November 30, 2012

How to Make Naan

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Naan is a type of Indian bread. While it is traditionally reserved for special occasions like weddings, it's definitely a staple in Indian cuisine and is nowadays served with everyday meals. It's one of the many things I learned how to make in Shashi's cooking class - so, once again, the recipe I'm sharing here is adapted from the one she provided.
Naan (makes 1 piece)
- about 1 cup of plain white flour
- about 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt
- 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
- a pinch (approx. 1/4 teaspoon) of baking soda

OK, so when I took Shashi's class, she gave us exact measurements for the flour and yogurt in her written recipe. However, when she went to make it, she eyeballed all measurements. For example, she used one handful of flour and a dollop of yogurt (well, in her case it was curd) per piece of naan. The point is, it's the general consistency of the dough that's important, and not the exact measurements of the ingredients. When I make naan, I follow these measurements extremely roughly. Since I usually want to make about 10 pieces or so at a time (enough for my family plus maybe some leftovers?), I tend to use a whole quart of yogurt and then add a little bit of flour at a time as I knead until I get a good consistency. (Increase the measurements for sugar and baking soda - the provided measurements for those are OK to follow - accordingly, of course.)
1) Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and knead with your hand(s).
2) Once all the ingredients are mixed together, the dough should be fairly thick (it will be sticky, but it shouldn't be runny). If the dough is too runny, add more flour...and vice versa, until you get a good consistency.
3) Let the dough sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
4) Place an iron skillet over the fire.
5) Take a small chunk of dough and roll it into a ball in your hands.
6) Using a well-floured surface and rolling-pin, flatten the ball to about 1/2-1cm thick, depending on how thick your want your naan.
7) When you're done rolling out the dough, place it on the hot skillet. When bubbles start to appear, flip the naan over.
8) When bubbles start to appear on the other side, use a small towel scrunched into a ball to turn the naan on the skillet (this helps it brown).
9) Flip and repeat until it looks done - use your judgement and don't worry, it's easy to tell.
10) Remove from the skillet, let cool, and enjoy!

(11) OPTIONAL: I like to be fancy sometimes and smear melted ghee and sprinkle pieces of coriander on the finished naan :))

*To make garlic naan, simply add crushed garlic to the flour when making the dough (I like to use about 2-4 cloves per piece, depending on the size of the cloves and how strong I want the garlic to taste. Also, when being "fancy", I'll add some crushed garlic cloves to the ghee that I smear on the finished product!

Best served with your favorite Indian curry.

September 20, 2012

Mango Chutney

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Originating in India, chutney generally refers to a condiment made up of a mixture of spices, vegetables, and/or fruits. There are many varieties of chutney, including (but not limited to) coriander, mint, tamarind, yogurt, ginger, tomato, garlic, coconut...and my very very very favorite, MANGO. Even among mango chutneys there are variations. For example, the mango chutney I serve at work has more of a jelly-like consistency with chunks of mango, while the version I'm about to share with you here has more of a smooth and slightly grainy consistency.

So here it is, the long-awaited recipe for delicious mango chutney! Again, I learned this recipe in Shashi's cooking class in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. All credit goes to her
Mango Chutney
- 1 green mango (if a green mango is not available, use a yellow mango - the harder the better - and omit sugar listed below)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- a little bit of water (about 1/2 cup maybe? Add a little bit at a time to get the consistency you want)

- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Stir well.
- Enjoy with pakoras, curry, bread, and whatever else you find it goes well with!
- Best if used within 3-4 days (but will last longer if refrigerated).
On an entirely different note, since I probably won't be doing another post until after the's a birthday shout-out to one of my greatest friends, Hadas! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HADAS!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH (we are gonna have so much fun this weekeeeeeend!)