IFN's Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich
My idea of the perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Bread + Butter + LOTS of Cheese + Grill + a filling of your choice = Voila! The perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich is ready.
And, what's not to love about it? The ooey, gooey, melty cheese pursed between two perfectly toasty-on-the-outside-soft-inside breads that don a beautiful cheese skirt.
While desi millennials are beginning to get obsessed with this easy-to-make and perfect on-the-go snack, it has been a favourite with Americans and Britishers for decades. Did you know it was the go-to snack for the US Navy during World War II? How could it not? The grilled cheese sandwich is not only easy to put together with ingredients already available in your pantry, it also does the job of filling your tummy between meals too.
The grilled cheese sandwich craze in India has steadily multiplied over the years giving eateries across the country the opportunity to make Grilled Cheese Sandwich the hero of their menus. Not only that, even Mumbai's street-side sandwich vendors boast their own versions of this classic sandwich. Also, a shoutout to those foodies and home chefs who have experimented and concocted their own versions of this delicious sandwich right at home.
My Grilled Cheese Sandwich
As for me, here's how I make my perfect grilled cheese sandwich. First things first: Bread follows its own rules. The one and only - it needs to be toasty, grilled, crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Stick by this thumb rule and you're already halfway there!
Illustration by Shreya Jalavadia
If you have tried this many times but not succeeded as yet, don't miss my hacks in the grilled cheese sandwich recipe below. Depending on my mood, I alternate between three versions of the same ol' grilled cheese sandwich and every one of them tastes just as good and satisfying.
The Original Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Although the original grilled cheese sandwich recipe uses American cheese (which doesn't have a taste of its own, in my opinion), I use apna desi beloved cheese - Amul (you can also use Go, Prabhat, Dairy Craft or Britannia because it's not like I'm promoting a particular brand!) with a little bit of mozzarella thrown in for the stringy feels. I know it's processed cheese but it does taste very good (guilty as charged!). Whether you love Grilled Cheese Sandwich or just want a fuss-free and quick meal, give this sandwich recipe a shot at home.
My Homemade Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe
1) Take two slices of white (or multi-grain, if you're health conscious) bread.
2) Butter both bread slices on one side.
3) Flip it, and now for my favourite step - load it with grated cheese! (No amount of cheese is enough so fill it to your heart's content)
4) Place the sandwich on a preheated pan, tawa or grill toaster.
5) If you're using a tawa, toast the sandwich for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side on a medium flame. It takes about 6 to 8 minutes for the sandwich to be ready when you're using an electric toaster.
6) Toast it to the shade of brown you like.
7) Plate like a pro with chips and dips on the side and your sandwich is ready to dig into!
Hearty, Healthy Grilled Cheese Sandwich Hacks
If you're not a fan of grilled cheese sandwich because you think what's healthy about bread and cheese, it's a never-ending discussion. But, I've made healthy peace with grilled cheese sandwich by opting for healthier ingredients.
Eventually, it all comes down to the ingredients you choose and these grilled cheese sandwich ingredient swaps will put a smile on your face and tummy!
Bread: To give your sandwich an instant nutritional boost, skip the usual white bread and go for multi-grain bread instead.
Cheese: Sharp Cheddar or processed cheese could be replaced with a mix of cheeses that have better nutritional value like Gruyère and skimmed (or less fatty) mozzarella. Since Gruyère is a hard cheese, it does take a while to melt so keep that in mind when you're toasting your grilled cheese sandwich. Even brie cheese is a great option for the perfect grilled sandwich as this cheese is low on sodium and easily spreadable.
Hack! You could throw in an assortment of veggies, fresh herbs or chicken slices to give your grilled cheese sandwich an extra touch of wholesomeness.
Royal Grilled Cheese Sandwich
If it's your cheat day or you're simply looking to indulge in fancy ingredients, how about trying your grilled cheese sandwich with sourdough bread?
A tinge of sourness from the bread along with the salty and sharp flavours of cheddar cheese take this royal grilled cheese sandwich to perfection. The sourdough bread in itself has more bite to thanks to its crisper crust.
Tip: Sourdough bread comes with a lot of air pockets so the cheese may keep falling out while assembling the sandwich and it could get difficult to put the sandwich on a grill. But before you get disheartened, I have a solution!
Fill those air pockets with some cold butter (which is used for the grilled cheese sandwich recipe in any case) and put it on the preheated pan immediately. This will prevent the cheese from falling out. The cheese, like in a regular grilled cheese sandwich, will anyway ooze out but who doesn't love a messy grilled cheese?