I have always been a bit shy of making Indian breads – maybe because everytime I’ve made them, it has been a complete disaster. To put an end to all of my burnt and crunchy rotis, I decided to take an Indian breads class and it worked! I made my first naan bread this weekend to rave reviews (it made an appearance and disappearance at the party of my dear friends, Kim & Matt).
I took my breads class with Chef Richard LaMarita and he has kindly allowed me to share some of his recipes here. I highly recommend his class at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It is really hands on and so much fun. One thing to note though is that since naan in the restaurant is made with a clay oven, it has a bit of a different texture when made at home, but tastes pretty much the same.
With the naan, I made Richard’s mint chutney which is so quick and easy. You just blend and mix in a few ingredients and you’re done.
Naan, courtesy of Chef Richard LaMarita
yield: 8 naan
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
4-5 cups unbleached all purpoase flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon nigella (black onion) seeds
Place the water in a large bowl and add yeast, stirring to dissolve. Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour and stir well. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes, covered, until it starts to bubble.
Add the salt, then another cup of all purpose flour. Continue to add flour until a dough forms. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let it rest, covered, in a warm place until it doubles in size.
Punch the dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Let it rest a few minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a baking stone (I used the back of a cookie sheet) in the middle rack of the oven heated to 500 degrees.
Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a flat oval (or baguette shape as I did). Let each oval rest for 15-20 minutes. Dimple the surface with wet fingers and sprinkle with nigella seeds.
Sprinkle some flour on the baking stone and place the naan on it. Bake for about 4-5 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve immediately or keep warm by placing them wrapped in a towel.
Mint Chutney, courtesy of Chef Richard LaMarita (with notes from me)
yield: 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup mint leaves
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (or 1 small green Indian chili)
1 teaspoon ginger juice (or 1 teaspoon of shredded ginger with some water)
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave (or honey)
1 tablespoon lime juice
chaat masala, to taste (optional)
Place mint, cilantro, jalapeno and ginger juice in a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down as necessary (add a few drops of water to help blend). This should be liquid, not too thick. Place contents in a bowl.
Fold in yogurt. Add salt, agave, lime juice and chaat masala, to taste.