Category Archives: Breads Rotis and Naan’s

Just like it says on the label all things that fall into the realm of bread making…..

Lehsuni Naan…..Fan assisted Garlic Naan

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Get the picture I am not anywhere near lucky enough to own a tandoor, so the very best I can manage on the heat front is a fan assisted oven, a pretty poor alternative to the tandoor of my hearts desire; however previously mentioned fan assisted gubbins  produces some fair results, although not near enough for that real restaurant feel, and yes I admit it the restaurant can for  the most part outstrip what I can do on any dish prefixed with the word Tandoori, or suffixed with the word Naan, the Tandoor is King, I admit it, But that don’t stop me trying!Garlic Naan

You see I eat very little rice, fairly strange for someone whose culinary love is curry. It is not that I don’t like or enjoy rice in all its varieties, I just prefer Naans and breads, Roti’s, Parothas, and of course the chapati. We here in England and maybe the west have as usual got ourselves in a spin with a philosophy to curry pretty much in direct opposition to that of the Asian subcontinent. In the west curry is the main part of the dish, and the rice is the supporter, in India the reverse applies and as such you will find more rice on the plate than sauce or curry. Rice is very absorbent, and so is a good quality Naan soaking up a sauce like a sponge. It is the sauce that is the antithesis of curries, the heart the flavour, the wiz bang pop of that so simple word curry, and I suggest that it cannot and should never under any circumstances  be left on the plate, it is where the heart of the curry resides and to leave that heart behind is nothing short of a sin, or at best a travesty. Should you choose rice to do that soak up job that’s cool you enjoy, but for me nothing betters a Naan for its sponge like qualities, similar I suggest to the absorbency of kitchen roll but edible how great is that!

Anyone flicking through my picture by now will understand that for me I prefer to enjoy my curries with breads and the suchlike. I am one very lazy cook and cant really be arsed to go through all that kneading and standing that dough demands;  which is why I generally leave all that stuff to the supermarket and buy them over the counter, that said I do aspire to be able to bake, as bake is what I will need to do to achieve the un tandooried version, hence this article so here’s my thoughts on the best I can do at the moment. Unfortunately my best in my mind is still not good enough but at least I’m still trying and the result is quite edible, just not as authentic as I would like, so anyone out there doing better please let me know I’m not too proud to learn!

You can judge for yourselves if the result is worth the effort

IngredientsIngredients

8gm fresh yeast, or 1 tsp of fast-action dried yeast

1 egg

1 teaspoon sugar

4 tablespoons milk

500gm Plain all purpose flour

pinch of salt

4 teaspoons Vegetable oil

chopped garlic to taste about 200gm for this recipe will flavour the Naans at a strong level

The how to….

Put the egg sugar and milk into a bowl and whisk together

Sift the flour into a large bowl or Paraat, if using the dried yeast stir it into the flour , make a depression in the center of the flour and add the egg mixture and continue by adding enough water to make a soft dough .

When you have fully mixed the dough you must now knead the dough on a lightly floured surface be carefull not to add to much more flour to the mix as you kneadpull stretch and press the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes cover with a cloth and set aside for about 15 minutes.

Add the oil to the dough, now and knead again, punching it down and taking the air out of the mixture then cover again and leave in a warm place for about two hours and allow the dough to riseKneaded Dough

Divide the dough into about eight equal portions roll into balls and place on a floured work surface , flatten the balls slightly and spread the garlic over the dough and set aside for about 5 minutesRisen Dough 1

Flatten the dough ball out into the traditional tear shape, getting the thickness down to about 6 t0 10 mm, place on an oiled baking tray and bake for about ten minutes in a hot oven 200 degrees 220 on the no fan assisted should do it….

Remove from the oven allow to cool and consume with any super duper demon curry you can think of or create!

Man does not live by bread alone … but hey if this was all I had to eat you wouldn’t hear me moaning for a year or two……

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Bread Head I am (Baqarkhani Roti)

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One of the great joys of Indian cookery for me is the balance of spices, that dance routine between aroma, taste and colour, that make up the explosion of complimenting flavours that is all that we have come to love in Indian Cuisine.

The key element in that Fandango is the heat in the dish, usually decided by the balance of fresh, alongside dried and ground chillies that you decide is right for the food you are creating. A further vital element for me is a complimentary vegetable or side plate; for many that is rice, for some potato, but for me it is naan and more especially  sweet naan, Peshwari, a Pakistani speciality being my usual naan of choice with something that is spicy hot hot, hot. My senses enjoy that influx of sweet that underpins that chilli heat in what I call that “curry moment”, where all the flavours come together with a sweetness that cannot be denied, bringing forth a fantastic facet to the dish that is sometimes cooling and flavour enhancing, oh yes for me sweet and spicy is the way to go!

A Naan for the uninitiated is a type of leavened oven baked bread in that it contains yeast and usually some yoghurt or milk, generically it is called a flat bread, and is common throughout the Asian and Arabic world , and for the most part and is either cooked in a Tandoor that fantastic oven that creates a lot of the flavours that make up a great curry, or on a Talwa a griddle or flat plate  on top of the stove.

Herein lies the problem, creating naan bread is not hard but for the genuine article you must have  a Tandoor, it creates a unique flavour that is very difficult to produce without a genuine tandoori,  for me digging up the lawn and laying in the traditional clay interior, and then firing that up with hot coals is a bit beyond getting the Barbie lit on a hot summers day and the domestic alternative in my kitchen is a non starter which would require the building an extension to house just to house such a fantastic cooking implement, which I think the wife may frown a little over!

However I am told these days you can buy domestic chapatis, Naan, and roti makers from ebay that claim to be the real deal, for about £60.00, which lets face it balanced against the cost of a Tandoor of around £250-£300 minimum plus the £5000 for the extension to the house, sounds like an option worth exploring!

At this time however I possess neither a tandoor or its cheaper alternatives, but I do possess a western fan oven that is both controllable and capable of producing fantastic breads, so get ready for a recipe that offers a sweet bread that will bring forth that Curry Moment

The following recipe hits the spot for me and is as near as you can get to the tandoori equivalent and for me is just about as good as it gets on the home bake front. Don’t expect to achieve a result in five minutes like all breads it takes time and effort but if you follow the recipe closely I promise you the result is well worth the effort; a semi sweet, and by that not as sweet as a Peshwari but on the way, cross between Pastry and bread, delicious!

“Oh yes let the yum yum fun begin!”

Baqarkhani Roti

500g (1lb2oz) Plain (all-purpose) Flour Plus a little extra for dusting

1 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of salt

3 tsp Icing (confectioners) Sugar

250ml(8floz)warm full cream milk

.5 tsp Dried Yeast(.5 tsp sugar to activate Yeast)

4 Green cardamom pods ground remove the husks

2 Tbsp Raisins

1 tsp Poppy Seeds

250g(9oz)(1cup) Ghee melted plus extra for greasing

16-18 Almonds(cut into slivers)

Method

Sift the flour Baking Powder and salt into a large bowl, and add the icing sugar and warm milk (Set aside)

Now is the time to activate the Yeast, place the yeast in a small bowl and add 5 Tbsp lukewarm water and the .25 tsp of sugar set aside for at least 30 mins until the yeast has risen.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix together to make a dough using your hands to knead the dough on a flat lightly floured surface, or a dough hook if you must use a food processor.

Transfer the mixture into a lightly oiled bowl cover and set aside in a warm place for at least an hour or until risen.

Add half the Ghee to the dough and Knead again, and then divide into 12 equal portions and shape into balls .

Transfer to a baking tray cover and set aside and leave to rest for at least another 30 minutes

Preheat the Oven to 190 degrees C(375 degrees F) Gas Mark 5 that’s hot!

Flatten the ball into patties of about 18cm/7 inches in Dia and about 5 mm/.25 inches thick

Brush them with ghee and fold them into 4

Roll into balls again and leave for a further 10 Minutes

Repeat this entire process three times , then sprinkle the poppy seeds over bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown!

Because they contain “quite” a lot of Ghee they are best eaten warm, but they can be made ahead of the meal and reheated if the need is there.

Makke Ki Rotte…Corn Bread

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This is a fantastic corn bread that goes as a traditional accompianament to Sarson da Saag…Punjabi Greens, and a true Punjabi flatbread, idealy you need a tandoor but how many of us have fot one of those. That said you can make this using the traditional oven and the result is nearly as good as the tandoor produced version, so have no fear get on in there and make some breads!

This recipe makes  8 breads

Ingredients

500gm(1lb2oz) Cornmeal

60gm(2oz)wholemeal flour

25gm(1oz)all purpose flour plus a little extra for dusting

100gm(3.5 o9z Ghee melted , plus a little extra for greasing

Method

Sift the cornmeal, flours and salt into a large bowl and mix in enough water to make a soft dough.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 mins, cover with a cotton cloth and set aside in a warm place for about 30 minutes

Now divide the dough into eight equal portions, roll them into balls , dust them with flour  and set aside for a further 5 minutes.

Whilst waiting for the dough to finally prove heat the oven to 200c/400f gas mark 6

Flatten each bread between the palms of your hand or roll out on a lightly floired surface to make an 8inch dia disc

Place them in the oven for about 6 minutes when cooked brush with ghee or butter and serve with Sarson da Saag