Indian accompaniments

If you’re going to serve an Indian meal, you need an array of chutneys, along with naan, rice and of course spiced masala tea!

No-Rise Naan

Makes 6 (medium-small) naan

The first time I made this, it was awesome. The 2 or 3 times since, they’ve tasted more like pretzels than naan. From looking at a pretzel recipes, I think what gives them that pretzel-y flavor is the soda-water bath. So maybe I need to skip the baking soda in this recipe & see what happens??

I found another – more authentic? – recipe for naan that calls for more dairy.

2 c bread flour (the original recipe called for 1/2 whole wheat flour which was okay; but it made naan that was a bit dense)
2 T plain yogurt
1/2 T baking powder
3/4 c warm water, divided
1/6 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nigella seeds (optional)
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped (optional)
1 T unsalted butter

Combine the yogurt, baking powder and 1/3 c of warm water in a small bowl and set aside for a minute or two.

Combine the dry ingredients, then add the yogurt mixture and remaining water. Knead to make a semi-soft dough. Place in a buttered bowl and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead again for a few minutes, followed by another 2-minute rest. (I actually let it “rest” for well over an hour before cooking it, and it was great).

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Roll out tennis ball-sized pieces of dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 10 inches.

You can also stretch the dough to the right shape with your fingers, kinda like tossing a pizza crust.

Put the bread on the hot griddle until you get a few bubbles on top, then flip. Total cooking time is about 2 minutes.

I experimented with freezing the dough and it works pretty well. But I think it would be better to let the dough not just defrost but also “rise” a little before shaping and baking it.

Yogurt Cilantro Chutney

Puree 1/4 c yogurt, 3/4 c cilantro, 1 T fresh lime juice and 2 small green Thai chiles in a blender or food processor until smooth, then stir in remaining 3/4 c yogurt. Salt to taste.

Another version that is spicier and without the dairy calls for lots of cilantro, chilies to taste, ginger, garlic and just a single squeeze of lemon juice. It also calls for 1/2t chaat masala. If you don’t have that, add 1/4t cumin and a squeeze of lime juice. Blend with water if necessary.

Tamarind Chutney

This is my favorite dipping sauce in an Indian restaurant. The recipe I found calls for tamarind pulp;

1/2t Panch Phoran (equal parts cumin seeds, black cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds; pinch of fenugreek seeds)
2t oil
1/2c water
1/4 tamarind paste
1/2c sugar
1/2t salt
pinch of red chili flakes
1/2t ginger powder
1t vinegar

Toast panch phoran in the oil for a moment. Add water and bring to a boil with sugar & tamarind. Simmer for 2-3 mins. Add ginger, salt & chili flakes and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add vinegar and cook another 30 seconds. Strain it to remove the whole seeds before cooling & storing.

Spiced Masala Tea

Makes 4 1/2 cups

Boil 4 cups water and pour over 6 black tea bags and 5 crushed pods of green cardamom. Stir in 1/2 c evaporated milk and 5 t sugar.

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