Sometime during the summer vacations this year I decided to introduce a proper tea time at home. Although I had grown up with a proper tea time ritual where my mother would serve us stuff that was made for breakfast that day (as it is the custom of most homes) or something more elaborate and interesting like the steamed bread pudding or portha polay (rice crepe rolls stuffed with a coconut and jaggery/sugar filling) or egg stumbler (egg and bread upma). On some days I helped her cook Maggi with some veggies and I must say that it tasted out of the world. Maggi has, since then lost all that charm or perhaps have I just grown up and learnt to enjoy real, wholesome food. Coming back to our tea time ritual, since corn, paneer and spinach are staple ingredients in my fridge I decided to make a filling out of them. My son loves paneer and so this sandwich was just waiting to happen. This makes for a super filling evening snack and a great lunchbox option.
If you have picky eaters who don’t like to bite into pieces of corn you may pulse the kernels a bit longer. The additon of crumbled paneer makes the filling so juicy that you really won’t be able to stop at one. I am guessing, a layer of spicy green chutney will spruce up the sandwich if you want to enjoy it yourself, but if you are serving it to kids you can leave it out.
A super yummy snack option for kids and adults alike with the goodness of paneer (cottage cheese), corn & spinach. Serve it hot as an evening snack or lunch box option!
- 6 slices of bread
- salted or unsalted butter
- oil for shallow frying
- 100 grams 1 loosely filled cup crumbled paneer/cottage cheese * see notes for non veg options
- 150 grams cooked corn I used canned * see notes
- 1 cup spinach finely shredded
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 3/4 th inch ginger finely chopped
- 1/2 small green chilli deseeded if you wish, minced
- 1 small-medium onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh coriander finely chopped
- 3-4 mint leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- a pinch of garam masala
- a pinch of chat masala or dried mango powder amchur
Heat oil in a heavy based wok/pan and fry the ginger, garlic and green chillies for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry them until translucent (pale)
Add the chopped spinach and fry until they wilt, then add the corn and the spices. Add salt to taste. Check the taste and adjust seasonings
Add the paneer and the chopped coriander & mint leaves and give it a good mix.
Heat the sandwich maker/panini grill and keep it ready.
Butter two slices of bread and place about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the prepared mixture on one slice. Cover this with the other buttered slice and place the sandwich on the sandwich maker. Cover and let it grill until done.
Remove, slice diagonally using a sharp bread knife and serve immediately with some ketchup, chutney or dip on the side
For non veg options, instead of the paneer you may use grilled chicken. You can use any pre-marinated boneless chicken too. Just shallow fry or grill it, shred and use in the recipe in the place of paneer. Pre cooked keema or salami/sausage bits may also be used although grilled chicken or paneer are healthier options. If you are using fresh corn, place it in a steamer (or a colander placed over a pan of simmering water) and steam it for 18-20 minutes until the kernels are tender. Remove from the steamer and when cool enough to handle scrape off the kernels as required. Frozen corn can also be used, thaw for a few seconds before using to ensure that chunks of ice don't fall into the pan along with the corn or else you will end up with a soggy mixture. If you are using canned corn, drain off the liquid before using the kernels. To make a smoother mixture, pulse the corn in a mixer/chopper for exactly 1 second. We don't need a paste but gritty corn will be better than getting whole kernels while eating.