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!
|1 1/2 cups||5 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|5 minutes||15 minutes|
A creamy, spicy spread flecked with shards of cucumber, perfect for a sandwich or on a freshly toasted bagel.
- 8 oz whipped, plain cream cheese
- 1/2 cup grated cucumber (from about 1/3 of an English cucmber)
- 3 tbl cilantro-mint chutney (recipe below)
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- 1 jalapeno chili (optional - you can leave it out to keep it mild)
- 1 bunch scallions, about 6-8, roughly chopped
- 1 tbl chaat masala**
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbl full-fat or low-fat yogurt
- 1 tbl crushed anardana**
- 1 lemon
- Take the grated cucumber and transfer it to a sieve. Toss the cucumber shards with 1/2 tsp of salt. Let drain for 15 minutes.
- While the cucumber drains, combine the cream cheese with the chutney thoroughly.
- After the cucmber has drained, sqeeze any additonal moisture out of it with your hands before transferring it to the chutney cheese mixture. You don't want to thin the spread so it is important that you squeeze well!
- Mix in the cucumber thoroughly. The cucumber chutney cream cheese is now ready. It keeps in the fridge for a week.
- Combing all the chutney ingredients except for the lemon in the blender.
- Add the juice of half the lemon and blend until you have homogenous green, thin paste. If you are having trouble getting everything to blend, you can add a tablespoon of water.
- Taste the chutney. If you want it to be more sour, add the juice of the other lemon half. I find that I use the whole lemon most of the time. The chutney will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
** Chaat masala is a tangy spice blend that is often used in Indian street food, or chaat. You can find the blend your local Indian market or online. Anardana are dried pomegranate seeds. They have a fabulous, unique sour taste. They are also available at Indian markets or online.
Disclaimer: Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links and I will gain a small commission if you purchase through these links. I know it can be hard to find Indian spices which is why I have provided the option to buy online. I only recommend spices and brands I use myself.
Amita Berry says
The sandwiches were SO delicious – I want to put this spread on everything. And the new website is gorgeous!!!
Shveta Berry says
Thanks! And I’m so glad you are enjoying the new site. It was a long time coming…..