This recipe is so easy and quick, that quite frankly I’m embarrassed to be calling it a recipe at all. Be warned, 5-minute masala sandwich can be utterly addictive and completely deceiving in its simplicity. The toasted bread, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, combined with crisp cucumber, ripe tomato, crispy pungent raw onions, and the unmistakable tangy spicy taste of chaat masala….I’m drooling already, and I may have eaten one (or four) while writing this. Plus, as an added bonus, 5-minute masala sandwiches are vegan!
You can mix up the veggies in this sandwich, although trust me, this is pretty much the perfect combination. What is completely 100% necessary and can’t be swapped out, is the chaat masala. For those of you not familiar with it, chaat masala is a mix of ground spices such as dried mango powder, cumin, coriander, ginger, black salt, black pepper, and chili. In India it’s used to top everything from salads to snacks to sandwiches , and even fruit! It can be bought at pretty much any Asian or Indian specialty shop, it’s quite cheap, and as you only need a little bit at a time. A bag or box of it will last for ages.
This sandwich is similar to bombay masala sandwich, but without the green chutney and cooked potato. It is a particular sandwich I became a fan of after giving birth to my second child in Bangalore. During the long wait after my waters breaking, I asked for a sandwich and got this type of tasty masala sandwich. After giving birth, for some crazy reason, they then just gave me this sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was only the following day, after jealously noticing the empty tiffins in front of the other rooms, and asking my doctor why I was on a sandwich-only diet (albeit a very tasty one), that I was then given the same yummy Indian food as the other women.
But I still couldn’t stop thinking about that darn sandwich. I had to go back to the hospital often for mother and baby check-ups, and every single time I would head upstairs to the cafeteria and get this sandwich. OK, this sandwich and a large tray of idli, rasam, and coconut chutney. Nom nom. Well, sambar would also make an appearance, but I would steadfastly ignore it as I never learnt to like it – AND I NEVER WILL! Washed down with mosambi juice, all for less than €1.50. Man, I miss India and the amazing food there!
We often find ourselves hankering for Indian food. Not the rich restaurant versions, but the tasty lighter homemade dishes. We’re all pretty addicted to these sandwiches and often have them along with kachumber salad and shorba for a light lunch or dinner. Not an authentic combination, but hey it makes sense to us!
I quickly grill these in my panini grill until golden, but if you don’t have one (or if you prefer), you can use a sandwich toaster (toastie maker), or simply grill your sambo. I prefer the panini grill or sandwich toaster because as there is no cheese in this sandwich, it doesn’t really “stick”together, and the filling can spill out on to your grill if you’re not really careful when you’re putting it in and taking it out. Be warned, due to the high moisture content of the veggies in this sandwich, especially after toasting, it’s best eaten freshly made or it can get soggy.
And of course, the amounts given may be for one sandwich, but there’s no need to limit yourself to just one! Or two! Or ten! (Just saying….)
- 2 slices of white sandwich bread
- 1 small persian cucumber or about 1/5th an English Cucumber
- 1 large ripe but firm tomato
- 1/3 a small red onion
- 1/8-1/4 tsp chaat masala
- Spread the margarine on the two slices of white sandwich bread
- Thinly slice the cucumber and layer it across one piece of bread (the side with margarine on it)
- Slice the tomato into medium-thick slices and layer across the cucumbers.
- Thinly slice the onion and chop into thirds. You can either add it on top of the tomatoes as is (raw, I prefer it that way), or soak them in ice-cold water for ten minutes to make them taste milder (drain well or you'll have some soggy sandwiches!). If you have any already-cut onions in the fridge they would also be perfect for your sandwich.
- Sprinkle evenly with the chaat masala and top the vegetable layers with the remaining slice of bread (margarine side down) and toast or grill for between 2-3 minutes or until as golden as you prefer. The amount of chaat masala you sprinkle on is a matter of personal preference, I find just short of a 1/4 tsp to be enough for me (this makes a strong-tasting sandwich).
- Serve immediately!