Masala Tomato Soup with Bombay Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Is there anything more comforting than grilled cheese and tomato soup? This recipe kicks this iconic combo up a notch, adding texture and complexity to the sandwiches with a vibrant cilantro chutney and thinly sliced onions—inspired by the Bombay toasts made in South Asian home kitchens. Warming spices (including a rich chhonk of tempered cumin seeds) make the dish even cozier. This is meant to be a quick-to-assemble meal but let the soup simmer on low heat for even longer if you want deeper flavors.
For the soup: In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering, add the onion, ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, heavy cream, garam masala, pepper and salt and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and cook until the flavors have really deepened and the soup has thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.
In the meantime, make the chhonk: Melt the ghee in a butter warmer or small pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and toast for a minute or less, until the cumin seeds turn fragrant and a deeper shade of brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the chile powder and asafetida. Drizzle the chhonk over the soup once it’s done.
While the soup is cooking, make the chutney and assemble and cook your sandwiches.
For the sandwiches: Spread a thin layer of the chutney on four slices of the bread, then evenly distribute the cheese on top (adding more, if you’d like), followed by the onions. Close each sandwich with the remaining four slices of bread and slather the tops of the sandwiches with a generous amount of mayonnaise (this will let the sandwich brown in the skillet).
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add a sandwich, mayonnaise-side down. Slather the side of the sandwich that’s now on top with mayonnaise. Once the sandwich is golden brown on the bottom, flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is fully melted. While the sandwich is cooking, use a spatula to press down on the sandwich and bind the cheese and bread together. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
Slice the sandwiches in half and serve with the soup.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until homogeneous, adding more lime juice or water if needed to get the blades moving.