Again, with the late posting. I swear it’s the weather. We had a beautiful April – sunshiney and warm enough and it opened up all the promises of spring and summer to come. May, however has been anything but. Dreary, cold – I had to bring all of my spring plantings in for an early May frost – and the days of sunshine have been only hours at a time in a week of rain. I know plants like rain, but even they need to dry out at this point. Needless to say, it gets you down.
So, this month’s challenge was coriander. I had some whole coriander leftover from my summer and fall pickling, but to tell you the truth I hadn’t used it since. Some Googling revealed its use in a ton of Indian dishes. Not to mention that ever since Bend It Like Beckham, I’ve wanted to try an aloo gobi. Warm and nourishing vegetarian food – just what you need when the weather gets you down.
One head of cauliflower, broken down into medium florets
Three small potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 half onion, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon dried ginger or one half inch fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon red chile flake
Heat a heavy bottom skillet or pan over medium heat. If you have whole spices, it makes a world of difference to toast them and grind them yourself. I use my toaster oven for this, but you could also use a pan on the stove. Heat coriander, cumin, peppercorns and red chile flake until fragrant. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to break down. I really like the mortar and pestle for indian cooking – it both seems therapeutic and the food really responds to coarser spices.
Once the spices are ground, add some olive oil or other neutral oil to your skillet and add the onions, garlic and ginger until the onions cook down a bit. Keep an eye on it, make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the potatoes and spices next, and make sure everything is coated. Add a half cup of water and cover. Check every 5-10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are almost done (i.e. less than fork tender). At this point add the cauliflower and cover again. Keep an eye on it until the cauliflower and potatoes are done to your liking. I like my cauliflower with a little bit of a bite. Serve with naan for a delicious, warming meal.
Adapted from Budget Bytes (Thanks Olivia!)
One packet of dry active yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2.5 – 3 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
1 large egg
Proof your yeast with the warm water and sugar in a small bowl for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, mix the yogurt/sour cream, egg and canola oil together. Once yeast is proofed (you see little bubbles forming) add it to the wet ingredients. Add it to 1 cup of the flour and salt. Mix, then add half a cup of flour in at a time until the dough is no longer wet or shaggy. My dough ended up 2.5 cups of flour.
Roll it out and knead it for a few minutes. I like to knead mine in the same bowl in the beginning until its workable. You will need to use more flour so it does not stick to the counter. Once it is no longer sticky, let it rest in a warm spot for 45 minutes. We turned off our heat in expectation of a warm May and have been too stubborn to turn it back on, so I had to let the bread proof in my oven. I turned the oven to 170° (its lowest setting) then let it drop to 125 or so based on my oven thermometer. I covered the dough with a wet kitchen towel and closed the door. 45 minutes later – perfectly proofed.
Real naan is baked on the side of a tandoori clay oven – until I get one of those in my kitchen my cast iron skillet will have to do. Any heavy bottomed pan will do the trick. Preheat it over medium (no higher) and brush with canola oil. Tear the dough into 7-8 pieces and roll into balls. Roll each one out just before its time to cook. Roll it out quite thin – about 1/4 of an inch. Keep an eye on it, but each bread takes about 2 minutes per side to brown and quickly gets darker after that. Best brushed with a little bit of melted (unsalted) butter, some salt and some fresh chopped parsley.
PS: I’ll have you guys know that I wrote out the entire naan recipe using ‘flower’ instead of flour. Terrible. I blame cauliflower. But really, no excuse.