As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mutton curry & Naan

I started work this week. Needless to say spending 9 hours at work post a 3 month sabbatical was not exactly easy. Long story-short, Vineet graciously offered to make dinner, and I played sous-chef this time around...This is Vineet's version of Mutton curry, a loose adaption of the receipe that we use to make Chana masala.
I decided to stay out of his way and let him do his thing, and got on with experimenting with home made naan instead.... needless to say, we had a fun evening and a VERY satisfying meal!

Ingredient list:
Mutton - 500gm boneless
5 tbsp Oil 
2 Onions (finely chopped)
2 largish Tomatoes (pureed)
1 large Potato (chopped into cubes)
3 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
6-8 Curry leaves (kadipatta)
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
2 tbsp Coriander powder (dhania) 
Dry whole spices:
1-1/2" Cinnamon stick + 5-6 Cloves + 2 Bay leaves + 1 tbsp Fennel seeds (saunf) + 5-6 Whole black peppercorns + 1 Black Cardamom (kali elaichi)

1.  Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Saute the whole dry spices till they begin to sizzle and are aromatic. Add the chopped onions & ginger-garlic paste and sautee till nice and browned. Add the Potato and sautee till slightly soft and golden brown.

2.  Add the Curry leaves, tomato puree and turmeric powder, red chilli powder & coriander powder. Let the gravy bubble away till the tomato is cooked through.

3.  Add the mutton pieces and stir gently to ensure that each piece is coated nicely in the thick gravy. Add a cup of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Switch off the heat.

4.  Open the lid of the pressure cooker and open cook the gravy till it thickens to your liking. Add a little water if if thickens too much. Add Salt as per taste.

5.  Garnish with chopped fresh Coriander and Dig in!!

( Makes 3-4 naans)

250g Plain flour (maida)
1 tsp Dried yeast
125 ml Milk (room temperature)
3/4 tsp Salt + 1/2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tbsp Plain Dahi
15g ghee / unsalted butter

Kitchen Essentials:
Glass bowl / Wooden spoon &
Oven with Grill - preheated to highest temperature setting

1.  Sprinkle the yeast into 50ml of milk and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Stir it in to dissolve an make into a paste.

2.  Mix the flour + salt + sugar in a glass/plastic bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeasted milk + dahi + butter/ghee and gently stir with a wooden spoon to make a sticky soft dough using the remaining milk if needed.

3. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. The stickiness of the dough will gradually reduce and it will be easier to knead as you go along. Knead for about 8-10 minutes to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well throughout the dough.

4.  Put into a clean glass/plastic* bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise for about 3-4 hours till it doubles in size.

5.  When the dough rises it appears to be puffed as it is filled with gases. Gently punch the risen dough to deflate it and let it rest for another 5-6 minutes.

6.  Divide into 3-4 pieces and roll out till its about 3-5 mm thick. Put onto a baking tray and Grill in a preheated oven-grill for about 4-5 minutes** on one side and about 2 minutes on the second side. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Dab a little butter onto the cooked naan and heat hot, straight outta the grill!

*Yeast reacts with mettalic bowls and the metal will impart a strange and unpleasant flavour to the dough. So ensure you use a plastic/glass bowl/ and wooden spoons to mix the dough.

**The first naan takes the longest (4-5 mins) to cook. Progressive naans need lesser time as the baking sheet is also hot and accelerates the cooking. I'd advise you to stand by and watch, and time the cooking duration depending on how your oven behaves. 

The only disadvantage that making naan using a small oven is that it makes 1 naan at a time... but they turned out so soft and delicious, that they seemed well worth the wait!

Bon appetit!!

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