Growing up in India, the Masala cheese toast was a regular staple breakfast dish. What set it apart was the only processed cheese available in India at that time (Amul cheese), which resembles a hard white Cheddar, paired with cilantro and roasted cumin for grilled cheese taken to the next level. The tomato soup is made with lentils, which adds to the creaminess of the soup; the curry leaves and Indian spices make it the perfect tomato soup to dunk the masala grilled cheese in.
a mortar and pestle; a high-powered blender; a double-burner cast-iron griddle pan
For the tomato soup: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chile and cook until it crackles, about 30 seconds. Add the onions, ginger-garlic paste and cilantro and cook until the onions are slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, masoor dal, sambar powder, salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with water until all the fresh tomatoes are covered and let it cook on a low heat until the lentils are soft, 25 to 30 minutes.
Carefully ladle the soup into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth, taking care when blending hot liquids. Pour into a medium-large saucepan and add the coconut milk and butter. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until just bubbling.
For the cheese filling: Combine the cheese, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, garam masala and salt to taste in a medium bowl and reserve.
For the sandwiches: Lay out the bread slices and top half of the slices with the cheese filling. Top with the other slices of bread and spread half the softened butter on the top piece of each sandwich.
Preheat a double-burner cast-iron griddle pan over medium heat. Add the sandwiches, butter-side down. Carefully spread the remaining butter on the top sides of the sandwiches and cook, turning once, until the bread is golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the sandwiches to paper towels. Cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal.
Serve the tomato soup hot with the grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.
Tools You May Need
When blending hot liquid, first let it cool for five minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until smooth.
Tools You May Need
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