I was 24 years old the first time I tried Indian food. It had goat in it, if I recall. I never ate any ethnic food growing up, unless Olive Garden counts as ethnic. Now that I’m getting older I’ve really developed a taste for spicy, flavorful, layered food and Indian’s quickly become one of my favorites. I say “one of” because I would literally inject Pad Thai directly into my arteries if that were possible.
I’ve tried to make all kinds of exotic foods at home but in the long run I’ve kind of decided they’re not really worth it. You have to go buy a bunch of specialty ingredients at a store across town and unless you’ve got 60 years of experience perfecting the dish it never turns out as well as the restaurant’s next door. So I found a shortcut.
Dean and Deluca sells these incredible jarred Indian curry sauces by Maia Kaimal. All you’re tasked with is cutting up some meat, making some rice and heating it all up. It’s pretty foolproof. Lately I’ve been trying my hand at naan which is basically Indian pita bread and some fruit chutney, too.
The moral of the story is: go and buy one (or twelve) of these jars. Whip up your own naan and chutney and exclaim you Make Indian Food at Home! You’re a rockstar.
makes about 14 pieces
original recipe from AllRecipes.com
1 (.25 oz.) package dry active yeast
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg, beaten
1.5 tsp salt
4.5 cups bread flour
2 tbsp. melted butter
makes about 1 cup
2 ripe mangoes, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar (white wine or red wine vinegar work, too)
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
about 1.5 cups water
1. Start by dissolving the yeast with the warm naan water in a large bowl, about 10-15 minutes or until foamy. Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, and salt and add the bread flour bit by bit until combined. Dump the dough on a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes. It will start off flaky and slightly sticky in places but should be smooth and elastic when you’re done. Mold the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled/sprayed glass bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot (like under a light or on top of the dryer) to rise for about an hour. The dough will nearly double in size.
2. After an hour, punch the dough down (no really, punch it!) and knead for just a minute. Pinch off golf ball-sized pieces and roll smooth, placing them on a tray. Cover with the cloth and allow to rise again, about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mix all the chutney ingredients together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, just simmering, for about 30-40 minutes until thick and reduced. If the chutney gets too thick while cooking simply add more water and reduce the heat a bit. You can finish the chutney early and allow to sit before you eat – just add a spoonfull of water and stir before serving to loosen it.
4. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Once risen, roll the dough balls into flat disks about 1/4″ thick. Use a brush to butter one side of each disk then place on the grill – I usually cook four at a time. Allow to cook until well-marked underneath and bubbling on top, sort of like a pancake, about 2 minutes. Flip the naan and butter the grilled side, then cook about 2 minutes more. Continue until all naan are made.