While baking up a storm for dessert fest, we discussed doing an Indian food night. Well, it started with "can you bring Indian food tomorrow before the party?"...um, no, but, I'd be happy to do a post-dessert party wrap up feast! And...Diwali was soon approaching! So the DESSERT FEST 2010! chefs decided that an Indian dinner night was in order!
Latte, courtesy of Chef Paul!
Prepping for the home-made naan
Tomatoes and onions for the chicken curry
Puff pastry de-thawing for the samosaaaas!
My first time making naans...Note that I do not know how to use a rolling pin (but feel incredibly domestic owning one...in addition to a frilly pink apron) hence the weird shapes. My mother would laugh at me if she saw these shapes.
Fresh baked samosas with mango chutney!
Friends enjoying Diwali dinner
Well, you can see my naans didn't quite turn out as they should (or what you get ordering from tamarind or brick lane)...but they were still yummy yums.
Garam garam chicken curry!
Mai's absolutely to-die-for kulfi topped with almonds and pistachios
Samosas, recipe by Geeta Halarnakar
Serves 6-8 (depending on how many eat each samosa!)
- 1 package puff pastry dough (in the freezer section of your local grocery store)
- 1 bag frozen peas and carrots mixed together (also found at normal grocery stores, except trader joes)
- 1 onion, chopped
- Garam Masala to taste (if you don't have this already - you can certainly buy this at grocery stores like Whole Foods, or kalyustyans, or anywhere in Curry Hill. If you are interested in making it yourself, I can't really help you there except that I know it mixes all kinds of whole spices into one pungent powder. You can include coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds, black pepper, poppy seeds, cardamom, anise, and chile powder, all to your taste - you'd really have to play around with it to see what flavor you like.)
- salt (to taste)
- Rolling pin, or large beer glass as a substitute
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put the puff pastry in the refrigerator to defrost it. Should take about 40-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the samosa stuffing. Put a bit of oil into a saute pan and brown the onions. Once those are close to being browned, put in the whole bag of peas and carrots and mix everything together. At this stage, add in some garam masala and turmeric. I started with about 2 tsp, but again, add as much or as little as your tastes prefer. Also throw in a dash of salt. Once everything is cooked, let it cool.
Get back to the puff pastry - cut it into 6 pieces before you unwrap the dough (see the photo of the thawed puff pastry above) - after unwrapping, you should have about 18 pieces.
Lightly flour a cutting board or a clean surface, and roll out each of the pieces into a rectangular shape. Put about 1-2 tsp. stuffing into the rolled out puff pastry. Fold over the puff pastry (like a hot dog shape), and then fold the ends over (as though you were wrapping a present), all seams should be sealed.
Put the finished puff pastries on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes. If they are lightly browned, take them out of the oven...if not, let them sit in the oven for about 5 minutes longer.
Naan, recipe borrowed from Indian Food Made Easy
- 9 ounces plain all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 ounces milk (I used whole milk)
- 2 tbsp. oil (I used olive oil, the original recipe called for vegetable oil)
- Butter to top the cooked naan
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
In another smaller bowl, mix together the milk and oil.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the liquid mixture into the well. Slowly mix the dough together to make a soft, smooth dough. Knead well for about 8-10 minutes (on a clean surface or a cutting board).
Place the dough in a well-oiled mixing bowl, and covered with a damp tea-towel (this helps the dough from getting dry). Leave the dough in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size (apparently, according to my sister, a warm place can also mean an oven that is turned onto it's lowest bake setting, or about 150 degrees)*.
*My dough did not double in size at ALL. Not sure what was going on there...
Knock the dough back down and divide into 5 equal pieces.
Preheat your broiler in your oven to medium-high heat. Place a heavy baking pan on the top most rack of the oven to heat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each of the 5 pieces of dough. You can see I got creative here.
Place them all on the pre-heated baking sheet, and bake for about 1-2 minutes. You will notice they get the burned look that you see from store-bought naan. Then you know they are done!
So the second time I made these, they came out MUCH better. I think it was because the first time, we did not use the broiler function and just tried to bake them in the oven. The second time around, they were soft, airy, fluffy and delicious. Just as they should be!