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Monday, March 24, 2014

vegetarian curry and wholegrain buttered naan

Vegetarian Curry and Wholegrain Buttered Naan

I like my meat but occasionally we just have a vegetarian night. Curry is also a fabulous way to use up things that you otherwise don't know what to do with, or don't particularly care for on their own. Kale is one of those things for me. I don't mind it, and I love all the nutrients, but I wish it weren't so bitter! So I curried it for dinner this evening.

Start with preparing naan dough. I used this buttered naan recipe. I used entirely home ground whole grain flour, about 1/2 soft white wheat and 1/2 a blend of hard red and hard white wheat, and it turned out beautifully. So I say with confidence, it works no matter what type of flour you want! Home milled flour tends to be the least stable, for obvious reasons -- it has not been stripped of things to make it shelf stable. This recipe also works well if you halve it. It may be just me, but some recipes don't turn out as well if made in double or halved quantities to the original. Naan? Fab as a four piece batch.

(In case the embedded link ever flops, as has happened to pages I've linked before, here is a tidy copy-paste, photo-less, of the naan recipe and destructables for you. You're welcome.) 

Naan Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour or 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup hot water (but not boiling, just hot tap water)
3/4 teaspoonactive dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1 cup greek yogurt
melted butter for brushing (may use olive oil)
fresh cilantro or other herbs for topping

Naan Instructions:
  1. In a medium size bowl, or 4 cup glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in the warm water (about 105 degree F). Add the dry yeast to the warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth and rise.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda and baking powder to a large mixing bowl.
  3. When the yeast is foamy and smells like bread add the warm milk and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients right into the middle of the dry and begin mixing the wet with dry using a wooden spatula. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to finish mixing. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. It should be sticky, but should form a ball and be soft. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place 1 hour or if not using right away overnight in the fridge.
  4. When ready to cook divide the dough into 8 equal balls and using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oval shape. It should be about 6-8 inches long and about 1/4-inch thick, but no thinner. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.
  5. Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you want a hot pan). Brush both sides of the naan with melted butter and if desired sprinkle on any spices you like such as cumin and garlic. Place the naan on the hot skillet, cover with a lid and bake for 1 minute, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Brush with a bit more butter if desired, then sprinkle with a little kosher salt, fresh cilantro (I used cilantro) or other herbs. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve. These are best eaten fresh, but will keep in a ziplock bag for a few days or in the freezer.
Starting the curry:
Chop a large onion in half and then slice thinly into semicircles.
Mince 6 cloves garlic.
Throw it all into a hot pan with several Tbs coconut oil. Fry up until mostly clarified.

Add homemade tikka curry powder, about 3 rounded Tbs, and warm on medium heat into the oil and cooking alliums.

Add chopped veg and cooked beans.
1 head purple kale
1 head broccoli
1 fennel bulb and greens
2 cups cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans), or just open a can if you have some in the cupboard and rinse before adding.

Stir things up a bit, and add 4 cups (1 quart) homemade soup stock and a can of coconut milk. Pop a lid on, turn the heat to medium-low, and keep the curry ticking on a low simmer for the next 30 minutes or until the kale is quite soft.

While the curry is doing it's thing, get back to your naan. Use plenty of salted butter. I used dried thyme and oregano from my garden instead of fresh cilantro, and it was still delicious.

Everything should be finished cooking at roughly the same time, and if the curry is done first, just turn off the heat and leave the lid on. It will only love you for it. Curry always seems to improve with sitting, and leftovers are sometimes even better than the first go around! Do taste the curry 5 minutes before serving and decide whether or not it wants a pinch or two of salt. Give it time to flavor through before serving. I have a strong distaste for providing salt on the dining table and prefer to make sure things are as I think they should be before food is set on any dish.

We didn't eat the very saucy curry with rice, as I figured the naan provided carbs enough, and we greatly enjoyed dipping the warm bread in the gravy.

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