Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Whole Wheat Naan (Indian Leavened Flat Bread)

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 28, 2015

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Naan as anyone who has made a trip to an Indian restaurant knows is an Indian leavened flat bread (most Indian breads are unleavened).  Given their high cost at the grocery store, I decided that I would try my hand at making these at home.  I found a recipe that uses Indian whole wheat (atta) flour at a website called Monsoon Spice.  While atta  is  technically a whole wheat flour, this variety of wheat has been bred over millennia to have very little bran and thus a relatively high glycemic index.   Regular whole wheat is not a great option for naans either since it is  tough-tasting and not at all delicate like a naan, typically made with all-purpose flour, is supposed to be.  I had read some place that whole wheat pastry flour, which is whole wheat flour ground superfine,  was a very good whole-wheat flour to use in breads, pizzas and even pastries (!) so I decided to give it a shot.  I was very pleased with the naans this produced, very supple and delicate.  So here is the recipe with a small number of adaptations from the original.

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 Ingredients:
2½ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I am guessing that this can also be substituted by whole what pastry flour)
¼ cup warm milk
¾ – 1 cup Yogurt (I used 1 cup)
1 packet Yeast
½ tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Baking Powder
1-1½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Oil
Warm water for kneading

Flour for dusting and rolling the naan.

Ghee/butter for frying and for brushing on top.

Toppings: anything you like. I used: Nigella seeds (kalonji), garlic & chopped cilantro.

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Method:

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk (110˚F).
2. Mix flours, baking powder and salt.  Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, slowly add  yogurt, oil and yeast. Add little warm water as needed. Continue to knead till you get a soft pliable dough, about 7-10 min.   You can also make your dough in a high-end blender or food processor or you can knead by hand.
3. Make a smooth round dough ball and coat with a thin film of oil.  Cover the dough with a cheese cloth or plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours till the dough doubles  in size.  I turn my oven on at the lowest setting for 5 min and then turn it off and let the dough rise in the oven.
4. Punch down the dough to release air and divide it into 8-12 equal  sized balls.

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Cooking the Naan: 

There are several ways to cook the naan: in the oven, on a grill and on a griddle on a stove top.   The recipes for all of these are available on various websites.   I used a Lodge cast-iron griddle on the stove as follows:
1. Heat the tawa/griddle till quite hot.

2.  While the griddle is heating, roll or stretch the dough into a round or tear-drop shaped flat bread about 1/4 inch thick.   Sprinkle your toppings and gently press them into the dough using a  rolling pin.  I pressed a few Nigella seeds on both sides.
3. Flip the naan and sprinkle a little water and  place the water side down on the heated griddle. Cook for a minute or so  until you see a few bubbles form and  then flip. The naan should have brown blisters/spots on the side that was down.

4.  Cook the second side for a minute or so as well.  If desired,  smear some ghee/butter to the top of the naan before serving.

Serve with curries, pickles or any Indian meal.  Naans also make a great pizza base.

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Flavoring/Tempering the ghee (tadka): Optional

As an alternative to smearing ghee alone on your cooked naan, you can temper the ghee with nigella seeds, minced garlic and cilantro and smear this concoction on the naan right before serving.  Simply heat 2 tbs of ghee in a small sauce pan, add the nigella seeds, minced garlic and chopped cilantro till the ghee turns aromatic, a matter of few seconds.  Take the ghee off the fire and your schmear is ready.

Posted in Asian, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Indian Food, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hot and Sour Soup

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 17, 2015

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This hot and sour soup by Boston chef Joanne Chang is the best I have had  It is super quick and a very good weeknight meal.  I made some changes to it, mainly because of what I had on hand.  The only major changes I made were to increase the garlic, add sautéed cabbage, reduce the vinegar and omit the salt.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish (I omitted because I did not have it on hand)
  • 8 ounces ground pork  (you can use ground chicken or omit entirely)
  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth (I used Better than bullion).
  • 1 pound firm tofu cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Half a head of cabbage shredded finely (the original recipe calls for 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I omitted, seems unnecessary)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste  (the original recipe calls for 2/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • White or black pepper for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish

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METHOD:

  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tbs of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally till the pork is browned. Break up the pork as you stir.
  • Remove the pork etc from the pan.  Add the remaining vegetable oil to the sauce pan and heat up.  Saute the cabbage with a bit of salt at high heat, 3-4 min. till cabbage wilts and browns.  Do not add too much water into the pan along with the cabbage or the cabbage will steam and taste mushy.
  • Add the stock  to the cabbage, then add the tofu and pork along with the garlic, ginger and scallions.

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  • In a small bowl, mix sugar (if using), vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and add to the soup.
  •  Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup and adjust the flavors.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallion and cilantro.  For a more substantial meal,  serve on rice.
  • Instead of adding the cabbage to the soup,  I think it would work really well as a garnish.

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Hot Pepper Jam/Thai Chili sauce)

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 19, 2015

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I love the Asian chili garlic sauce because it goes with everything from a samosa, to noodles, to empanadas to a marinade for chicken or fish.  It can make your whole day if you have this around.  I have looked at a lot of these recipes and wanted to make one that did not have dried shrimp (I am allergic) or fish sauce.  A common complaint about the home-made versions is that using corn starch just not give it the gel-like constancy of the commercially available sauces.  To sort this problem out, I liberally adapted this recipe from the hot pepper jam recipe on the Kraft Sure-Jell website.  I use only hot peppers,  I added salt and I drastically reduced the amount of sugar.  With the pectin being boiled with the peppers, this is a one-pot deal and literally takes 5-10 min to be ready.

I always make jams in small batches so I don’t have to be bothered with canning.  I freeze whatever I don’t use and the frozen stuff seems to be good for a year or so.  But if you make a larger batch, please play it safe and learn how to can from any number of websites.

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Ingredients:

1 cup  chopped red, hot peppers (I used cascabels,  but fresnos, serranos or jalapeños are other choices; if you cannot tolerate heat, substitute some of these peppers for red bell peppers).

1/2 cup cider vinegar  (This really is part of the flavor so try to stick with this vinegar. I would guess that if you needed to substitute this, the best option would be rice vinegar or some other mild vinegar).

1 pkg. powder Fruit Pectin (I used Sure-Jell)

Salt to taste

2 cups sugar (or a little bit less)

Method:

1. Coarsely pulse your peppers in the food processor and place them in a medium sized pan. Add vinegar and salt. Stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil  on high heat, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

3. Taste and adjust the salt.

3. Ladle into clean jars.   Let the jars sit on the counter for several hours.  You will get 2 jars out of this.  Put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.

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Granola

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 28, 2015

IMG_0892 I frequently mean to make granola and it seems relatively easy.  It’s the ingredient list that is daunting and causes me to move on to other dishes.  This time I decided to go with what I had by liberally adapting a granola recipe (Melissa Clark) from the New York Times.  I reduced the amount of oatmeal, swapped most of the maple syrup with honey and changed the type and the proportion of nuts based on  what I had on hand.  I omitted the dried fruits entirely (these are basically candy) and did not find this to be a glaring omission. IMG_0891

 

Ingredients:

1.  2 cups oatmeal (I used McCann’s quick cooking oatmeal).

2. Total seeds (3.5 cups) as follows:

a. 1 cup pistachios

b.. 1/2 cup cup slivered, blanched almonds

c. 1 cup sesame seeds.

d. 1 cup pecans

3. 1 cup desiccated, shredded coconuts (flakes would have been nicer).

4. 1/2 cup olive oil

5.  Sweetners: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar

a.  1/2 cup honey

b/ 1/4 cup maple syrup

c. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6. 1 tsp Diamond kosher salt (1/2 tsp is using regular table salt or other kosher salt)

7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground IMG_0893

Method

1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.

2.  Coat the bottom of a 18×12″ jelly roll pan with oil (I regretably did not do this).

3. Mix all ingredients and spread evenly in the pan.

4. Cook, uncovered for ~45 min (start checking at 30 min, when the granola tastes toasty and starts to clump).

5. Allow granola to cool for a 10-15 min in the pan.  Break into lumps before the granola hardens further and store in an air-tight container.

Note:  You could add dried fruits (apricots, raisins) to this, but should do it after the baking process.

Posted in baked, Breakfast, Brunch, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thai Beef Curry

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 15, 2015

IMG_0879I have been working on a grant proposal for the last month and today is my first day off.  I was looking for a meal that would make me forget about the take-outs and the pantry meals that we have been consuming for the past month.  But of course I have not been to the grocery store yet.  So I became very fixated on producing a Thai style beef curry with what I had on hand.  I wanted a Massaman curry, but only had Panang paste at home. So that is what I used but added some spices that I think go into Massaman.  What resulted was pretty darn good and tasted like a cross between Massaman, Panang and the Indonesian Rendang.  I am writing it down before I forget.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 lb beef chuck, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 sized pieces

2 Red potatoes cut into 1″ to 1.5″ pieces (leave the skin on)

1 large onion sliced onions (cut the onion in half, place it cut side down and slice top to bottom, not too thin)

1 can coconut milk, full fat (According to the latest,  Coconut fat is now a desired food item because it contains medium chain fatty acids!)

1/4-1/3  cup Massaman or Panang paste (I used the Mae Ploy brand)

4 black cardamoms (available at any Indian Grocery Store, use regular cardamoms if you can’t find these)

1 stick cinnamon

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

3- tbs. brown sugar, adjust to taste

3 tbs. fish sauce

Salt if needed

Water

1 tsp Thai basil dry (A bun of fresh basil would be better)

A handful of cilantro, minced

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Method:

1. Place an oven rack in the lower third of your oven and pre-heat to 325˚F.  Your rack should be low enough to fit the pot you use to cook the curry.

2.  Heat an oven-safe heavy bottomed pot (a 6 qt Dutch oven works best) on medium high.

3.  Remove the fatty, solid part  (fat) of the coconut milk from the can and heat in the pot.

4. When the fat has melted,  add the cardamom and cinnamon and about 1/4-1/3 cup of Panang or Massaman curry paste (this is super hot, so adjust to taste.  Adding to little will make a flavorless curry).

5. Add the beef and a generous pinch of salt and stir to coat the beef.

6. Add the potatoes and onions and the remaining coconut milk.  Then add enough water to just cover the curry.

7. Cover tightly and place in oven for 1.5 hours.
8. Remove from oven,  add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and fish sauce and taste and adjust the broth.  Add more salt if needed.

9. Return to the oven and cook for another 1.5 to 2.5 hours until the beef is meltingly tender and falls apart if you look at it cross-eyed.  For the last hour, take the lid of so that the gravy is reduced and the beef picks up a bit of that roasted flavor.

10. Remove from oven, taste and adjust the flavors again if needed.  Sprinkle cilantro.

11.  Eat with rice and a vegetable on the side.

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Posted in Asian, Brunch, Main Dishes, Meat | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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