January 7, 2013 by Meg G.
Mmmmm. Naan. My love for naan is serious. (Note the order of the title of this post.) I’ve been known to eat three pieces before dinner even arrives.
Back in Providence, we had three or four great Indian restaurants to choose from, all of which were within a mile from our apartment! Worcester is not exactly booming with Indian restaurants, so we’ve been making it at home quite a bit. (This is helped by a generous assortment of Penzeys spices that my dad gifted us.)
The impetus for this particular recipe, believe it or not, was some leftover canned tomato sauce (*gasp* – don’t judge us). Last week, in need of a quick dinner, we made some (veggie) meatball subs and used about 3 tablespoons of a jar of sauce, which was now sitting sadly in the fridge without a purpose. Heather, always resourceful, decided that a tomato curry recipe and homemade naan would solve the leftover problem. Brilliant!
First things first – the naan. We found this really basic recipe for whole wheat naan over at Cheeky Kitchen.
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups very warm water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2-3 cups whole wheat pastry flour + and additional cup or so for kneading
- nonstick olive oil cooking spray
- In a large bowl, combine the water and yeast. Whisk in the maple syrup and allow mixture to sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Whisk in the salt.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in just enough flour to form a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl. *Apparently this is a technical baking description that I was unaware of. We started with 2 cups and then gradually added the third cup until yes – indeed – the dough came together in a ball and began to pull away from the bowl, stick to the spoon, and “follow it around the bowl.”
- Sprinkle more flour, if needed onto the dough if needed to keep it from sticking while you knead it lightly in the bowl. The dough will be very sticky.
- Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
When ready to cook:
- Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Coat the pan with olive oil or butter. (We used butter, but olive oil will make it vegan.)
- Generously cover a clean work surface with flour, then pull the dough off in golf-ball sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough in the flour, then use a rolling pin to roll it about 1/4″ in thickness.
- Transfer dough to your hot skillet one at a time and cook until golden brown – about 60-90 seconds. Then flip with a pair of tongs and allow the other side of your naan to cook until golden brown – about 60 seconds more.
- Keep warm while you finish cooking the rest. Makes about 8 pieces.
We were generally pleased with the way this came out; however, it needs some improvement. First, it was much thicker and denser than I was hoping. I put on my trusty new rolling pin spacers, so I know that I actually rolled it to 1/4″ thickness. Perhaps I’ll try 1/8″ next time? Second, there really isn’t much flavor, which is why we opted for butter in the pan rather than olive oil. There are a ton of flavorful varieties of naan out there – cilantro, chili, ginger, honey, etc. We’re looking forward to trying some different recipes in the future, but this was a good first try and a nice addition to the curry. Speaking of which, here comes the curry!
Tomato Curry with Spinach and Tofu, inspired by this recipe from Cupcakes and Kale
- 1 package cubed extra firm tofu
- about 2 Tbs olive oil, separated
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- sea salt, to your preference (no more than 1tsp)
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tsp curry powder (we used Maharaja from Penzeys)
- about 2 cups tomato sauce (or puréed tomatoes)
- about 1 cup of frozen peas
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 2/3 cup coconut milk (a little less than 1 can)
- 1 lb of fresh spinach
- handful of toasted cashews for garnish
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When hot, add tofu and cook until golden, flipping the cubes from time to time. Set aside the tofu and return pan to medium heat. Add another tablespoon of oil if needed/desired.
- Sauté onion until soft and translucent. Add cumin seeds and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the mustard seeds, salt & pepper, curry powder, tomato sauce, peas, and tofu.
- Stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the water, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low again and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, increase heat to medium and then continue to cook it for another 5-6 minutes and it begins to boil.
- Add in the washed and trimmed greens and stir until wilted.
- Garnish with cashews and serve with naan and rice, if desired.
Enjoy in front of a warm fire and an episode of Wheel of Fortune. ; )