Look up! I just flew by! No, not in the Chinese spy balloon. I’m in an airplane, off for a quick visit to a very dear friend, and I’ll be back late Monday. Whee!
Meanwhile, here’s what we ate this week:
Or really tostadas without beans, because something happened that I honestly never thought would happen: We ran out of tortillas. We’ve had a ludicrous tortilla backlog for so long, I had truly forgotten that it was something you need to buy at some point. So I did not, and so a few people had soft tortillas with stale edges, and a few people had rather elderly crunchy tostada shells.
They were fine. We were hungry. And that has made all the difference.
Chicken sorta-caprese sandwiches, chips
Chicken breasts were on sale, so I broiled them with olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper, sliced them, and served them on baguettes with tomato and basil and miscellaneous cheese. The miscellaneous cheese part was tolerable, but then it turned out we were out of balsamic vinegar, which caused a stir. I had mine with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
It was fine. Honestly, I will eat just about anything on a baguette. I would eat a baguette sandwich, like bread on bread. Serve it in a bread bowl, I don’t care.
Monday, Damien and I had to go to a meeting at 5:30, so I set the kids up with lots of ramen and leftover chicken, crunchy noodles and a few vegetables and eggs and things, and told them to have what they wanted. We two went to Wendy’s, and I had some kind of burger with crunchy fried onions on it. My word, it was delicious. I rarely have a burger and fries at a fast food place, but every once in a while, yes.
Chicken biryani and naan
Oh, now here we go. I’m thinking a lot about Indian food, but I wanted to get started with a recipe I’ve tried before, so I made this mild chicken biryani. As I remarked on Facebook, of all the cuisines I have attempted to cook, Indian food is the most straight up fun. All the colors, and of course all the smells. It’s just a good time.
So in this recipe, you sear the chicken thighs in oil, then cook up your onion and ginger, then turmeric and cardamom in the oil, then add the jasmine rice in, put the chicken back in, and add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, golden raisins, and chicken broth. Cover it up and let all those beautiful flavors meld together as the rice cooks.
I know from experience that the rice is always still a little chompy at the end, so I make it in the morning and then move it to the slow cooker and keep it warm all day. (Full disclosure, I managed to slop a lot of the chicken broth out onto the floor, so there wasn’t really enough liquid in it and it turned out chompy anyway. But still delicious!)
I also really wanted to make naan, and I had pretty good luck with the King Arthur recipe last time. My bread flour had mysteriously disappeared, and I also mysteriously got it into my head that I wanted to knead it by hand, rather than using the stand mixer. I don’t know why, and I don’t know why I didn’t change my mind when it became apparent that it wasn’t going well, but that is what I did. I kneaded that dough forehhhhhhhver and it just didn’t get any smoother, but stayed all knobbly and mottled.
So eventually I gave up and set it to rise, and did this and that, and came back and cut it into 24 pieces, and decided I really didn’t have time to fry it before it was time to go.
And that was probably the first good decision I made with this naan, because waiting until just before dinner to cook it meant that Corrie was home, and she wanted to help. Guess what? She was genuinely helpful.
Naan cooks up really quickly, in less than two minutes, so you want to be rolling out one piece to get it ready while the first piece is frying. You throw it on a very hot, dry pan and watch for it to start forming these bubbles
and then flip it over and cook it for an even shorter time, and that’s how naan gets those characteristic brown circles. They are fried bubbles.
Anyway, Corrie was great at it. She has a wonderful feel for cooking, and doesn’t get flustered, and immediately figured out what to watch for and how to time it.
She brushed each piece of naan with melted butter as it came off the pan, and we had piping hot bread to go with the biryani, which we topped with toasted silvered almonds and chopped cilantro.
Splendid meal. Delightful.
What next for Indian food? I need more ideas! I get overwhelmed and I never know what to do next.
Korean beef bowl
Wednesday was busy-busy-busy, and I didn’t have a chance to start dinner until it was evening. Korean beef bowl to the rescue.Jump to Recipe
Even with fresh ginger and fresh garlic, it comes together super fast, all in one pot, and it’s just tasty and satisfying.
I made a pot of rice in the Instant Pot and chopped up some scallions, and there it was. It actually came together so fast that it was done by 5:00, and suddenly realized I could actually get a yoga workout in before dinner. Which I did, very grudgingly and wobbly-ly.
The worst part was, fresh off a workout, I only felt like eating one reasonable portion of food, and then I was completely satiated. Which is baloney. It’s propaganda, that’s what it is.
First of all, I would like to say that if I were a grocery store selling fresh SAGE, and some lady who has already been to two stores came in looking for fresh OREGANO, this is NOT HOW I WOULD PACKAGE IT.
Humph. Anyway, if anyone needs some sage, come see me. I don’t even like sage. Wanted oregano. Don’t care if it’s organic.
Nevertheless, I forged ahead and made a nice marinadeJump to Recipe
with fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, DRIED oregano, red onion, honey, and olive oil, and got the pork sliced and marinating by 10:30. Sliced up some more red onions, cubed a bunch of feta cheese, made some yogurt sauce with garlic and fresh lemon juice,Jump to Recipe
chopped up some mint leaves, and cut up a bunch of cucumbers. I briefly considered prepping some eggplant to fry, but that seemed like a bridge too far.
Dinner time hove around and I pan-fried the meat in batches
and cooked a few pans of seasoned fries, and set out the meat and fries and all my prepped toppings with pita bread. And some hot sauce.
SO GOOD. So tender and juicy. This particular recipe is a lot more herby and sweet than spicy, but you can add as much heat as you want with the hot sauce, and be generous with the garlicky yogurt sauce, and it’s fab. When I was done eating, I had to wipe off not only my phone but my glasses.
Pasta with Marcella Hazan’s red sauce
At least I think so!Jump to Recipe
Damien is shopping and cooking this weekend as I flit and float away like a giant balloon, but please do not shoot at me. I mean no harm. I promise to come home again.
Korean Beef Bowl
A very quick and satisfying meal with lots of flavor and only a few ingredients. Serve over rice, with sesame seeds and chopped scallions on the top if you like. You can use garlic powder and powdered ginger, but fresh is better. The proportions are flexible, and you can easily add more of any sauce ingredient at the end of cooking to adjust to your taste.
- 1 cup brown sugar (or less if you're not crazy about sweetness)
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 3-4 inches fresh ginger, minced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 lb2 ground beef
- scallions, chopped, for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
In a large skillet, cook ground beef, breaking it into bits, until the meat is nearly browned. Drain most of the fat and add the fresh ginger and garlic. Continue cooking until the meat is all cooked.
Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes the ground beef and stir to combine. Cook a little longer until everything is hot and saucy.
Serve over rice and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
honey garlic marinade for gyros
Marinate thin strips of pork for several hours, then grill or broil. This is a mild, somewhat sweet marinade that makes the meat quite tender.
- 4-5 lbs pork shoulder or butt, sliced into thin strips
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- small bunch fresh rosemary, chopped
- small bunch fresh oregano, chopped
- 32 oz full fat Greek yogurt
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- fresh parsley or dill, chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. Use for spreading on grilled meats, dipping pita or vegetables, etc.
Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce
We made a quadruple recipe of this for twelve people.
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes, broken up
- 1 onion peeled and cut in half
- salt to taste
- 5 Tbsp butter
Put all ingredients in a heavy pot.
Simmer at least 90 minutes.
Take out the onions.
I'm freaking serious, that's it!
5 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 237: Creative naan compliance”
I always enjoy seeing what you’ve cooked, and sometimes pick a new recipe!
This is where I get most of the recipes I use (not only the Indian ones), as they just never fail (as long as I kind-of follow the directions): https://www.recipetineats.com/category/indian-recipes/
Apologies for the lack of line breaks! That comment was supposed to be a few paragraphs.
I will precede all of this by saying that I am not Indian, but my partner’s family is from Karnataka (south India), and I’ve been to a few different cities in India. Here is my experience as a non-Indian person who likes to cook and has gotten more into recipes from the region.
Re: Indian food: I think that right now you’re looking at a lot of north Indian recipes. (Which makes sense; most of the Indian restaurants in America are, for our purposes, north Indian.) One thing that’s fascinating about Indian food is the amount of culinary diversity, so if you want to try something new, you might want to look at some South Indian recipes. Different regions have different cuisines, but in my experience, dishes tend to be a bit lighter, tangier, spicier, and more vegetable-focused; honestly, something like Tamil food (which is, roughly speaking, from the state of Tamil Nadu*) is going to be as different from what you might see in a north Indian restaurant in the States as gumbo is from clam chowder.
I suspect that it will be easier to dive in with meat-centric recipes. There’s a very rich vegetarian tradition in south India with a lot of delicious dishes, but you might find that those recipes are so different that they’re hard to cook until you’ve tasted them. (Think: a coconut-yogurt-vegetable stew that also has beans in it, but somehow all the beans disappear when you cook them, but also you definitely can’t leave them out. And every recipe spells the ingredients slightly differently.) What I would start with is Googling a region or a city + whatever protein you’re interested in; because many dishes are associated with a particular place, that should lead to a variety of options. A few to consider might be:
– Chettinad (from the city of Chettinad, in Tamil Nadu, a state in the South)
– Kerala (beach state furthest south, lots of coconut and seafood)
– Goa (island, lots of coconut, Portuguese influence)
– Hyderabadi (from the city of Hyderabad, in Telangana – technically more central but still gets lumped in)
– Andhra (from the state of Andhra Pradesh; they’re known for very spicy food)
Googling something like “Andhra chicken” or “Kerala fish” will lead to a wide variety of recipes. You might even find some pork; it’s not super common given the Muslim population, but I think in Kerala in particular (which has a lot of Christians, as you no doubt know) there are a few pork dishes, and searching “Kerala pork” brought me several recipes for pork curry and “pork fry” (basically a stir fry).
This, in turn, will probably also lead you to a lot of different food blogs, and in my experience, if a food blog has one south Indian recipe, it will have a hundred more. A few good blogs that I’ve found for pan-Indian food, including south Indian, are Hebbars Kitchen, Archana’s Kitchen, Kannamma Cooks, and My Cooking Journey.
Good luck! I love your efforts to cook from different places. 🙂
*More specifically, it’s the cuisine of the Tamils, who Wikipedia describes as an ethnolinguistic group. But even that gets tricky, because there are all sorts of different subgroups (region, religion, caste sort of, etc.), each of which may have different cuisines, and recent Hindu nationalist BS has made even the act of saying that one food belongs to one people kind of dicey. Also, Tamils live outside of Tamil Nadu too. Anyway, that’s why it’s sometimes easier to use a place name in looking for different types of food.
Two of my kids love chicken tikka masala. Count me among the ones in our fam who don’t even like how it smells. On a side note: My daughter is going to an Indian wedding in the Spring and is having tons of fun buying the appropriate outfits for the four day celebration. She’s only supposed to wear western clothes for one event. All the others say traditional (Indian) attire on the Invitations.
My daughter got me an Indian cookbook a few Christmases ago, and I’ve enjoyed making Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower – so good), Chicken Tikka (which can be done on sheet pans in the oven, so it seems like it would be right up your alley?), and Saag Paneer (spinach and cheese – make sure you chop the spinach in a food processor and it gets wonderfully silky once you cook it). And fresh naan is always a hit – I’m glad you found someone to cook it off for you! 🙂