Naan Therapy

Or should it be 'paratha' therapy …

Archive for June 2010

Rice with scallion sauce and stir fried tofu

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Bamboo rice, fried tofu and scallion sauce

Bamboo rice, fried tofu and scallion sauce

Sometimes you don’t want a fussy meal. This is a simple combination of rice and tofu with tons of flavor. It is easy to put together and nutritionally enhanced by adding some edamame pods on the side. This is great both hot and at room temperature.

Make ahead infused oil:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup szechwan peppercorn

Simmer the peppercorn gently for 20 minutes. Cool and strain. The oil can be stored for up to 6 month is refrigerator. Crush the peppers, add to equal amounts of  your favorite salt and store in a tight jar. I use the peppercorn-salt mixture on edamame pods and salads. This infused oil is inspired by Barbara Tropp’s five flavor oil in China Moon Cookbook.

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Written by Som

June 30, 2010 at 7:26 am

Calcutta street to California home – Kathi rolls unwrapped

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Home made Kathi rolls

Home made Kathi rolls

After eating Kathi rolls at Kasa, I was inspired to make this quintessential Calcutta street food at home.  When you take on such a formidable challenge, you know you are not going to win. There is nothing I can do in my California kitchen that will replicate the experience of eating outdoors at one of Calcutta’s busiest streets. Neither can I hope to replicate the rich interplay between textures and flavors that the street vendors have mastered. When my father’s generation talks about eating out during their college days, they often reminisce about these mouthwatering rolls!

So what can I hope to achieve? I can definitely beat Kasa. I can make mine with healthy, fresh, organic ingredients, mindful of the calories and the nutritional balance. I can bring my experience with modern techniques to traditional Indian cuisine to create something healthy while preserving the authenticity of tastes and flavors.

There are several key aspects to a perfect roll – the paratha, the kabab and the chutney.  These ingredients need to come together in a timely manner. The container that wraps the kababs, paratha, should be chewy and flaky. The filling itself, kabab, should be charred and juicy. The condiment, chutney, should create a taste explosion in your mouth.

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Written by Som

June 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

Gingerbread cookies with an immaculate record

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Once upon a time, a batch of gingerbread cookies turned up perfect. So perfect were they that I ate those cookies by the handful – something I hadn’t done to cookies since college days.

This gingerbread cookie recipe was from NYT. We had replaced the ground ginger by twice the amount of freshly grated ginger. While melting the butter, we had added the aromatics (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves) to toast until the flavors were released. We had also replaced the regular molasses with mild flavored one and white sugar with dark brown sugar.

Since then, we have tried multiple other recipes but they never made it to our repertoire. No amount of fiddling with the amount of butter, varitey of spices, flours, and sugar could improve these light textured, wonderfully aromatic, perfectly sized cookies. Conclusion – the combination in the NYT recipe, originally published with FOOD; Cookies for Eating and Giving as Christmas Gifts By Moira Hodgson, is perfect.


Written by Som

June 21, 2010 at 7:31 am

Cardamoms and ginger – Biscotti and Chai

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Cardamom and ginger biscotti

Cardamom and ginger biscotti

Ginger and pistachio bits seen here - cardamom aroma whafts through the kitchen

Ginger and pistachio bits seen here - cardamom aroma whafts through the kitchen

Bright specks of green from the pistachios, chewy bits of candied ginger, heavenly aroma of cardamoms and the nutty taste of wheat – and no butter….. These biscotti go very well with coffee but if you want them Indian style, you must have them with chai.

Recipe for cardamom biscotti (makes 3-4 dozen):

  • 270 gm whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 70 g shelled pistachio
  • 70 g thinly sliced candied ginger (Trader Joe’s has an uncrystallized variety that is delicious)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds

Beat the eggs and sugar together, add the remaining ingredients until a sticky dough forms. Refrigerate for 30 minutes as this will help shaping. Make into two logs and bake in a 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick. Bake further for 8-10 minutes without crowding. You may need to use more than one cookie sheet to accommodate all the biscotti. Let cool completely before storing.

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Written by Som

June 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Heart healthy breakfast bars

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Banana-chocolate bar

Banana-chocolate bar

I am sick of store bought bars – I don’t know what it is about them that makes them repulsive after one bite. So, I have been asking my husband to experiment with home made bars. The first one  he made was David’s fruitcake bar with a minor modification – an added teaspoon of fennel seeds. It turned out delicious of course, perhaps a little crumblier than a breakfast bar and a little sweeter, but delicious all the same.

The next one he attempted was Clotilde’s banana chocolate breakfast bars. This turned out great as well. For some reason, we always seem to have overripe bananas at hand, so we have made the banana bar a few times already. The recipe is highly tweakable and easy to make. In fact we put together the last batch at the end of a 14 hr long work day! The basic idea behind these banana bars is to make a matrix of solids – oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips and nut flakes, then make a gooey mix by adding in the wet components –  mashed ripe banana. In the last batch, we added a dollop of chestnut puree. Yum! To avoid the bars from drying out, I wrap individual size portions in stretch plastic and store in airtight container in the fridge. It makes them easy to carry to work for breakfast or snack.

Kathi Rolls of San Francisco

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Kasa at San Francisco, intersection of Fillmore and Filbert

Kasa at San Francisco, intersection of Fillmore and Filbert

Turkey kathi anda style @ Kasa

Turkey kathi anda style @ Kasa

Over the last year, Kasa has grown in fame for their kathi rolls, chef’s London School of Economics pedigree, and their modern hip taqueria look at the intersection of Fillmore and Filbert. Last weekend, after a long walk through the neighborhood of Pacific Heights, we found ourselves at Kasa ready to  chowdown on as many rolls as our stomach could hold.

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Written by Som

June 11, 2010 at 8:04 am

Fillmore: Jazz and Dosa

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Fillmore jazz festival is around the corner. There will be music, swing lessons, can’t forget the American Lindy Hop championships, and, inevitably, barbecue. Last year, I was at such a happy high after an hour of listening to swingin’ tunes from a time before my own that I forgot my usual wariness of San Francisco barbecue and bought a pulled pork sandwich from one of the food stalls lining the street. Even the thought of the pasty bread and the dry flavorless pork is probably killing a few neurons in the taste centers of my brain. But I have an alternative this time.

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Written by Som

June 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm