Thursday, April 15, 2010

Panini with an Indian twist - Tandoori Chicken N Cheese Panini

Panini is Italian for sandwich. Here, in the US, Panini is generally associated with a grilled sandwich with gorgeous grill marks. As I was writing this post, I was reminded of the delicious Paninis we had while vacationing in Montreal, Canada. The one that I loved the most was a simple sun- dried tomato, spinach and fresh mozzarella grilled Panini on ciabatta bread...yum.
When I read about Panini Happy's '2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Pageant' , I knew I was in. I wanted to make a sandwich with an Indian twist. There were several combinations that came to my mind but I settled for this Tandoori Chicken N Cheese Panini. What can I say about Tandoori Chicken? Anyone who has been to an Indian Restuarant must have surely tasted the famous sizzling Tandoori Chicken. Tandoori chicken to a non –vegetarian Indian is what barbeque chicken is to an American. This is a spicy roasted chicken traditionally made in a earthen clay oven called 'Tandoor'. The chicken is marinated for several hours in a spicy yogurt sauce and then grilled to perfection.
Coming back to the Panini, I shredded the tandoori chicken and added some mint chutney and grilled onions and bell peppers to the sandwich for more flavor. The mint chutney goes very well with the tender and juicy tandoori chicken. I served the Panini with some mint mayo (1 tbsp mint chutney +2 tbsp mayonaise) and a refreshing cucumber- onion- tomato relish. These paninis were awesome!

Ingredients -
For Panini -
2 slices white sandwich bread
1/2 cup shredded Tandoori Chicken
Grilled onions
Grilled green bell pepper
Mint chutney
Shredded Mexican 4- cheese or any cheese of your choice

For Mint Chutney -
1 cup chopped cilantro
10-12 mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1 inch piece ginger
1-2 green chillies
1 small onion chopped
1 tbsp lemon/ lime juice
salt to taste

Method -
For Mint Chutney -
Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor into a smooth paste.

To assemble the Panini -
1. Spread some butter on two bread slices on both sides. Apply a generous layer of mint chutney on both the slices
2. Now add a layer of shredded tandoori chicken and some grilled onions and peppers on one slice.
3. Spread some grated cheese and top with the other bread slice.
4. Grill the paninis on a hot skillet/ pan on both sides till golden brown. I have used a traditional Khakra (Indian toasted bread) press to grill the panini and it worked out great.

Check out Kathy's Panini 101 - Secrets to making great Panini

Cucumber- Onion- Tomato Relish -
In a bowl add some chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers. Then add some salt, pepper, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Mix well. Serve chilled.

                                 TANDOORI CHICKEN

This is my entry for Panini happy's '2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Pageant'


nisha said...

First time here , you have nice blog.

You have a very unique panini press :). Loved your recipe

Rachana said...

Thanks Nisha. My poor khakra press lost its lustre in the dish washer :-((

Kevin said...

Great idea for a grilled cheese sandwich!

Rachana said...

Thanks Kevin!