Grilled Cheese with Butter Chicken Sauce

Last modified on April 21st, 2020 at 11:29 am

Inspired by the Indian flavours of butter chicken and combined with a combo of local cheeses, our Grilled Cheese with butter chicken sauce is spicy, cheesy, and bursting with the flavour and fragrance of one of our favourite Indian dishes.

Three grilled cheeses on plates with butter chicken sauce and cilantro

Each year in Toronto’s Little India neighbourhood, the Gerard India Bazaar BIA hosts the Southeast Asia festival, featuring the music, fashion, and food of the many Indian, Sri Laken and Pakastani restaurants that make up the area. It is also the neighbourhood where Philip’s brother has his cheese shop, The Pantry, which sells local cheeses and specialty food.

Absent from being able to both run the store and serve food during the festival, Philip was recruited by his brother to create a grilled cheese recipe with an Indian flair that he could make for the festival. It was a jar of local butter chicken sauce that inspired Philip’s pop-up dish, a Butter Chicken Grilled Cheese is loaded with local cheese curds and medium cheddar, smothered in a butter chicken sauce (sans chicken) before being grilled to crispy, cheesy perfection.

While our recipe utilizes a homemade butter chicken sauce made with coconut milk, you can definitely use a store-bought jarred sauce to achieve a similar flavour. And whether making your own sauce as we do now, or using the store-bought stuff, we always make sure to save the extra to make our all-time favourite Butter Chicken recipe.

How to Make Our Grilled Cheese with Butter Chicken Sauce

Ingredients to make grilled cheese with butter chicken sauce

Ingredients you’ll need for our Grilled Cheese with Butter Chicken Sauce

  • Bread (we prefer a pullman loaf, but any of your favourite breads will work)
  • Salted Butter
  • Medium Cheddar Cheese
  • Cheese Curds
  • Butter Chicken Sauce (homemade recipe below)

Step 1 | Make the Butter Chicken Sauce

While you can definitely use a store-bought butter chicken sauce, if time allows, you can try making your own dairy-free butter chicken sauce using the steps below.

Butter Chicken Sauce Ingredients

Yellow onion, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, chili powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, fenugreek (optional), tomato paste, ground tomatoes, coconut milk.

Prepare the Seasoning Paste and Spice Mix

In a container of a blender or food processor pulse 1 chopped onion, 5 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 chopped chili peppers, and a 3-inch knob of chopped ginger. Add a few splashes of water as you pulse until it becomes a paste-like consistency and set aside.

For the spice mix, combine 1 tablespoon each of chili powder, garam masala, and cumin, 2 teaspoons of coriander and 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek (optional) in a small bowl and set aside.

Cook the Butter Chicken Sauce

Heat a deep skillet or medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of ghee (or coconut oil for plant-based sauce). Once the ghee begins to smoke a bit, pour in the seasoning paste and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.

Add the spices and cook an additional 5 minutes, while stirring often, until deep in colour, then stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Ground Tomatoes and Cooked Seasoning for Butter Chicken Sauce

Pour in a 28oz can of pureed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of honey, then season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and stir in a 14oz can of coconut milk. Adjust seasoning to taste and remove from the stove to cool.

Pouring coconut milk into a pot for butter chicken sauce

Cool and Store the Butter Chicken Sauce

Reserve about 1/2 cup of the butter chicken sauce for the grilled cheese recipe and set aside. Pour remaining butter chicken sauce in a mason jar and store in the fridge for up to one week.

Homemade butter chicken sauce in a mason jar

Step 2 | Make the Butter Chicken Filling

Roughly chop 1 cup of cheese curds and place in a small mixing bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of butter chicken sauce and set aside.

Step 3 | Assemble the Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Butter Chicken Sauce being assembled

Butter one side of eight slices of bread and place on a baking sheet or cutting board, unbuttered side up. Top 4 slices with 2 tablespoons each of grated medium cheddar, and 2 tablespoons of the butter chicken cheese curds. Top with another 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar and top with bread, butter side up.

Step 4 | Cook the Grilled Cheese with Butter Chicken Sauce

Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Place 1 to 2 sandwiches on the skillet and press down firmly with a spatula. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until crisp on golden on the bottom and flip, cooking an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until both sides of the sandwich is golden brown and the cheese begins to ooze out the side. Allow to cool for just a minute then slice in half, top with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and enjoy.

Grilled cheese next to a knife, butter chicken sauce, and cilantro

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Ingredients

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Grilled Cheese with Butter Chicken Sauce

Butter chicken grilled cheese sliced in half next to a knife

Inspired by the Indian flavours of butter chicken and combined with a combo of local cheeses, our Grilled Cheese with butter chicken sauce is spicy, cheesy, and bursting with the flavour and fragrance of one of our favourite Indian dishes.

  • Author: Chef Sous Chef
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: food and drink, main
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: North American, Indian inspired

Ingredients

Scale

Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-inch knob of ginger, chopped
  • 2 chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (796ml/28oz) ground tomatoes
  • 1 can (398/14oz) coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

Grilled Cheese

  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 8 tbsp salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cheese curds
  • 1/2 cup butter chicken sauce

Instructions

No. 1 | In a container of a blender or food processor pulse 1 chopped onion, 5 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 chopped chili peppers, and a 3-inch knob of chopped ginger. Add a few splashes of water as you pulse until it becomes a paste-like consistency and set aside.

No. 2 | In a small mixing bowl combine a chili powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, and optional fenugreek.

No. 3 | Heat a deep large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Add  ghee and once it begins to smoke a bit, pour in the remaining seasoning paste and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.

No. 4 | Add the spice mix and cook an additional 5 minutes, while stirring often, until deep in colour, then stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

No. 5 | Pour in a 28oz can of pureed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of honey, then season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and stir in a 14oz can of coconut milk. Adjust seasoning to taste. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce for the grilled cheese and pour remaining into a mason jar to use for another recipe, such as our Butter Chicken.

No. 6 | In a small mixing bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of butter chicken sauce with the chopped cheese curds.

No. 7 | Butter one side of eight slices of bread and place on a baking sheet or cutting board, unbuttered side up. Top 4 slices with 2 tablespoons each of grated medium cheddar, and 2 tablespoons of the butter chicken cheese curds. Top with another 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar and top with bread, butter side up.

No. 8 | Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Place 1 to 2 sandwiches on the skillet and press down firmly with a spatula. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until crisp on golden on the bottom and flip, cooking an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until both sides of the sandwich is golden brown and the cheese begins to ooze out the side. Allow to cool for just a minute then slice in half and enjoy. 

Keywords: Indian grilled cheese, butter chicken sauce recipes, what to make with leftover butter chicken sauce, grilled cheese ideas, gourmet grilled cheese

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