October 16, 2008

Aloo Palak with Naan

afuzzybird: October 11, 2008 – Recipe Thread

This is a staple at my house. It is also very imprecise, because I just throw it together each time. It has evolved from the recipe for Palak Tofu from the book “The Accidental Vegan” and about a million web recipes that I looked through trying to make a version with less chopping. I got the naan recipe from a video on Vah Reh Vah, an Indian cooking site. The recipe is a little hard to understand and does take some working with, but it’s good in the end.

Aloo Palak

Potatoes (I use about 4 or 5 red potatoes to feed two people)
Chopped spinach (I use a few big handfuls of the fresh stuff, but I’m sure frozen would work just fine)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cumin
salt to taste
pinch of cayenne (optional)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 smallish knob ginger
flour or cornstarch and water for thickener

Boil the potatoes with turmeric and salt, and cook until they’re almost done (I use about 2-3 cups of water). Put spinach in a wok or large frying pan with other spices and a splash of water. Cook it for a few minutes until spinach is looking wilty, then pour the entire potato pot in (this is why the amount of water is important). Turn to med-low heat and let it all cook together. At the very end, when I’m about done with the naan, I usually add the flour water mix. I use a tablespoon or two of flour and just enough water to get it to dissolve, about half a cup or so.

Naan

3 Cups flour
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
water
milk (optional)
egg (optional)
oil
salt to taste (about 1 tsp)

Dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 Cup of warm water and add the sugar. Let stand for about 5 minutes or so. At this point I usually microwave about 1/2 cup of milk for a few seconds to take the chill off so it doesn’t make the yeast stop working. Mix the flour, yeast mix, milk, egg (if you’re using them–I usually use milk but not egg), salt, and some oil (maybe like 2 tablespoons?), and get container with more water. Add some water and knead, and keep adding until the dough is sticking nicely together. If it gets too sticky, add more flour. Once the dough is nice and mixed, form into fist-sized balls, making sure to take into consideration the size of your hands. If you’ve got huge fists, you might consider smaller balls. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

Make sure to turn on the broiler with enough lead time to let it get hot.

When you come back, rub a little more oil on your hands and start smashing the dough from hand to hand. If you can’t hear it, you’re not doing it right. If you’re good at it (I’m not), you should be able to make it into a big circle-ish shape. Place on a sheet pan, or even better a stonewear sheet if you have one. Pull one end of the naan down so it looks like a weird oblong shape (The shape that Naan is, if you’ve had it before). I can usually fit two to a sheet. Broil it until it’s getting brown, then take it out and flip it over to the over side, and broil that one.

Serve hot with butter, your Aloo Palak, or whatever. I do recommend you watch the video in the link at the top if you’ve never made or seen naan, it’s good do see what it looks like. Also it shows you how to cook it over your gas stove!

Eryn’s Pico de Gallo for People who Hate Cilantro

afuzzybird, 8 July 08, comment to ‘Alas…’

3 whole tomatoes
1/2 an onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 a lime’s juice (or 2 tsp)
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp white vinegar
fresh chopped parsley
3 serrano peppers

Mix all the stuff together!

The original recipe, which I got from a friend, called for no vinegar, no garlic, and 1/2 Cup of cilantro. I think cilantro tastes like soap, and I didn’t measure the parsley, I just chopped a bunch of it, put a big handful in the salsa, and dried the rest. If you like cilantro, feel free to use that instead.

Obviously, you can use whatever type and number of hot peppers you want. 3 serranos makes for a pretty spicy but not overwhelming taste, if you’re good at spicy foods. If not, you can try jalapenos or try seeding the peppers (or both!). Make sure to insulate your hands with something when cutting the serranos. If you have kitchen gloves, great–I just used the plastic bag that I brought the peppers home in.

My friend says that she often puts it in the food processor to make it smoother, but I don’t have a food processor, so I didn’t.

You could probably use the whole lime’s juice if you don’t mind it being runnier–I used half for the pico and half in the rice for my bean bake.

On a last note, I seeded the tomatoes on a suggestion from my friend. Next time I think I’ll leave the seeds in (it seems like a waste not to eat them, and it’s already pretty runny, so what’s a little more?).