I’m guessing most of you are familiar with the the tea time stand by – the cucumber sandwich. Elegant and refreshing, a high tea service just isn’t complete without this tasty triangle. But did you know that there is also a fabulous, Indian version of this sandwich? Just like the original it has thinly sliced cucumber, a soft white cheese like cream cheese and must be on white bread, preferably with the crusts removed. But of course, the Indian version does not stop there. It also has a vibrant green cilantro-mint chutney smeared on one slice of bread for a nice herbal, subtly spicy hit. These Indian cucumber sandwiches were ever present in my youth and were served at more birthday parties than I can count. And I continue the tradition – I served them myself at my son’s 2nd birthday party almost 3 years ago.
But as delicious as these sandwiches are, they have a big problem. They fall apart. Especially when you are making a big platter of them. The cucumbers are just too slick and keep the two pieces of bread from adhering to each other. So I was pondering this problem as my daughter’s second birthday party was approaching (this is the type of stuff that keeps me up at night) and came up with a brilliant solution. I would make a spread that combined all the elements – cucumber, chutney and cream cheese – and also act as an irresistible glue for the bread.
Combining the cream cheese and chutney was a no brainer and easy. But the cucumber posed a problem. I didn’t want this watery vegetable to thin the spread. My solution was to grate the cucumber, then toss it with some salt and allow it to drain for about 15 minutes. Then I squeezed any remaining moisture out of the cucumber shards before adding them to the combined chutney cream cheese.
The resulting spread was so so good. I used it to make these lobster shaped sandwiches for my daughter, Ishani’s birthday party (it had an underwater theme) but the spread would also be killer on a bagel. I also enjoyed the leftovers on sourdough toast with some charred cauliflower on top. Heaven.
The sandwiches were a scene stealer at the party. At least 5 people asked me how they were made which is always a good sign. And the best part is the spread can be made in advance – up to 5 days ahead. So you can make it today and it will perfect on Sunday to eat as an Oscar viewing snack.
I have included the recipe for the cilantro-mint chutney below as well. This chutney is a beauty by itself and I have blogged about it in the past in this post.
Happy Oscar watching on Sunday! Of the films I got to watch (not that many with two small kids in the mix) my favorite was American Sniper and I will be rooting for it!