Friday, April 22, 2011

Palak Paneer and Cilantro Naan

Thanks to Brandie of The Country Cook for coming up with Household6 Cooking Club's  challenge/theme for April.  She gave us a task to create a meal or a dish from a country you have been stationed in, lived in, visited, or would like to visit (America excluded). It can be a main dish, side dish, dessert or drink or all of the above. Tell us the story of why you chose it and if it has any special meaning to you or your family.
This challenge was so difficult for me to narrow down. I wanted to pick so many countries. Japan, Spain, France, Thailand, Laos. I was going to do Laos then decided on India. I've never been to India, but I would love to go. Walk up and down the open air markets, the smell of spices in the air. The hustle and bustle of people, so much to see and do. So I made this meal for my family. What about you? What country would you have picked?

Indian Meal
Chicken Tikka Masala
Palak Paneer
Whole Wheat Cilantro Naan
(I also made some coconut flour pancakes so I could have some bread to soak up all juices from the meal.)
I also put out the candy coated fennel seeds- which we all love, even Pixie loves them.

Palak Paneer
Here is the recipe for Palak Paneer that I used LINK. I used homemade yogurt, and added other spices- like hot peppers to add spice. I also used one 16 ounce bag of spinach in place of the fresh spinach. I did not puree any of it. I just prefer my spinach in cut leaves.
We all loved it. Except the paneer, which I liked because I've had it before. Diva just kept eating more and more spinach. Piglet liked the cheese and spinach. Pixie ate a bite of cheese and some spinach. Oh well. I'll be making this again with no paneer.

Whole Wheat Cilantro Naan
 You can use butter to brush the Naan after cooking but I love Ghee/Clarified butter and use it any chance I get. You'll get better flavor from it also.

I put cilantro and onion on this as I rolled it out.
Whole wheat Naan I made a couple of weeks ago.

 Whole Wheat Cilantro Naan

15 ¼ ounce (3 ½ cups) all purpose flour - I used half whole wheat in the recipe above and all whole wheat in the picture at the very bottom of this post
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) milk 
2 teaspoon sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
  2 tablespoons, melted Ghee (Plus more for brushing on hot Naan)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

I put all the ingredients (except the chopped cilantro)  into my bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. Peek into the bread machine and make sure the dough is coming together during the first knead cycle. Add a little flour if needed. Before the cycle was complete I preheated my cast iron pan- make sure it's well seasoned. Get it smoking hot. Separate the dough into equal sizes. Sprinkle a little cilantro on one dough ball and  roll it out. It shouldn't be paper thin, but not thick (see picture below).  Put it on the hot pan. I find that I get more big bubbles on my Naan if I put 1 tablespoon of water in the pan, away from the actual dough then quickly cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 30 seconds and remove the lid. Check the underside of the Naan to see if it's done, flip over and cook for 30 seconds more. Brush each piece of Naan with melted Ghee.

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