Monday, January 18, 2010

The Bread Baking Babes make Naan... and Dinner!

This month the Bread Baking Babes made naan, a deliciously puffy flatbread from India. Cookie Baker Lynn challenged us to make either a plain or curried version of the bread and a nice dish or dinner to go with it.
I don't need much prompting to make Indian food, it is a favourite in our house. The naan was new for me. I have made chapatti many times before and have never attempted naan. I didn't know what I was missing! It is so gloriously soft and inviting, a sensual pleasure indeed. I loved the added seasonings in this bread and will be making it again and again.

Want to bake along with us this month and earn a Bread Baking Buddy badge? Make some fabulous naan and visit Cookie Baker Lynn, our hostess for January, by January 25th with a link to your post. See her naan post for more details.

These recipes are from Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads. One recipe says makes 3 and the other says makes 6. I got 6 from the curried naan recipe that I used. I had to pop the dough back in the mixer to incorporate the raisins and chutney, but that was no problem. I loved the sweetness they added.

Curried Naan
- makes 6 naan

scant 4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1/2 oz / 15 g. package compressed fresh yeast*
1-1/4 cups water
generous 1/2 cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp mango chutney

* If you are using instant or dry yeast, reduce the quantities a little

Metric
Naan with curry (yield 6) so they are smaller although they say both here and the recipe above to roll out 25 cm naans.
500 g white flour (+ extra for dusting)
1,5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil, + extra for baking
50 g mild curry powder
15 g yeast (again fresh, so about 5 g dry)
3oo ml water
100 g raisins
3 Tbsp mango chutney

1- Put the flour, salt, oil, curry powder, yeast, and water into a bowl and mix together for 2 minutes. Tip out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable. Let rise for 30 minutes.

2- Line a baking sheet. Incorporate the golden raisins and chutney into the dough. Divide the dough into six pieces, then put on the baking sheet and let rest for 1 hour.

3- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and, using a rolling pin, flatten each piece into a circle, 25.5 cm / 10 inches in diameter. Put back on the sheet and let rest for 5 minutes.

4- Heat a skillet to medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Shallow-fry each dough until browned on both sides, then set aside to cool slightly before serving.

Plain Naan - makes 3 naan

scant 4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 oz / 15 g. package compressed fresh yeast*
water to mix
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
olive oil for frying

Metric - Naan (plain)
500 g white flour (+ extra for dusting)
1,5 tsp salt
15 g yeast (this is fresh yeast, so that would be about 5 g dry)
water (doesn't say how much here)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
olive oil for baking

1- Line a baking sheet. Put the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl and add enough water to make a soft, but not sloppy, dough. Add the seeds, then divide the dough into three pieces and put on the baking sheet. Let rest for 1 hour.

2- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and, using a rolling pin, flatten each piece into a circle, 10 inches / 25.5 cm in diameter, and let rest for 5 minutes.

3- Heat a skillet to a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Shallow-fry each naan until browned on both sides, then set aside to cool slightly before serving.

This curried naan has been Yeastspotted!

I served my naan with the January dinner from Martha Stewart Living. It was Indian in nature and seemed like perfect timing. The food plus the naan was simply delicious. My daughter was over for dinner and was thrilled to be given such a fun feast. None of these dishes are very complicated but they really deliver flavour-wise. Delish!

Shrimp Tikka Masala

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger (from 1 6 inch piece)
1 tbsp finely grated garlic
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp chilli powder
1 cup water
20 large shrimp (about 1 pound) peeled and deveined
¼ cup plain yogurt
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or a stockpot over medium heat. Cook onion until golden, about 20 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, and chilli powder, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
2. Add water and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are opaque and cooked thought, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

Toasted Coconut Rice

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
¾ tsp coarse salt
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook coconut, stirring, until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
2. Set aside 2 tbsp coconut. Stir rice into pan with remaining coconut. Add water and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Garnish with reserved coconut and the scallions.

Honey-Roasted Eggplant with Chilies

4 or 5 baby eggplants, halved, (more if tiny), or 2 regular eggplants, cut into 2-inch cubes
5 fresh green Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss eggplants with chilies, honey, and oil to coat.
2. Roast eggplants (skin sides up) and chillies on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is golden, about 20 minutes (if using cubes of eggplant, stir once every 5 to 7 minutes). Flip, and roast until eggplant softens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

I garnished the eggplant with pomegranate seeds.

I made a quick dal for my daughter who doesn't like much meat or seafood. It is made with all the seasonings and flavourings of the tikka masala, but with cooked lentils instead of shrimp.

Pistachio Brittle with Ice Cream

Vegetable oil cooking spray, for baking sheet (I used parchment instead)
½ cup shelled raw unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
Mango or vanilla ice cream

1. Coat a 13x17 rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. (I used parchment paper instead) Sift pistachios using a fine sieve to remove dust and fine pieces. Heat sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and washing sides of pan often with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming, until dark golden, about 9 minutes.
2. Stir in pistachios, and immediately pour mixture onto baking sheet. Distribute pistachios evenly using a rubber spatula. Let stand until hardened, about 15 minutes.
3. Lightly bang baking sheet on a counter to break brittle into pieces. Serve with ice cream.

I placed the ice cream and brittle on top of the little orange cakes I made earlier this week for an elegant dessert.

The Bread Baking Babes