I. LOVE. INDIAN FOOD. I LOVE IT, OK?!
That being said, this is not my first time attempting to make it at home. I have a pretty legit spice rack if I may say so myself. 🙂 . I’ve made a great channa masala before and a super duper butter paneer. But one dish that I really love is vegetable korma. I figured that it couldn’t be terribly difficult to make so I decided on it pretty early on in my list making (hence it’s high spot at resolution #4).
But let’s be honest with one another for a second. When you’re a carb-a-holic vegetarian, what’s the best part of the delicious Indian meal? THE NAAN BREAD, duh. Ok so maybe it’s not the best part, but man do I love it. I have always bought it pre-made, and decided that it also couldn’t be terribly difficult to make. By the way, if you’re looking for a store bought version, I love the Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan in their frozen section. Matter of fact, I like all of their frozen Indian food that I’ve tried.
But, back to me and my deliciousness.
So I decided to make vegetable korma and homemade garlic naan together because that’s how they should be.
I started with prepping the naan bread so that it would have time to rise while I prepared veggies and the curry sauce. First things first, yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl. Let it get frothy. Then add the other ingredients to form a dough, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, then let it rise for an hour or 2.
I’m pretty much obsessed with tomato-based curry sauces and I like them a little creamy. So I just made the gravy that I like and I’m calling it vegetable korma. I hope that it still is actually considered vegetable korma. If not, well then it’s veggies in a really great and creamy tomato gravy.
For this version, I used onions, potatoes, carrots, green beans, and broccoli. Don’t mind that green pepper there in the photo… I was thinking of using it and then just didn’t But I’m sure it would be a great addition if you’d like to use a bell pepper in yours. I put a pot of salted water on the stove to bring to a boil while I washed and trimmed all my vegetables. I added the potatoes first, for about five minutes, then added the rest of the vegetables for about another five minutes. After that, I drained the vegetables and rinsed with cold water and set aside until I finished my curry sauce.
For the curry sauce, I minced an onion and sauteed it over medium-high heat with cumin for about 6 or 7 minutes, until the onion was translucent. I then added the rest of the spices and the chopped jalepeno and garlic. After stir frying that for a few minutes, I added the tomato sauce. Next up into the skillet were the veggies. I stirred that all up, turned the heat down to low, and let it simmer a while. A few minutes before serving, I added some greek yogurt to the tomato sauce.
While the vegetable korma was simmering, I proceeded with my naan bread. Here’s where things started not really going my way. When I peeked in the bowl, the dough hadn’t really risen. I was pretty confused, because I had just bought new yeast so I knew it hadn’t gone bad. But nonetheless I was starving and the kitchen was already smelling so good, I couldn’t wait. I decided to proceed and just see what happened.
I turned the dough out onto a floured surface and kneaded it a bit. Then I divided it into eight sections, which I formed into naan with my hands. I chose the skillet method of cooking the naan as I read that would give it the best texture. So I heated a small skillet over high heat and cooked the naan one piece at a time, each side for about 2-3 minutes. After removing from the skillet, I brushed each with garlic butter and placed in the oven on a baking sheet to stay warm.
I sampled the first naan to come out of the skillet, and I wasn’t super feeling it. It was thin and dense. I started cursing myself for my impatience in not waiting for the dough to rise. As I went along, they started looking better and better. But they still weren’t perfect. Let’s be clear, they were certainly fit to eat, and eat them I did. They tasted good, but they weren’t exactly how I wanted them. I felt that they were a bit dense, I prefer them to be well toasted on the outside but fluffy on the inside. These felt sort of as if the dough just hadn’t risen enough…imagine that… The picky husband wasn’t into the vegetable korma, but he made pizzas with the naan bread, which he enjoyed! My vegetable korma was great, the vegetables were the perfect amount of done and the sauce was just the right amount of spicy.
Alas, I’m not satisfied. Round 2 of naan bread to come…
Ok people. Updates. I think I discovered what happened with the naan bread. It’s not that I lacked patience in letting the dough rise, I think I killed the yeast with overly hot water in the proofing process. This is slightly embarrassing seeing as how I used to work with yeast in my previous lab job and I know that yeast and extreme heat don’t mix. OOPS. [Shilpa, if you’re reading this, I’M SORRY I’VE FAILED YOU, OH MENTOR.]
I did a bunch of research into naan bread recipes, and I found one from Pop Sugar/America’s Test Kitchen that didn’t involve hot water, but instead, involved leaving the dough in the fridge for 16-24 hours. And it was a success! I made the dough in a very similar manner as to above except no hot water to proof the yeast. I also added greek yogurt to the dough. I made the dough Thursday night, put it in the fridge, and Friday night, it was ready to go!
I formed the dough into four balls and let them sit out for about 30 minutes to get to room temperature. I then rolled the dough out and cooked in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side. I then added a little butter on top and voila, light, fluffy, delicious naan bread! I would have added garlic butter to this one too if I was going to eat it with Indian food, but I decided to make it into little naan pizzas.
It was really bothering me that the first attempt at naan bread didn’t go super well, so I made it again without a real need for it, and then turned it into pizzas when a special visitor came to stay with me… my nephew! He fancies himself a junior chef so he helped me out in the kitchen.
Once we had all the dough rolled, we cooked the naan one by one in the skillet. They puffed up nicely and looked SO much better than the previous batch of overly dense naan bread.
The three of us all made our own little pizzas for dinner, and they were great! The naan bread was perfect for personal pizzas. Here’s our finished products!
Lessons learned here:
- For the naan bread, use non-expired yeast, don’t scorch it, and allow time to let it sit 16-24 hours in the fridge.
- If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again!
3 cups of vegetables (green beans, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, green pepper… whatever you have and you like!)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeño, 1/2 seeded 1/2 leave the seeds in, mince
4 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp. garam masala
1/2 Tbsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 cup greek yogurt
- Bring pot of water to a boil and add potatoes. Let cook for five minutes, then add the remaining vegetables for an additional five minutes. Drain vegetables, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions to skillet and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the spices, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the tomato sauce. Let it simmer for a few minutes and add any additional spices if necessary. Then add the greek yogurt and the cooked vegetables. Stir well.
- Turn the heat down to low and cover. Let the dish simmer to get extra flavorful if you have the time, or go ahead and eat it if you’re starving 🙂
Garlic Naan Bread
From America’s Test Kitchen
1/2 cup ice water
1/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large egg yolk
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In measuring cup or small bowl, combine water, yogurt, three tablespoons oil, and egg yolk. Process flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about two seconds. With processor running, slowly add water mixture; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.
- Add salt to dough, and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth, about one minute. Shape dough into tight ball, and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200°F. Place heatproof plate on rack. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface, and divide into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into smooth, tight ball. Place dough balls on lightly oiled baking sheet, at least two inches apart; cover loosely with plastic coated with vegetable oil spray. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer one ball to lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with flour. Using your hands and a rolling pin, press and roll piece of dough into nine-inch round of even thickness, sprinkling dough and work surface with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Using fork, poke entire surface of round 20 to 25 times. Heat remaining one teaspoon oil in 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Wipe oil out of skillet completely with paper towels. Mist top of dough lightly with water. Place dough in pan, moistened side down; mist top surface of dough with water; and cover. Cook until bottom is browned in spots across surface, two to four minutes. Flip naan, cover, and continue to cook on second side until lightly browned, two to three minutes. (If naan puffs up, gently poke with fork to deflate.) Flip naan, brush top with about one teaspoon melted butter, transfer to plate in oven, and cover plate tightly with aluminum foil. Repeat rolling and cooking remaining three dough balls. Once last naan is baked, serve immediately.