Tamarind date chutney

I was looking at different ways to make our daily weekday toasts more interesting, and one way was to use Indian flavors (of course). Whenever you have Indian or Thai flavors, it’s pretty much impossible to have a boring meal. There is something about South and Southeast Asian cooking that always seems to get the right balance of sweet, salty, sour, and savory where things are just finger-licking good.

In the last couple of weeks, occasionally I’d make “masala grilled cheese,” where I’d take a white cheddar and sandwich it between chaat masala or garlic chutney-spiced mayo, some freshly made cilantro chutney, and sandwich them between two buttered pieces of bread on a hot pan. But then I got another idea, which is to make the sandwich a bit more like a chaat snack or samosa, so today, I added masala potatoes (first boiled, then sauteed), plus an additional layer of homemade tamarind-date chutney (made in my Instant Pot for the very first time this week – it was so quick!). I forgot how good the sweet-sourness of the tamarind date chutney really compliments all the savory and spicy of the cilantro chutney, gruyere cheese, and the potatoes. I made a decent-sized batch of the tamarind date chutney and froze half of it into cubes for future use.

I thought about my absolute favorite sandwich on earth, the classic mixed banh mi (banh mi thit nguoi), and how it also achieves the perfect balance of salty, savory, sweet, sour, and spicy, in the same way that this “samosa grilled cheese” sandwich does. While the bread on this grilled cheese provides crunch, in a banh mi, the crunchy raw pickled carrots and daikon also add crunch. Our family is lucky to identify with such delicious cultures!

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