Last month, I heard about crafts and cocktail party from my very creative, very hipster, and very nerdy friend, Jak; and I’ve wanted to throw one since. What happened last weekend was even better (than throwing the party) - I got invited to one!
My pièce de résistance was “Stuffed Naan”. Recipe (waaaaay) below.
Here are some pictures from that day, along with my recipe, which was a result of scavenging roughly 28 websites and 16 videos. I looked at so many that they all blended together, but this one from Food.com is a good start (to improvise and make your own).
Side note # 1: I tend to over research when it comes to recipes, and ultimately end up substituting with whatever; kinda spur of the moment. It’s usually a result of a glass of wine. I’m one of those people who glosses over recipe books before bed, but can’t follow a recipe to save my life.
And since I took small portions of my Indian spices to my friend’s place, they didn’t have labels. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, because “I’m Indian, and can totally tell them apart by smell”. FALSE. “not after 2 champagnes, I can’t!”. SO, after a while, I just threw throw spices in, but it turned out okay, and (if I may say so myself) the end result was spectacular.
Side note # 2: my mantras when cooking:
Get someone to do the chopping. Bribe if you must.
Cook less. Season more.
Taste often (please don’t go licking raw meat because “Roo said to!).
Recipes are guidelines!! – only ever loosely follow them. Unless baking, in which case, follow them diligently. Baking is a science, cooking is art (- unknown).
Have fun. Always!! If you’re not having a good time, leave the kitchen, or any room you’re in, or stop doing whatever you’re doing. - - Take a hike!! No, I mean literally, get out.. :-)
Sidenote # 3: My black maxi dress is from Max Studio, and I have it in every color ever made. I was a little annoyed to see the dress go on super sale a month after I bought mine (all 8 of them!), but hey, C'est la vie...! :-) It's now available at Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, and several shopping apps. You can also buy it at Amazon for a third of their sale price (original was $130, I think). Yay!
Anyway, Cocktail was Peach Mimosa (recipe: bubbles + peach juice. Simple!), thanks to my beautiful friend, Jen; who is such a talented writer, it makes me sick! I love her, but she makes me utterly sick .. and green with envy.
The amazingly creative Jen (below) with her “multi-piece” piece. Okay, I just want to say piece one more time. Piece! And here's Angie (also below) with her Dropbox ‘wood burning’ piece. This girl has some serious artistic talent!! She also makes me completely sick. :-)
…we laughed a lot. This was us, pretty much the entire afternoon and evening.
…played a lot! (We decided to paint each other with flour - as one is expected to, when working with flour!! I mean, it's mandatory, no?!)
…cooked a lot.
Sidenote # 4: (below) peeling ginger with a spoon = WAY more efficient. Seriously, trust me. Try it for your self.
Sidenote # 5: my nail art Below) is Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips. LOVE this stuff. It’s as easy as peel and paste. No dry time, and super duper cool designs.
…and ate a lot. And I mean a LOT.
Stuffed Naan Recipe below:
Recipe (Makes 8 Naans):
Level: Medium to Easy (the only tricky part is naan assembly)
Total time: 2 hrs (including 1 hr dough rise time)
Ingredients for Naan:
6 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 teaspoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm milk
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little extra (for the bowl)
1 cup greek yoghurt, lightly beaten(I like full fat; always)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Ingredients for stuffing:
1.5 pounds minced lamb or crumbled paneer (cottage cheese)
5 tablespoons oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
4 green chilies, finely chopped (or to taste; optional)
3 tablespoons tomato puree
2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste; optional)
4 teaspoon coriander powder
3 teaspoon garam masala powder
3 teaspoons cumin powder
¾-1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
6 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Ghee/ clarified butter (optional)
To make naan dough:
Stir in milk and sugar.Gently stir in yeast. Let is sit till mixture gets good any bubbly, approximately 10 mins.
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder. Add oil, yoghurt, beaten egg in a bowl, and pour in yeast-milk mixture, and mix it all together to form a ball of dough.
Knead it for about 10 minutes.
Line a bowl (and dough ball) with oil, cover in cling wrap, and set aside till dough doubles in size (approximately 1 hour on a warm day). I like to keep mine in a turned OFF oven.
While waiting for dough to rise, prepare stuffing (below).
To make naan stuffing:
Heat oil in a pan (medium-high heat), fry the onion till golden brown. Add ginger and garlic and stir for a minute or two.
Add the minced lamb/ paneer, chopped chillies, all spices and salt and stir fry till nicely browned.
Add in tomato puree, and let the mixture cook thoroughly, stirring occasionally, till all the liquid have evaporated. This is important for the sanctity of the nan!! I kid you not. This is important!!!
Cool completely, then mix in the chopped coriander leaves.
Preheat frying pan.
Punch down the dough and knead it again and divide into 10 equal balls.
Flatten the ball using your hands (or rolling pin), roll it out slightly and then place about ½ cup of the mince stuffing in the centre and pull the edges up, seal and shape into a ball again. I like to use the same amount of stuffing as the size of the dough ball.
Roll out the stuffed naan. Trick is to keep the ‘folded or sealed’ side down, and keep your work surface lightly dusted with flour.
Place naan on pan, and brown on one side, before flipping over
For you lazy people, not serving naans immediately, keep them warm in the oven (on lowest setting) – I like to place naans on the stove top for 60 seconds on high heat, so you’re not serving a soggy naan (oven can do that sometimes).
Coat surface with clarified butter or olive oil, just before serving.