Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Indian Bonanza 2: Electric Vindaloo (Bhendi and Garlic Naan)

Apparently I took pics from every angle except focusing on the bhendi or naan.
I love Indian food. It always takes me back to nights of watching ridiculous documentaries (see Crazy Love) with my sister and ordering in from Bollywood Cafe.  It was one of these gloriously delicious nights that I learned about the Indian fabulous okra known as bhendi. As a southerner, I am always transported to home (and my grandma's gumbo) when I eat okra, so being able to combine it with one of my favorite types of cuisine made it infinitely more special. I'm also a massive fan of carbs (they're banned by many diets for a reason), so naan also holds a special place in my stomach's heart. Now on to the exciting conclusion of the Indian Bonanza!

Bhendi (or Bhindi)
Modified From Foods of India
Servings: 4-6
Time: 40 minutes

16 oz frozen okra
1 onion, diced
1 tomato, chopped
Olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of a whole lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Sriracha sauce to spice

Okra: the magic vegetable

  1. Sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent (I'm pretty sure about half of my posts start like this, so I'm just gonna start adding it to desserts too).
  2. Add the cayenne, tomato, salt and pepper and cook for two more minutes.
  3. Stir in the okra and cook until defrosted (unless you're using fresh okra in which case give it a couple of minutes.
  4. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10-20 minutes until the okra becomes tender.
  5. Top with sriracha sauce to heat it up and serve.
When you need to get your greens in, okra is always the way to go. This okra is a wonderful supporting player to any Indian meal (seriously just mix it in with the korma from my last post), but also has great flavor on its own. A couple of quick notes to make it even better: frozen okra can get a little slimy, so add a little vinegar to fix this; also once it's plated, add a pinch of garam masala spice to give it a more authentic and exciting flavor.

Garlic Naan
Servings: 8-12 pieces
Time: 2-3 hours

1/4 oz packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp milk
1 egg beaten
2 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
4- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

Side note: I was shocked to discover no recipes for electric vindaloo (but there is a band). Look for it soon.
  1. I cheated and made this with a breadmaker (which made it crazy simple), but if you lack the convenience of one you can do it on your own quite easily (but in a little longer time) with the following steps.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let sit for 10 mintues.
  3. Stir in the sugar, milk, yogurt, egg, flour and salt to form the dough
  4. Knead for 6 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Place in an oiled bowl covered with a damp paper towel or saran wrap (but not damp saran wrap) and let rise until it has doubled in size (about an hour).
  6. Punch the dough down and knead in about 2 tbsp of garlic.
  7. Pinch off into small balls of dough (as many as pieces of naan you want) and set on a tray covered with a damp towel to rise until doubled in volume (about half an hour).
  8. Roll out each ball to be about 1/2 an inch to an inch thick.
  9. Cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until nicely browned.
  10. Brush a mixture of the melted butter and garlic over the uncooked side then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
What can I really say about this naan other than it's amazing garlicy flatish bread. On its own, it's worthy of your time, but dipping it in delicious Indian food truly makes it worthy of a spot in the pantheon of your taste buds. Make sure to get it ready just as the meal begins because there's nothing like warm naan to help jumpstart the exciting food coma you have coming. For an interesting dessert take on naan, substitute sweetened coconut flakes for the garlic (if you're feeling adventurous)..

I'm glad I decided to start mixing in vegetarian dishes because my Indian bonanza was a massive hit. As I move forward with the blog (and try to combat the weight gain that inevitably comes with working), I'll try to sprinkle in vegetarian meals along the way. If I forget, keep me honest and yell at me in the comments.

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