Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Afternoon Tea: Indo-British Finger Sandwiches

Whenever I'm in London, there's nothing I like better than to partake in afternoon tea.  Actually, I don't need to be in London to take tea. I can do it any time or any place! I love everything about it from the pot of steaming tea served in a pretty little teacup, sugar cubes, petite scones to the miniature finger sandwiches.  And you can't forget...the clotted cream!  Ymmmm.  Maybe it's the little girl in me who loved hosting tea parties for my other girlfriends or the idea of more genteel times when you would dress up in a pretty dress and spend an afternoon gossiping with friends over a cup of tea. 

Afternoon tea is typically served as a light meal between 3-5pm.  It is a tradition that was actually brought over to England from Portugal in 1661 when Catherine of Bragança married Charles II!

So this weekend in honor of Will and Kate's nuptials, I am inviting you to a royal afternoon tea with my Indo-British finger sandwich.  The cilantro chutney that is the star of the sandwich is a recipe from my good friend's mother who is Tamil, from the city of Madras in South India.  I've had versions of this sandwich several times with them and each time I rave over it. So this time, I remembered to ask for her recipe which I will share with you today.  

The chutney is so tasty! Spicy and a little sweet, the cilantro leaves a nice, refreshing taste on your tongue and cools the heat from the pepper.  I would recommend using a good quality white bread if you have a great bakery nearby. I bought a delicious French white bread from my local gourmet market, Agata & Valentina.  The sweetness of the bread really complimented the chutney. It had almost a brioche quality to it. It is a wonderful light sandwich...perfect for tea!

This recipe makes a generous portion of cilantro chutney, so put it in a sealable jar and keep it in the refrigerator for a week to use for dinner later on in the week.  A great way to use the chutney would be to marinate some tofu, fish, chicken or pork in it for a few hours and then grill it on the barbeque or stove top on skewers. Easy and delicious! 

Makes 4 sandwiches

8 slices good quality white bread, crust cut off
1/2 cup cilantro chutney (recipe below)
1 kumato, thinly sliced *

1. On one slice of bread, spread chutney generously. Top with one slice of kumato (if you want two slices per sandwich, go right ahead!). 

2. Place second slice of bread on top and cut into a triangle. Repeat process.
3. Serve immediately with a piping hot pot of tea and scones.  This can also be made a few hours ahead of time. 

*NOTE: A kumato is a variety of tomato that originated in Spain.  It has a longer shelf life than regular tomatoes and sweeter.  I had them on hand which is why I used them.  Otherwise, I would use a regular tomato or cucumber.  The sandwich can really be made with anything including chicken, smoked salmon or a gouda cheese. Get creative!

Makes 2 cups

1 bunch cilantro, washed thoroughly
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup raisin (I used golden raisins)
1/8 cup lightly toasted cashews
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (you can add 2 peppers if you want it spicier. I deseeded one side of my pepper to remove the heat because I am a total wuss!)
Salt to taste

1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor.  Add a little bit of water to get the chutney to come together.  Pulse on low for a few minutes for a few minutes.

2.  Add as much water as needed to thin the mixture and get the mixture into a slightly thinned out pesto. I used slightly less than 1/4 cup of water.  

3.  Store chutney in a sealable jar.  It should be fine for up to a week.


  1. I like the Chutney recipe and as a Curry fan I know have another condiment in my arsenal.
    Also I like the sandwich because it is vegetarian which is actually the way afternoon tea sandwiches traditionally should be.

  2. Thanks for your feedback Michael. There are so many variations for chutney and uses. It's amazing how underused it is when so much can be made from it. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Oooo, the chutney sounds deee-lightful!

  4. Interesting idea to use raisin and cashew in a cilantro chutney, I've never seen it done that way before. But I'm sure it's delicious! I love Indian tea sandwiches, and your post has me thinking that we should organize a little afternoon tea party one of these days. Thanks!

  5. Mistress, I hope my invitation to tea is on its way!