TND – Dinner February 12th = At least I taught her full Indian dinner

March 8, 2013

Dinner - February 12

Chana Masala – alternate version (i.e. kind of, but not really)
Saag with Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasted Cauliflower
Whole Wheat Naan – plain & peshwari
Pomegranate Raita
Sweet & Spicy Pickled Kumquats

Chana Masala (kind of, but not really)
(serves a lot of people, call it 10-12 – I was making with freezing for the future in mind)

I messed around with my usual recipe for Chana Masala to reduce the amount of tomato I was using (for a dinner guest whose limited in the amount of tomato she’s allowed to eat), and ended up with something that was tasty, but entirely different.

channa & raita - Feb 12

3 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed & patted dry
½ cup split red lentils
3 medium onions, sliced into half moons
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chili, minced
1-2 fresno chilis, minced
2 Tbsp coriander
5 tsp cumin
(scant) ½ tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp amchoor (sour mango) powder – if you don’t have this add extra lemon juice
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes + juice
¼ cup dried coconut (unsweetened)
2 cups water/stock
½ cup coconut milk
1 lemon, zested & juiced
Salt/pepper/honey, to taste

Saute the drained and dried chickpeas in a little olive oil until they start to brown.  Remove from the pan and reserve.

In a little olive oil sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and chilis until golden brown.  Add the spices and sauté for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add the split red lentils and dried coconut and stir to coat.  Return the chickpeas to the pan and add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon zest, water/stock and coconut milk.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the red lentils are fully cooked and have basically disappeared.  Season to taste with the lemon juice, salt/pepper and honey.

This gets better if it sits overnight – it gives the flavors time to mellow, and also allows the red lentils to really break down and essentially form a thickened sauce for the dish.  You may need to add a little extra water/stock when you reheat it.

Saag with Roasted Butternut Squash
I don’t know if you heard, but there was a little snow storm here this weekend.  I was going to either make paneer, or go out and buy some from one of the many Indian grocery stores in my area, but the storm kind of nixed that plan.  So, I substituted butternut squash for the paneer – which works surprisingly well, even if the idea did come from a vegan cookbook.

saag - Feb 12

2 lb butternut squash, ½” dice
2 onions, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
1” piece ginger, peeled & grated
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt/to taste
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chili flakes/to taste
1 ½ lb baby spinach, wilted & chopped
1 large bunch chard, leaves and stems separated
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup milk
Lemon juice

Toss the butternut squash with a little olive oil and roast until browned (about 20 minutes – turning once).

Wilt the spinach, allow to drain in a colander and then press out as much liquid as you can and chop.

Cut the chard leaves from the stalks and chop into rough pieces.  Wilt.  Drain and add to spinach.

Chop the tender ends of the chard stalks and sauté with the onions until golden brown.

Add grated garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add the spices and sauté for another 30 seconds to bloom them.

Add the spinach and chard leaves to the pan.  Add the buttermilk, yogurt and milk.  Bring to a low simmer.  Add the roasted butternut squash and cook for 5 minutes to thicken sauce and heat through.  Add the lemon juice and adjust seasoning to taste.

Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower + olive oil + garam masala + salt/pepper + 400 oven = yummy

(Whole Wheat) Naan

naan - Feb 12

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (+ extra as needed)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
¼ tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 – 1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp cinnamon/garam masala (optional)
¼ cup milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or ghee if you have such a thing lying around)
¾ – 1 cup plain yogurt
Warm water as needed

Sift together the dry ingredients into a stand mixer.  With the mixer running on low speed add the milk, vegetable oil and plain yogurt.  Beat to combine, adding warm water or flour as needed to form a smooth dough (I find I do better if it’s a little wetter than dryer, but it should form a smooth ball).  Using a dough hook knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to form a smooth, but sticky ball.  Coat a bowl with a little oil and transfer the dough.  Cover and allow to rise in a warm place (I find on a board over the radiator in my kitchen is perfect) until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours depending on how warm your house is).

At this point you can refrigerate the dough overnight, or freeze it – just allow it to come to room temperature/defrost before proceeding.

Punch down and divide into 12-16 pieces – depending on how large you’d like to make your naan.

Form each piece into a smooth ball and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface roll out to about a 5-6” circle/shape.  Flip back and forth between your hands to remove excess flour.

Heat a griddle pan or large heavy skillet (cast iron is best/great for this) over a high heat.  Sprinkle a little water on the pan – it should dance – flip the naan onto the surface and allow to cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes.  It should puff up dramatically.  Sprinkle the surface with a little more water and flip the naan over to cook.  Press down on the edges to puff the naan more.  Remove from heat, brush/mist with a little butter or oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Repeat until all naan has been cooked.

Peshwari Naan

peshwari naan - Feb 12

1 batch whole wheat naan (see above)

½ cup pistachios
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup dried coconut (not sweetened)
1/8 cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom

Finely chop the pistachios with the dried fruit and coconut.  You’re looking for there to be no big pieces (they’ll poke through and tear your dough), but you’re not looking for a paste either.  Mix with the brown sugar and spices.  Adjust to taste adding more cinnamon/cardamom.  Resist the urge to eat all of the mixture with a spoon.

Prepare the naan dough as above to the point where you have formed the 10-12 individual balls of dough.  Using the heels of your hands flatten each ball into a rough 3” round.  Add a heaping tablespoon of the filling (mound in more than you think could possibly fit), and then bring the edges of the dough up to form a round packet, pinching the seams together.  Place seam side down on a plate, cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out each filled naan to about a 5-6” round, and then cook as above – only drizzle it with honey when it comes off the griddle instead of oil/salt.  These won’t puff up as much as the unfilled naan.

If you have leftover filling it’s excellent on yogurt, ice cream, sprinkled over chopped bananas, or just eaten with a spoon from the bowl.

Sweet & Spicy Pickled Kumquats
This was mostly because I happened to have a half a package of kumquats forlornly sitting in my fridge and needed something to do with them.  They were good, but I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to find kumquats to make them again.

kumquats - Feb 12
2 cups water
1 cup kumquats, halved & seeded
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ – ¾ cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want your pickle)
1 Tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt

In a heavy saucepan bring the water to a simmer and add the kumquats.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until they are softened.  Add the sugar and chili powder, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved.  Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until thickened and the kumquats are very soft.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.  When the pickle has cooled adjust seasoning to taste and refrigerate.



  1. […] TND – Dinner March 5th = What’s Making Me Happy This Week TND – Dinner February 12th = At least I taught her full Indian dinner […]

  2. […] Recipe previously given:  At Least I Taught Her Full Indian Dinner […]

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