|"Poor Man's Taj," or Bibi Ka Maqbara, in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India (taken 15 September 2012)|
At the beginning of the #SeriousSandwich project, I was in India on a business trip. This was my fifth trip there in two or so years, so I have had several opportunities to try amazing Indian food right at the source. I'm far from a picky or cautious eater, so while I am over there, I try to be reasonably adventurous -- for example, I will taste anything terrifically spicy, but I do draw the line at eating sushi in inland Maharashtra at some weird hotel bar. I also don't care to eat much seafood in India, particularly during monsoon season, because it can get a little dicey, or beef, because, well, eating beef in parts of India is still considered taboo, and I try to be respectful.
So, what's left? Lots of amazing vegetarian dishes, plus lamb and chicken. My very favorite Indian dish is dal makhani, a creamy lentil dish which I have tried (and failed) to recreate at home. I'm still trying to find the perfect recipe for that. But, my SECOND favorite is chole bhatura, which is a Punjabi dish of spiced chickpeas served with a fried bread.
Where am I going with this? Isn't this post supposed to be about Emeril's sandwiches? Well, yes! And, it is!
When I got home from my trip and first flipped through the book, I knew that I would definitely be making the "Smashed Chickpeas on Naan with Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Raita." The recipe sounded a lot like chole, which thrilled me. Also, I love to make flavorful vegetarian meals for my carnivorous husband, just to see if he notices or complains. (He rarely does - he also loved the roasted beet sandwich from Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches.)
I didn't end up making the raita because I ran out of time that night, but I promise that the sandwich didn't suffer at all! Does it taste like the chole I have had in India? Not exactly, but it is full of flavor and very healthy. The recipe makes enough for four giant sandwiches, one of which I took to work for lunch the next day, and I think it was better than the night I prepared it.
|Supplies. You can see that I had out the cucumber and yogurt to make the raita, but didn't get to it. It was amazing without! Also, don't judge me and my processed lemon juice hiding there in the back.|
|Chopped fresh tomatoes.|
|Chickpeas starting to cook. Don't they look lovely? They taste as bright as they look.|
|After the "smash."|
|Finished sandwich - that's the green cilantro-mint chutney there on the side, which is DELICIOUS.|
It also took almost NO time to crank this out for dinner, which makes for an ace of an easy weeknight meal. I loved that. Now, if only I'd had some dal makhani on the side...