Tag: Indian

Pan Fried Naan

Just about a year ago, I made homemade naan for the first time.  I was pretty excited, but the naan was missing some flavor.  So I tried again and made Roasted Garlic Naan, which had a great flavor but poor texture.  Dough can be tricky, so I tried that recipe again for some for friends last year.  The consensus was that it was good, but didn’t taste like naan.

So I went back to the kitchen this weekend for yet another try.  This time I used this naan recipe from Budget Bytes.  The dough is much richer because it contains oil, yogurt, and egg.  It was easy to work with, and rose perfectly.  To cook the dough, you roll out 6″ circles and fry them one at a time in a hot pan coated with cooking spray.  When the first one was done, I was in heaven!  The naan was soft, fluffy, and had a nicely fried flavor.  I could have eaten it by itself standing over the stove, but I happened to have a batch of chana masala ready.



I am pretty sure that this will be my go-to naan recipe now.  There are just two things left to do.  First, I want to try adding either garlic butter or butter with fresh herbs next time, which might make this naan perfect.  I’d also like to try cooking these 4 at a time in an electric fry pan, because standing over the stove to cook them one by one was a little time consuming.  And of course, I need to get some people to taste test this version!

Chickpeas and Carrots over Couscous

Just a couple of weeks ago, I made a chickpea and carrot salad which was pretty good.  Then I saw this Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas and Carrots recipe in Cooking Light, and decided that sounded even better.  Most of the comments indicated that the dish needed more sauce, so I increased the amount of liquid and made a few other changes to suit my tastes.

All of the changes worked well, and I really liked this dish.  That was a good thing since it made 5 lunches worth of food!  I also really like using whole wheat couscous as a base for the chickpeas and carrots.  It’s not always available in the regular grocery store, but I do find it at Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find whole wheat couscous, brown rice would work well too. 




Chickpeas and Carrots over Couscous

1/2 c. vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 T canola oil, divided
2 c. sliced carrots
1 t cumin
1/2 t garam masala
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
4 c. cooked whole wheat couscous

Combine broth, lemon juice, and tomato sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

 Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over high heat, and fry chickpeas for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Remove chickpeas from pan and set aside. 

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan, and add sliced carrots.  Stir fry for 5-10 minutes.  Add cumin, garam masala, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir well.  Add in broth mixture and chikpeas.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve over couscous.



Carrot and Chickpea Salad

When you’re craving a pot of chana masala but it’s way too hot to turn on the stove, this carrot and chickpea salad just might hit the spot.  I was inpsired by this recipe with beautiful brightly colored carrots.  The original dressing was a little too tart and spicy for me but adding some honey tamed things nicely.

I took a shortcut and bought shredded carrots from the grocery store, but don’t make this mistake.  I know grating carrots is hard on your knuckles, but it will be worth it when you have sweet, tender, freshly grated carrot.  Next time I won’t be so lazy, and that will make this salad even better. 



Carrot and Chickpea Salad

6 oz. nonfat plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
1 t coriander
1 t cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t garam masala
1/2 t ground ginger
dash cayenne pepper
2 t honey
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 c. shredded carrots
Romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn

Mix yogurt, lemon juice, spices and honey in a small bowl and season to taste.  In a larger bowl, mix chickpeas, carrots, and enough dressing to coat.

Serve over a bed of Romaine lettuce, adding more dressing if needed.

-Lightly adapted from Caroline at “Surprised by Joy”

Indian Spiced Zucchini Fritters in Tomato Sauce

If I ever write a book, it just might be titled “101 Ways to Prepare Zucchini”.  If you do a search for zucchini —–> there are a startling number of entries.  But I haven’t yet combined my fondness for Indian food with my zucchini obsession.  I am pretty sure this is not an authentic Indian dish, but it worked for me.  I started with this recipe for Indian meatballs, and then made it my own.

Normally, you’d expect an item named “fritter” to be deep fried.  But you probably already guessed that I baked these.  If you really want that crispy coating, go ahead and fry them, I am sure they’d be great.  The batter is very delicate though, so just be careful and handle them gently no matter which method you use.

 There’s no doubt about it, the fritters are spicy!  They would be fantastic tucked into a fresh piece of naan, and the bread could be used to scoop up the tomato based sauce as well.  Since I didn’t have any naan, I packed these fritters into lunches on a bed of brown rice, with some plain yogurt on the side to help tame the heat.  It’s a great dish, packed with vegetables and spice, and just one more way to use up that zucchini.



Indian Spiced Zucchini Fritters in Tomato Sauce

3 medium or 2 large zucchini, shredded
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 large onions, minced and divided
1/2 t ground ginger
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 T olive oil, divided
1/4 t turmeric
Dash cayenne pepper
1 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 (14 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 t garam masala
Salt to taste

1.  Place shredded zucchini in a strainer over a bowl and press with a fork.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes, occasionally tossing with a fork.  Be sure to reserve liquid for a later step.

2. Mix drained zucchini with jalapeno pepper, 1/4 c.  minced onion, ground ginger, and whole wheat flour.  Form into 12-15 balls.  Pour 1 T olive oil on a baking sheet.  Gently roll zucchini balls in oil, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, turning once.

3. Heat remaining 1 T olive oil in a large frying pan, and add remaining minced onion to pan.  Cook on medium high heat for 15-20 minutes until onions are well browned.  Add turmeric, cayenne, cumin, and coriander and mix well.  Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add 1 c. reserved liquid from zucchini, adding water if you do not have a full cup.  Cover pan, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove cover and add garam masala and salt to taste.

4. Add zucchini fritters to the pan gently, and cover the pan.  Heat on low for 5-10 minutes.

-Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey “World of the East Vegetarian Cookbook”

Potato, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Curry

Some people find it easier to prepare meals during the summer months. Fresh produce is abundant and the days are longer. The snow that used to cover the grill is a distant memory. Many summer recipes are designed to be quick and easy, and some don’t need to be cooked at all.

But while I love cooking with summer ingredients, I am actually finding meal preparation more challenging in the summer. My schedule is erratic and I am spending more time away from home. I always seem to be missing one key ingredient for a recipe. And it’s unbearable to think about turning the oven on when it’s already 95F in my kitchen.
Really, I miss my Sunday kitchen sessions. Of course, I’d rather be hanging at the beach than in my kitchen, but when Monday comes and I am less than prepared, chaos ensues. My skin has had enough sun for this week, so I spent some time putting together a recipe that felt just a little like fall – Smitten Kitchen’s Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes. Since it is July and not November, I used small red potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.

I was worried this would be too spicy, but it’s actually fairly mild, even with a whole (deseeded) jalapeno in the mix. Of course I used the Swiss chard stems as well, adding the chopped stems into the pan with the onion. The potatoes, lentils, and chard each have a different texture but work well together. My craving for a substantial Indian dish was satisfied with this meal, and I can now rest easy because I have curry packed for lunches this week.