Tandoori Chimi Sandwiches
At Delish, we firmly believe that you don’t have to be a skilled chef to cook incredibly delicious dishes. That’s why we launched Insanely Easy Weeknight Dinners, a recurring series dedicated to simple meals the whole family can enjoy together. Well grab a dining chair because we’re partnering with Coca-Cola and asking true Delish readers to share their riffs on their families’ favorite recipes.
“Cooking is my language of love,” says New York-based lifestyle blogger and mom of three, Johnnybell Sanchez. Her passion for cooking has strengthened her bonds with all members of her family: her eldest daughter, a full-fledged chef; her husband, Moe Chowdhury, and her parents, who love to share elements of their Bangladeshi heritage through the kitchen; and his Dominican grandmother, who is at the heart of Johnnybell’s earliest culinary memories. “I got married very young and didn’t know how to do anything, so I learned by trying things in the kitchen,” says Johnnybell, who was born and raised in the Big Apple. “If I needed help I would call her in the Dominican Republic and say, ‘Grandma, can you tell me how to do this? She coached me over the phone.
Now, with years of practice and a lot of culinary confidence under his belt, Johnnybell enjoys combining elements of his family’s heirloom into inventive meals. Case in point: his reinvented chimichurri sandwich (scroll down for the recipe), which gives a Bangladeshi twist to the classic Dominican dish (not to be confused with the delicious Argentinian sauce of the same name). Read on to learn more about Johnnybell’s multicultural approach to cooking, then try his savory sandwich, perfect for a summer evening.
What inspired you to make this dish?
I like to offer dishes that represent me, but also reflect my husband’s culture. Traditionally, a Dominican chimichurri sandwich is made with beef, but I thought it would work great with spicy curried chicken. I also tweaked the typical mayo and ketchup relish with a very Bangladeshi yogurt sauce. And the char in the chicken really gives it that tandoori flavor, although traditionally you would use a tandoor oven. Then the crunchy cabbage, which is traditional on a chimichurri sandwich, helps to bind it all together.
What makes chimichurri special for you?
A chimichurri sandwich is my favorite Dominican street food. It’s so full of flavor. It’s a very traditional snack to take in the summer, especially late at night. There is just something about it that tastes better at night! It’s perfect if you’re outside and want to fire up the grill, crack open a Coke, and have something delicious and refreshing that doesn’t take too long to prepare. And my kids love it. The first time I tried this recipe, I only made a few sandwiches since I just tried them. And before I knew it, I heard, “Mom, are there more? This is how I knew I had done something right!
How would you describe your typical cooking style?
I’m a stay-at-home mom and work from home, which means I’m still cooking – making breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. I absolutely have to be creative in the kitchen otherwise things will get so boring! I have a wall of spices that I am very proud of. I built it because I wanted to be experimental in the kitchen all the time, and every time I watch it it makes me so excited to cook something. I love to cook, would love to have my own show someday.
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For the marinade
fresh ginger, grated
Fresh black pepper, to taste
chicken breasts, each cut into thirds (for a total of 6 slices)
for the coleslaw
small cabbage, finely grated
carrot, grated with a peeler
small red onion, thinly sliced
Italian tomatoes, thinly sliced
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- In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, paprika, smoked paprika, sugar, cayenne pepper, garam masala, grated ginger, grated garlic, oil of canola, the juice of one lemon. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Add the sliced chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil and use a paintbrush to evenly coat the pan.
- Wait for the pan to smoke, then add the marinated chicken (two slices at a time) and cook, without touching it, for five minutes. Lower the heat to medium. Flip, then cook for another four minutes (or until you see grill marks).
- While the chicken cooks, in a medium bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, red onion, grated carrot, chopped parsley and chopped cilantro. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the grill to low. Spread the butter evenly over the bread and toast for two minutes.
- Spread the sauce on both sides of the bread, then add the grilled chicken. Top with the coleslaw and a layer of thinly sliced tomatoes.
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