- 2 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2½-3 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 large egg
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top. At that point, stir in the oil, yogurt and egg until evenly combined.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, add the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour a half cup at a time until you can no longer stir it with a spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups later).
- At that point, turn the ball of dough out onto a well-floured counter top. Knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. I ended up using about 3 cups of flour total. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky.
- Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 45 minutes). After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 5 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself until the top is smooth and round.
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Working with one ball at a time, roll it out until it is about ¼ inch thick or approximately 8 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the underside is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well.
Saag Paneer (Spinach with Indian Cheese) (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/saag-paneer-spinach-with-indian-cheese-recipe.html)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large green serrano chile, finely chopped (seeds removed if you don’t like it spicy!)
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred until smooth
Paneer (Homemade Indian Cheese) Ingredients:
- 8 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed, see Cook’s Note*
- In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons oil. Gently, drop in the cubes of paneer (see below) and gently toss, taking care not to break the cubes if you’re using the homemade kind. Let the cubes marinate while you get the rest of your ingredients together and prepped.
- Thaw the spinach in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish, 5 minutes on high, then puree in a food processor until smooth.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms. In a couple of minutes give the pan a toss; each piece of paneer should be browned on one side. Fry another minute or so, and then remove the paneer from the pan onto a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chile. Now here’s the important part: saute the mixture until it’s evenly toffee-coloured, which should take about 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step – this is the foundation of the dish! If you feel like the mixture is drying out and burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Add the garam masala, coriander and cumin. If you haven’t already, sprinkle a little water to keep the spices from burning. Cook, stirring often, until the raw scent of the spices cook out, and it all smells a bit more melodious, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach. Add a little salt and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and cook about 5 minutes with the lid off.
- Turn the heat off. Add the yogurt, a little at a time to keep it from curdling. Once the yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, add the paneer. Turn the heat back on, cover and cook until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve.
*Cook’s Note: Paneer is very easy to make at home, and my recipe is quick, easy, and delicious. I also think homemade has a better texture than anything store-bought. If you’d like to buy it, this cheese is available in better supermarkets as well as specialty Asian markets.
Paneer (Homemade Indian Cheese) Directions:
- Line a large colander with a large double layer of cheesecloth, and set it in your sink.
- In a large wide pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom (a nonstick pot works really well for this purpose). This will take a little while so be patient!
- Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low. Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds (white milk solids) and whey (the greenish liquid) separate. Don’t fret, this is perfect! *Cook’s Note: If the milk doesn’t separate juice some more lemons and add another tablespoon or two. Boost the heat again and the milk should separate. Stir in a motion that gathers the curds together rather than breaks them up.
- Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavor. Don’t worry if a hint of the lemon remains because the spices that coat the paneer will completely cover the lemon.
- Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey. Tie the cheesecloth to your kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for about 5 minutes.
- Twisting the ball to compact the cheese into a block, place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side (this will ensure your block of cheese is nice and smooth!) and set another plate on top. Weigh the second plate down with cans of beans or a heavy pot. Move to the refrigerator and let it sit about 20 minutes.
Bhurtha (Indian Eggplant) (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Indian-Eggplant—Bhurtha/)
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 large tomato – peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional garnish)
- Preheat the oven’s broiler. Rub oil on the outside of the eggplant, or coat with cooking spray. Place under the broiler and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin is blistering off, about 30 minutes. Turn as needed for even cooking. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop the flesh out of the skin. Discard the skin; chop up the flesh, and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, and let them crackle for a few seconds and turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; cook and stir until tender. I don’t let the onions get very brown. Stir in the tomato, and season with turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes.
- Place the eggplant pieces in the skillet, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes so some of the moisture evaporates. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired and serve.
Making the naan was very messy – there was flour everywhere! Even though this was a long and kind of complicated recipe, it was really worth it. Everything was really delicious!!