Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Peshawari Naan

Naan is perhaps one of the most preferred Indian breads. I am yet to come across a person who does not like naan. This soft, and slightly chewy bread, makes a great accompaniment to any type of curry. With Naan on the side, one is sure to polish of every last bit of gravy. It is that good.

I never grew up eating naan at home. We would mostly devour this bread at the local restaurant. Until my teenage years, I believed that naan was something that could never be made without a tandoor. Hence, it could never be made at home. But all that changed when a classmate of mine got these yummy Naans from her house. It was tender, soft and it just melted in my mouth. It must have just come off the skillet because the packet in which she had carried the box had melted. It was so good that my friends and I had fought shamelessly for that extra piece of naan. I remember asking her if she owned a Tandoor. You can imagine my surprise and shock when she told me that her mother had made those lip smacking naans on the regular tawa or skillet.  At that moment, I realized that restaurant food can be made at home. And it can taste great if not better.

There are different ways to make naan. It can be made by using yeast, which is the traditional method. It can also be made by using baking soda and/or baking powder. Which, I have heard that it is a quicker version but I am yet to try that method.

Like sandwiches, Naan can have different flavors and fillings. It can be flavored stuffed with potatoes, cheese, meat, or a simple, spiced, onion mixture.  I have also read a few recipes, which had sweet fillings in them. I have used sesame seeds and chives on top to flavor this. But you can use cilantro, mint, chopped garlic, chopped green chilies, etc. With Naan, the sky is the limit. So you can really let your imagination run wild.

The naan can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be used in wraps, as a pizza base or you can enjoy it with a mughlai curry on the side. Do not be intimidated with the long preparation time. This delicious bread is worth every bit of the effort. Try making naan in the comfort of your home and find you own ways to enjoy.

Peshawari Naan recipe:
Preparation time: 1-1/2 to 2hrs
Cooking time: 15mins
Makes- about a dozen

Milk- 150ml, warmed
Yeast- 1tsp
Sugar- 1tspn
All purpose flour or maida- 500gms
Salt- 1 tspn or to taste
Yogurt- 6-8tbsp
Butter - 4-5tbspn, melted
White sesame seeds- 1tbspn or as required
Chives- 1-2tbsp, finely chopped

  • Mix the warmed milk with yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve and set aside for 30min or until it starts to bubble.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour  and salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter, yogurt, and the yeast mixture and mix to form a rough a dough.
  • Bring together with your hands. The dough should be soft and sticky. So add more water if needed.
  • Knead the dough the on a flour dusted surface for 5-10min until smooth and place the dough in a lightly floured bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and set aside for an hour or till the dough doubles in size.
  • Once risen, transfer the dough back to the work surface and punch the dough and knead for a minute more.
  • Divide the dough in 12 equal portions and roll each portion into 4”in diameter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and half a tspn of chives and roll the dough into  an oblong of 6-7” using a little flour.
  • Heat a girdle and place the rolled naan with the sesame seeds side facing downwards. Cook it on one side till it puffs slightly.
  • Turn and cook it on the other side till it puffs some more. Then, put the naan on the open flame till it turns golden on both sides.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.  Brush each naan with ghee or melted butter and serve hot immediately.    

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kashmiri dum aloo

Potatoes are something I reach out to when I am stuck with the question of "what should I cook?" These tubers are so versatile that there are so many ways to make them. And all of them are sure to turn out delicious. You can either make a simple stir fry out of them or you can turn it into a scrumptious and rich yogurt based side dish like this one.

The Kashmiri Dum aloo is perhaps one of the best and most favored dish from the Indian state of Kashmir. The dum aloo that are served in the restaurants, most of the times, are not authentic. For the authentic dum aloo, is not cooked in tomato and cashew paste. Traditionally, Kashmiri dum aloo is made by simmering deep fried potatoes in spice infused yogurt. This dish is slow cooked on a very low heat in a vessel that has it;s lid tightly sealed. This

process of cooking is called as dum cooking. During the cooking process, the spice infused yogurt is absorbed by potatoes making them almost dry. The most important step in making the dum aloo is to prick the potatoes with a skewer or a tooth pick. This ensures that the spices and flavors are completely absorbed by potatoes.

The spices used in this recipe depends on the individual taste and varies from recipe to recipe. In this version I have used dry ginger powder, kashmiri red chili powder, fennel seed powder, cumin-coriander seed powder and a pinch of garam masala. The deep, roasted flavors of the spices is balanced by the sweet yogurt and the hint of cream. Also, do not hold back on the clarified butter (ghee). For it helps in taking the flavor quotient up by a notch.

The Kashmiri Dum aloo is a great recipe if you are looking for a great recipe to satisfy your hungry stomach and tickle your taste buds. But I believe that this sweet and spicy curry does something more than that. It satiates your soul.

Kashmiri dum aloo recipe:
Preparation time: 25min
Cooking time: 15min
Serves- 4

Baby Potatoes- 12
Ghee or clarified butter- 2tbsp+1tbsp
Asafetida- A large pinch
Thick yogurt- 300ml
Dry ginger powder- 1tsp
Saunf or fennel seed powder- 1/2tsp
Kashmiri red chili powder- 1tsp
Cumin seed powder- 1/2tsp
Coriander seed powder- 1/2tsp
Turmeric- 1/4tsp
Salt- to taste
Sugar- 1/2tsp
Cumin seeds
Garam masala- 1/2tsp
Cream- 2tbspns (optional)
Coriander leaves to garnish.

  • Boil the baby potatoes in enough water till fork tender. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool. Peel the cooled potatoes, prick them with a tooth pick and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk the yogurt along with the ginger powder, fennel seed powder, cumin-coriander seed powder, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and sugar and set aside.
  • Heat two table spoons of ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add the boiled potatoes and fry till they turn golden in color. Take off the heat and set aside.
  • Add another table spoon of ghee to the same pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they turn brown, add the asafetida and fry for a few seconds.
  • Stir in the cooked fried potatoes and the yogurt mixture and cook covered for on low heat for 15-20 mins.
  • Add the garam masala and the cream. Mix well and take off the heat. 
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis, parathas or rice.
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