Naan: Butter, Garlic, Chili in Oven

Srilatha Punjabi, Punjabi Leave a Comment

Having always wanted to make naan at home, the social distancing restrictions provided the perfect opportunity since we cut way down on eating out from maybe once a week to zero, to try it. I browsed several recipes: some that didn’t use a conventional oven needed the tawa to be inverted over the stove. I use a heavy cast iron tawa. That was out. Some used the traditional tandoor. Out. By elimination, I settled on recipes that used an oven. Of these, Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe seemed like a good fit. And that’s what I settled on. He isn’t very clear on how long to bake, so I had to guess. The result: the naans were a bit chewy. I followed his instructions to keep the dough very moist and I think that made a huge difference in the texture. I’m sure I’ll try this again, and maybe will hit the perfect temp and the cooking time. For this recipe, I preheated my oven to 500, which was the max my oven would go. And cooked the naan for approximately 5 minutes.

Khobz, A Moroccan Bread

Srilatha Moroccan Leave a Comment

Khobz is a bread that is a staple in Morocco. We first got introduced to Moroccan cuisine in Indianapolis at a restaurant called El Morocco, and we became addicted to the bread, and the various vegetarian accompaniments – served in multiple courses, starting with the golden warm bread. Alas, the restaurant closed within a few months, much to our disappointment. But it led me on a hunt for Moroccan recipes online, and I believe I may have found the bread. It’s a simple bread, and I have pretty much followed the standard basic recipe, without too much alternations. I made a warm, moderately spicy vegetable soup. The bread is wonderfully porous to mop up the soup. I make the soup fairly liquidy, to dip the bread in.
This is a very basic white bread, and I didn’t experiment with alternate flours, or toppings even though the original recipe in most websites call for sesame seed topping.

Kara Kuzhambu (Spicy Thick Tamarind Gravy)

Srilatha Sides, South Indian Leave a Comment

Kuzhambu is a generic thick, sour gravy in Tamil cuisine, meant to be eaten with rice or as a side for idli/dosai/pongal/etc. It is generally made with a tamarind base, although it can also have buttermilk/yogurt as base. It is not the same as sambar, although the base stock is tamarind for both. Kuzhambu may or may not have dal (paruppu/lentils) whereas sambar will always have dal along with the tamarind stock. Both may have vegetables. Sambar is generally slightly thinner than kuzhambu. This recipe is one of those which is by definition hot and spicy – “kaaram” means hot (red chili hot). Kuzhambu means a thick slurry/gravy. The stars of this recipe are shallots, garlic, and lots and lots of curry leaves (kariveppilai). The flavor is enhanced by using virgin, cold pressed nallennai (unfiltered sesame oil).