Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Naan Bread and Chicken Madras

I love naan bread. I love Indian food. So does M.

I made a huge batch of delicious chicken madras the other day and froze some. Tonight we're busting it out for dinner #2, and because I can't seem to eat a dinner without working for it, I decided naan was in order. I made naan about two years ago with a yeast-based recipe, but the one I tried today is yeast-free and relies on baking powder for its puff.

Here's what you need (From BBC Food):

For the dough
250g/9oz plain flour
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
110-130ml/3½-4½fl oz milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

1 tbsp butter, melted, to serve

1. For the dough, sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.
2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Slowly mix together the dough by working from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges of the 'well', to make a smooth, soft dough. Knead well for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.
3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Then knock the dough back and form into five balls.
4. Preheat the grill to medium and place a heavy baking sheet on the upper shelf of the grill to heat.
5. Roll the dough balls out quite thinly, ideally in a teardrop shape, but really this is just aesthetic. Sprinkle over your chosen topping and press into the surface of the dough. Place the naans onto the hot baking sheet and grill for just 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Brush with butter and serve hot.

My dough is currently sitting for its hour rest right now. A few minutes before dinner, I'll pop them on my baking stone for a few minutes and tell you how they turn out.

Edit: They turned out pretty good. I would cook them at hotter than the 400F I did this time, and for less time. Also, I would poke holes in them with a fork to release some of the air, as they got pretty puffy.

Here's my chicken madras recipe:

2 chicken breasts or equivalent amount of other boneless, skinless chicken, in cubes (Optional! You can use tofu, beef, just have chickpeas, etc!)
4tbs Patak's madras curry paste (yes, yes, it's cheating but it's tasty) or to taste.
2 medium onions, diced
1 green or red pepper, chopped
1.5 c chicken or veggie stock
1 large potato, skin on, diced
1 c chickpeas (optional)
2 c chopped fresh spinach (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1 tbs oil

1. In a large cast-iron skillet or deep-sided pan, heat the oil on medium or medium high (medium for cast-iron, medium high for others). Add the chicken and brown on all sides.

2. Add the Patak's paste, the potato, and the onions and fry until onions are soft and everything is coated in paste.

3. Add the tomatoes and the broth, the pepper and the chickpeas, if using. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Remember to check it every once in a while and scrape the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the spinach, stir, and serve with basmati rice (I cook mine with peas and butter), and the naan you made from the above recipe. I like yoghurt with mine, because I'm a spice wimp. :)

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