This sandwich was a staple of my childhood, fueling my family at every picnic, beach day, road trip, and Disneyland visit. It brings together some of my favorite things: green pea-flecked, cumin-spiced potato curry, buttered slices of white bread, a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese, and lots of chopped cilantro. The whole thing is pressed in a sandwich maker, which seals the sandwich shut, crisps up the edges, and portions it into neat little triangles that are easy to transport. Growing up, we’d eat the triangles dunked in tomato ketchup or cilantro chutney, alongside banana chips or an Indian snack mix called “mixture,” and wash it all down with ginger ale or chocolate milk. —Brinda Ayer
medium Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
oil or ghee
whole cumin seeds
small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
small red onion, finely chopped
kosher salt, plus more to taste
fresh cilantro, finely chopped
white sandwich bread, one side lightly buttered
shredded cheddar cheese, per sandwich (optional)
In This Recipe
In a medium pot, over high heat, bring water to a boil and add the potatoes, reducing the heat to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender, then drain and set them aside in a large bowl.
With a potato masher or a large fork, mash the potatoes until they break down slightly, but are not smooth or paste-like. There should be 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch chunks of potato remaining in the mash.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until smoking. Add the cumin and brown for about one minute until fragrant. Add the asafoetida powder, turmeric, and the onions, and cook until the onions are translucent. To this mixture, add the jalapeño and cook for another minute or two. Fold in the mashed potato and stir gently to incorporate but not break down the potatoes too much more. Add the frozen peas, garam masala, and salt to taste, cooking for another few minutes until the peas are heated through.
Take the curry off the heat let cool for a few minutes, folding in the chopped cilantro and ensuring it doesn't wilt or brown too much.
To assemble the sandwiches, heat a sandwich maker (preferred method, because it properly seals the sandwiches shut), panini press, or griddle or grill pan over medium-high heat. Fill two slices of buttered bread, butter-side out, with one quarter of the curry mixture, and top with grated cheese before closing the sandwich if desired. Many sandwich makers can accommodate two sandwiches at a time, so repeat this process to make another sandwich. Close the sandwich and place into the sandwich maker or panini press, cooking until the machine light indicates it's done. On a griddle or grill pan, cook the sandwich for 3-5 minutes on each side, until it's browned, crispy, and totally heated through. Repeat the process with the other two sandwiches, to make four total.
Serve sandwiches hot or cold, with ketchup and/or coriander chutney.
Brinda is the Books & Special Projects Editor at Food52, where she edits all of Food52's cookbooks and covers the latest and greatest books on the site (drop her a line with recs!). She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all sorts, and tahini-flavored anything. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants. Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.