accompaniment to the grilled cheese! And please don’t be off-put by the long ingredients list – it’s worth it for the amazing flavour!
How to make masala grilled cheese step-by-step:
First we’ll prepare the chutney by blending coriander, spinach, ginger, garlic, chillies, lemon juice and raw peanuts (photos 1 and 2). The raw peanuts are important for giving the chutney a thick texture. For a nut-free option, substitute raw sunflower seeds!
Then we’ll prepare the masala onions by sauteing sliced onions (photo 3) with the following flavours:
- Cumin seeds/ jeera seeds
- Mustard seeds/ rai
- Turmeric/ haldi
- Ground coriander/ dhana
- Ground cumin/ jeera
- Chilli powder/ mirchi
Now it’s time to assemble the masala grilled cheese! Layer up buttered bread in a frying pan with cheese, masala onions (photo 4) , tomato slices (photo 5), more cheese, and another slice of bread. Make sure to put the buttered sides of the bread on the outside of the sandwich to help it toast up nicely!
Then we’ll cook the masala grilled cheese until golden and crisp (photo 6) and serve alongside the coriander chutney. Yum yum YUM yum yum.
This recipe makes 2 sandwiches but I am totally not judging anyone who makes and consumes them both. In fact if you do this you’re my kinda person 😉
Tips for making the perfect grilled cheese:
I’ve eaten a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches in my time, so naturally I’ve amassed some tips for making them perfectly:
- Butter the bread generously and to the edges. This ensures the grilled cheese is perfectly golden and crisp.
- Cook on medium-low heat. This allows time for the cheese to melt – you don’t want to rush a grilled cheese sandwich! Using a low heat to make grilled cheese is especially important when using dairy-free cheeses, as these often take longer to melt.
- Use two layers of cheese. This is imperative for grilled cheese sandwiches with a filling like this one – the melted cheese acts like glue to hold everything in place!
Variations on this recipe:
- To incorporate more vegetables into the dish, try adding chopped red, yellow, or green peppers to the masala onions. (Psst – if you’re a vegetable fanatic like me, you’ll love my hidden vegetable pasta sauce recipe!)
- Add a layer of spinach to the toastie for some extra greens. The chutney that we are serving alongside the toastie does have some spinach in it, but you can also add a layer to the toastie for some extra greens! Just make sure to put all the fillings between the two cheese layers so they don’t fall out.
- For a lighter option, use a tortilla instead of bread to make a masala quesadilla! Because Indian-Mexican fusion food should totally be a thing already.
Masala Grilled Cheese with Coriander Chutney
For the Coriander Chutney
- 1 handful Coriander
- 1 handful Spinach
- 1 cm3 piece Fresh Ginger
- 1/2 clove Garlic
- 2 Fresh Chillies use more/less as you prefer
- 1 tbsp Raw Peanuts use raw sunflower seeds for nut-free option
- 1/4 Lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp Water
For the Masala Grilled Cheese
- 1/2 Red Onion sliced into rings
- 1 tsp Sunflower Oil
- 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds rai
- 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds jeera seeds
- 1/8 tsp Ground Coriander dhana
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cumin jeera
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric haldi
- 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder mirchi
- 4 slices Sourdough Bread or bread of choice
- 6 tsp Margarine
- 4 slices Cheese I use Violife dairy-free slices
- 1/2 Large Tomato sliced
- Prepare the chutney: Add the coriander, spinach, fresh ginger, garlic, fresh chillies, raw peanuts, lemon juice, and water to a small blender and blend until smooth.
- Make the masala onions: Add the sunflower oil, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a small pan over medium heat. Once the seeds begin to crackle, lower the heat and add the sliced red onion. Stir to coat the onions in the oil, then add the spices: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, and chilli powder. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Assemble the sandwich: Generously spread the margarine over 4 slices of bread, ensuring to go all the way to the edges. Add one slice of bread, butter side down, to a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add a layer of cheese, then half the masala onions, and some tomato slices. Top with another layer of cheese and the final slice of bread, butter side up. Repeat for the second sandwich.
- Cook the grilled cheese: Cook the masala grilled cheese for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Ensure the cheese has melted before serving the sandwich hot alongside the chutney. Enjoy!
- The grilled cheese is best served immediately to ensure it is crisp and the cheese is gooey.
- The chutney will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
NUTRITIONServing size: 1 grilled cheese sandwich served with 1/2 the chutney Calories: 607 kcal | Fat: 36.3g | Saturated Fat: 14.6g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 929mg | Carbohydrates: 47.2g | Fiber: 4.7g | Sugar: 5.7g | Protein: 25g