One of my favourite pastimes (and also just learned that word isn’t spelled with two T’s) is trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends. Not much of a secret to begin with since I do it so often, so it isn’t really a surprise. Anyway. I love to cook, especially for groups of my friends. In Miami, we did it regularly on Sundays, in Draper (Utah) we did it sporadically, and here in England I’ve only done it couple times and only for the missionaries. Well this is one of those times.
So, normally I tend to theme my meals. This time I went for Asian. Pretty broad I know, but the main was Pakistani, and the side and dessert were Indian. I’ve never made curry or bread, and most desserts I’ve made are typically baked, so this was a whole new experience for me.
Since I’ve never made any of them before, I did the smart thing and checked to see exactly how long each one would take. The curry wasn’t too bad, and at first glance neither was the naan, but then I saw a 2+ hour total time and nearly shat myself. Luckily I still have a couple hours before the missionaries were to be here (since I was making it for them and for the World Cup final (huzzah for Germany winning)).
For a first time, making the naan wasn’t that bad of an experience. It was also my first time using yeast. It stinks. But that’s besides the point. I never realised how much work goes into making bread. You gotta let the yeast and water sit in a warm place to make sure it works, then after you’ve kneaded it to death, you have to let it sit covered until it rises however much.Yeah, I used a pan for my mixing bowl since I’m not privy to a full kitchen like I’m used to. One tip for the naan that I read in the comments and did was to add the kalonji (also known as nigella, onion seed, or black caraway, which I had to use) straight into the dough rather than at the end. Much better that way.
Anyway. While the dough rose, I began working on the curry. It’s called Chicken Jalfrezi. Thankfully, the dish is really easy to make. My family (especially my mom) will be surprised to read that I put onions in it and I even ate them. There’s really nothing special to say about making the curry other than, if you want an easy curry recipe, this one is a good one to try.The one thing about the curry that I wasn’t expecting was for it to stain my pan. Not like it’s a big deal, just now the metal has a greenish-yellow tinge to it.
As you can see above, the dough rose nicely. After punching it (the recipe said to. Just imagine someone you are angry at 😉 ), I pan fried it and shortly we ended up with this: And this: Yeah, don’t pay attention to the ghetto plates. You make do with what you got. The final verdict was very positive. Personally, I thought it was a bit salty, but since I don’t have a lot of salt in my diet it’s no wonder. The missionaries really liked it though.
Well I ended up having to make the kheer on Monday (my birthday). So I had the missionaries over again (not that they minded). So my kheer, which is an Indian rice pudding, didn’t quite turn out like the recipe. For starters, I somehow didn’t have cardamom. Could have sworn I wrote it on my list, but I guess not. So I had to substitute it with cinnamon. Then I added the rest of my Moroccan almond extract and some vanilla extract into the mix. Oh my goodness it was AMAZING!!! I’m sure it is great with the cardamom, but this way was so delicious. And come to find, McKeon wasn’t even a big fan of rice pudding, but trusted me that it would be good and he like it. Now that makes me feel good 🙂
So there you go. I added the recipes below (and embedded in the text), but alternately you can find the recipes on allrecipes.com (my favourite recipe website). Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comment box below. Enjoy 🙂
Indian Naan II
- Whisk the warm water with the yeast and sugar until the yeast is dissolved. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes.
- Sift flour and salt three times into a large bowl add the yeast mixture, half of the ghee and all the yogurt. Mix into a soft dough then knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough is doubled in size .
- Punch down dough then knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out into 8 inch round naans.
- Cover an oven tray with foil and grease the foil. Brush the naan with a little of the remaining ghee and sprinkle with some of the kalonji. Cook naan one at a time under a very hot grill for about 2 minutes on each side or until puffed and just browned.
- Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, and season with turmeric, chili powder and salt. Fry gently, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently and turning the chicken.
- Pour in the tomatoes with their juice, cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Uncover, and simmer for another 10 minutes to let the excess liquid evaporate.
- Add the ghee, cumin, ground coriander, ginger and cilantro, and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve the chicken pieces with sauce spooned over the top.
- Bring the coconut milk, milk and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add basmati rice, and simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the raisins, cardamom and rose water, and cook for a few more minutes. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with almonds and pistachios.