Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Whole Wheat Naan (Indian Leavened Flat Bread)

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 28, 2015


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.


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.



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.


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.


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 »

Squash Potato Poppy Seed Curry from Bengal (Squash Alu Posto)

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 18, 2010

Bengali cuisine is among the most delectable and intricate of the great cuisines of India.  I grew up eating this stuff, but never got around to craving it.  In my recent trips to Kolkata, I eat this stuff and wonder why the heck I have not figured out how to make this awesome food.  This curry is typically made with ridged gourd (jhinga/jhinge), which is not sold in most grocery stores in the US.  Since a trek to the Indian store is usually a chore, I make this with the more readily available summer squash or zucchini.

In addition to the usual Indian spices, Bengali curries are often tempered with panch phoran, a five seed mix where the flavors of Nigella/onion seed/Kalonji/kalonchoe dominate. Another flavor that is stereotypic of Bengali cuisine is mustard oil, which has a pungent, wasabi-like aroma and has been recently re-installed in the pantheon of good fats. The gravy is thickened with crushed poppy seeds, which give the curry a nutty flavor.  Finally, it is enriched with yoghurt.

2 medium sized potatoes, cooked for 5 min. in the microwave, cut into cubes

4 medium sized squashes, peeled and cut into ¾” pieces

1medium sized onion, coarsely chopped

3 ½ tbs. vegetable oil, divided

½ tbs. mustard oil.

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 “ ginger, coarsely chopped

1-2 thai bird peppers (optional)

2.5 tbs. poppy seeds, ground to a fine paste in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle if you have it.

1 tsp panchphoron

1-2 bay leaves

1 tsp ground coriander seeds

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp sugar

pinch of asafetida/hing

2 tbs. yoghurt  (whole fat, please)

2 cups water

Salt to taste

Squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Cilantro for garnish

Heat 2 tbs. of vegetable oil to a thin-walled cast iron wok, or any large pot.  When hot, add the potatoes and squash. Add salt to taste and stir-fry till the vegetable are cooked through and start to caramelize a bit, about 5-10 min (depending on how finely you have chopped the squash and potatoes and what kind of pot you are using).  In a food processor, finely puree onions, garlic, ginger and bird peppers (if using).  In a coffee grinder, finely grind the poppy seeds.  Then add to the food processor and pulse to mix with the onion-puree.

Heat the remaining oil, and add the pancphoran, hing, bay leaves and stir till fragrant: a min or so.  Then add the onion puree and stir fry-until the mixture has browned and releases some the oil, about 5-7 min.  Then add the coriander, turmeric and paprika.  Stir fry for a few min. then add the yoghurt, a little at a time and fully incorporate it into the onion paste.  Now add the squash and potatoes and fully coat in the paste. Add salt. Then add the water and allow to come to a full boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 min.  Add the garam masala, mustard oil and sugar. Then add a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro, if using. Taste and adjust the salt.  Let cool for a few minutes so that the gravy thickens (I took the picture before it thickened). Serve with rice.

Posted in Indian Food, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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