Monday, February 28, 2011

it's a naan-issue

So ever since studying in London last year I've been really into Indian food.  Curries are hugeee in England and I've even heard that chicken tikka masala is the nation's favorite dish.  There are so many different dishes and I try to have something different every time I go out, whether on Brick Lane in East London or on Curry Row in the East Village.  However, I do have to admit that, when I don't have time or money to head downtown for a meal, I don't mind resorting to a bottle of korma or tikka masala from the grocery store (bottled thai curries, like green or panang, are great too!) I've only recently started to experiment with making my own curry meals, and I'm finally starting to have stock of all the ingredients like garam masala, tumeric, and curry paste.  I've made this Thai recipe in the past, and it actually came out pretty good.  I've been eyeing Jamie Oliver's Rogan Josh recipe now since I got his book for Christmas-- maybe I'll make it soon.
Anyway, last week I made a bottle of Patak's tikka masala with chicken, peppers and onions.  I felt like I was taking the easy way out, so I decided to take a crack at making my own naan.  Naan is a baked flatbread that is eaten all over south Asia and is popular in curry houses all over the world.  I've never used yeast before or made my own bread, so even though most of my meal came out of a bottle, this was an undertaking of its own.  I used this recipe which had good reviews on  I followed all of the instructions except I also added chopped garlic and a bit of garam masala to the dough to add some flavor.  I left the dough in the fridge during my night class because supposedly cooler temperatures slow the rising process down by three times.  After class I punched the dough down and kneaded it for a bit, and separated and cooked the naan on the highest heat my oven could crank out for about 3 minutes on each side.
During this process, I was also making the curry and chicken on the stove, and it looked like a hurricane hit my tiny kitchen.  My smoke detector went off like 8 million times from the high heat of the oven, and I was afraid that the building alarms would start going off and I would be just as bad as those girls down the hall who cooked a steak and had the building evacuated last semester.  BUT, I was actually quite happy with my naan in the end!  It wasn't the best naan I have ever had, and it was a bit dense in the middle (I think because I screwed up the dough process somehow,) but it was tasty and complimented my tikka masala really well.
I have a really good Chicken Korma recipe that I will put up soon!  Charlie always makes it and in December we made it for Emily and Tommy at my apartment.  It's quite saucy and would go great with naan; maybe next time I'll try to make both from scratch at once!


Anonymous said...

I just went to a great Indian lunch buffet in the NYC on Friday with my friend from London. But I miss Brick Lane so much. The best part was heckling with the waiters outside to get a good deal. One time I got a curry entree, one appetizer, naan and a glass of wine for 5 pounds. So delicious. I wish Indian food in the city was that affordable!

Mary Coyle said...

I cannot believe you made your own naan! How do you find the time to tackle such culinary feats? The pictures are awesome!

Elspeth said...

Kate-- I know, Brick Lane was the best! I've been back every time I've been back to London.. I always bring friends to Panna II in NYC on 1st and 6th-- it's a huge experience, you should check it out!

Mary-- Thanks! I try to cook once a week, and trust me, naan was not easy ha! hopefully next time it will come out a bit better!

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