Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homemade Naan

My husband and I make a fantastic team.

Every year, we give a talk at our diocesan marriage preparation retreat about communication and commitment in our own relationship. We mainly talk about the challenges we face in our own daily communication and what strides we have made in our almost-six-years-of-marriage to overcome them. Our personalities differ in so many ways but we share two very large, personality flaws: we are both incredibly stubborn and HATE to admit we're wrong. This has led to quite a bit of head-butting in our relationship. However, we are also incredibly committed to both God and one another which is why we make a pretty dynamic duo. As we stand up in front of all these newly engaged couples giving this witness, I can't help but look at Paul and think of how incredibly lucky I am to have such a fantastic, virtuous, talented man as my soul mate. He's the peanut butter to my jelly. The cake to my frosting. The hummus to my veggies. You get the idea.

But in all seriousness, Paul is a pretty awesome best friend and husband. We have so many activities that we enjoy doing together and preparing a great meal is one of them. Last week, Paul was in the mood for some Indian food. We both crave Indian food from time to time and love to cook it at home together. The kids were acting pretty tired (early bedtime!) and it had been a rainy, cold day so a large pot of curry sounded pretty awesome. And what is a pot of curry without some warm pieces of naan to dip and scoop up all that delicious sauce? Paul and I have made curry and naan so many times together that we have the process down to a science.

Ignore my crazy hair. The humidity was insane.

First, I make the dough and we let it rise while we play with the kids/get them ready for bed. After the kids are in bed, I shape the dough into balls and cover them with a towel while he prepares the oven and the cast-iron skillet. Then, I roll/stretch each ball into a rough circle and then toss it to Paul who steams/cooks them in the hot pan. When the naan is flipped and cooked on both sides, I open the oven, Paul pops the cooked naan into the oven to stay warm and we repeat the process. It's a bit of a pain to cook the naan if you don't have two sets of hands working with it, but luckily Paul enjoys it. It really tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store. In fact, last time we dined at the local Indian restaurant, Paul told me that he thought our naan tasted better than theirs - a high compliment!

After all the naan is cooked, we pile bowls full of hot basmati rice and spoon our curry of choice over the top - whether it be Chicken Tikka, Korma, or Makhani - and curl up on the couch together to enjoy the meal. It makes for a cozy date night at home.

Homemade Naan
adapted from Entertaining Magazine

1/2 cup ice water
1/3 cup plain, whole milk yogurt (no substitute)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

In measuring cup or small bowl, combine water, yogurt, 3 tablespoons oil, and egg yolk. Process flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined. With processor running, slowly add water mixture. Process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.

Add salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Fold partially risen dough over itself 8 times by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle, turning bowl 90 degrees after each fold. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding, turning, and rising one more time, for a total of three 30-minute rises.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape into small balls. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 200 degrees with a bowl or pie plate on the inside. Get out a cast-iron skillet and a lid that will fit over the top. Preheat the cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Set out a small ramekin filled with water.

Roll out one piece of naan into a 8-inch circle (roughly). Sprinkle some water in the hot pan to create steam and then quickly flip the rolled out piece of dough into the pan. Quickly sprinkle with more water and then cover the pan. Let the bread cook until it starts to bubble and is browned on the underside. This normally takes about 1-2 minutes. Do not let it burn! It may char a bit, but that's ok - flavor! Flip the naan, recover the pan and let cook an additional 30-60 seconds or until it is browned and cooked on the other side. Transfer the finished bread to the warmed plate in the oven and cover loosely with a damp cloth. Repeat the whole process of rolling, steaming, and cooking with the remaining pieces of dough.

Serve warm naan with curry of choice!

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