This week's Baking with Julia is extra special. One of the hosts for the recipe is my friend Maggie, who writes Always Add More Butter. Her blog is fantastic! You can find the Naan reicpe on there. Check it out, I know you'll enjoy it. Phyl, is the other host. You can find her blog at Of Cabbages and King Cake The recipe with week is Oasis Naan. So, what it naan? It's an Indian flatbread. Most countries have something like it. In France, they have fougasse, and uses very similar dough to make baguettes. Naan are cooked quickly, and topped with scallions, garlic or served plain. They're pillowy, and so delicious! There are so many sauces in Indian cooking. This perfect bread make a great mop for picking up that last bit of sauce.
And sauce it is! I've been feeling badly about writing and not providing any recipes. just photos. Today, I have a recipe.... without photos of the recipe process. But trust me, it's great. Gary and I love Chicken Tikka Masala. I wanted to create a recipe that tasted rich and flavorful, but didn't have the fat and calories of the restaurant version. I found a great recipe and made some substitutions. I think it turned out well, and with fresh naan, it was really good!
Here's the recipe, then on to the naan. I let the Tikka Masala simmer about 1 1/2 hours on low. The chicken was very tender and the sauce was rich and thick. Brown rice will add fiber and extra health benefits. Invite a few friends over, and have a true Indian restaurant meal!
Heart Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala
1 T oil (grapeseed, olive, canola, or vegetable)
2 small onions, chopped
2 T. grated fresh ginger
5 gloves garlic smashed, peeled and chopped
2 T ground cumin
2 T garam masala
2-3 tsp tumeric
2-3 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice), or 3-4 fresh
1 cup greek yogurt (or plain yogurt strained in a cheesecloth for about 1 hour)
1 cup skim milk
3-4 large chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch pieces
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
In a large dutch oven or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until transluscent. Add the ginger and garlic and cook at about one minute. Add the spices, and cook for about one minute more, stir often to prevent the spices and garlic from burning.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, and cook for 3-4 mintues. Add the yogurt and milk, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add chicken and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens and chicken is fully cooked. Top with sprinkles of chopped cilantro. Serve over basmati or brown rice.
The naan got an extra special treatment. I baked it in my wood oven rather than on quarry tiles. It was the only the third fire in the oven for the season, so it's still shaking off the damp, cold winter. After the oven get up to about 800 degrees, the coals die down, and all the ash is removed. The oven door is closed and the temperature equalizes throughout the oven. It's really interesting to bake with this oven. It makes the breads extra special.
I have to admit that I love quirky recipes. I think it's because I always spin bread three times, then flip it in the bowl before covering it to rise. The naan reicpe asked that you mix the dough with a wooden spoon, 100 times, all in the same direction! LOVE that! And did I do it? You bet. Exactly 100. The gluten developed beautifully.
The dough had a very long rise. About 3-4 hours. I gave it a few turns to push it down, and it didn't seem bothered at all. The rounds were easy to shape, and fun to poke. I have a docker that I rarely get to use so that was my utensil of choice. It's was almost the siize of the naan, to it came a little close to the edge.
The oven floor was 500 degrees when I started. The naan had a nice crisp bottom and light puffy top. The scallion and salt made it SO good! We ate one just as it came out of the oven, then saved the rest to go with our Tikka Masala.
What a fun meal! The perfect early summer night, great friends and great food!