There’s something about the darkening evenings that makes Indian food seem suddenly infinitely more appropriate – I never really feel like ordering or cooking Indian food when it’s bright and summery outside. So, with the slight pull in the evenings this week (and, to be a little more precise, the four chicken fillets defrosting in the fridge) I decided to make chicken tikka masala, cucumber raiita and homemade naan bread.
I’ll be honest and admit that I was ridiculously proud of my little naan breads. While the naan are usually my favourite part of an Indian meal, I’d never actually tried making them before and these both tasted great and were easy to make. I looked online for a recipe but found such an intimidatingly wide range of ingredients and techniques employed that I ended up sort of making up my own recipe, based loosely on one of Anjum Anand’s. Hers used baking powder, which I was a little fearful of, so I replaced it with 1tsp of yeast and duly warmed the stipulated amount of milk rather than adding it in cold. I also let mine rise for far longer than her recipe suggests and cooked them differently – on a scorchingly hot frying pan rather than under a grill.
Homemade Naan Bread
250g plain flour
130ml milk, warmed
2tbsp vegetable oil
For the topping
Onion seed (also known as ‘Nigella seed’), chopped garlic, fresh coriander etc
– Warm the milk and combine with the oil. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre, into which pour the milk and oil. Incorporate all of the liquid into flour, and bring together using your hands and the sides of the bowl. Knead on a floured work surface for at least ten minutes, adding more flour if the dough seems sticky. Rub a little oil all over the ball of dough and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about an hour and a half or two hours. Knock the air out of the dough, divide into 8 pieces and roll each out very thinly into a teardrop-shape. Rub a little oil on each side and press the onion seed into the naan. Heat a dry frying pan up as hot as you possibly can and fry each naan on either side for a minute or so, or until the dough bubbles slightly. Transfer to a warm oven to allow to cook on slightly as they are kept warm. Add a few drops of water each time you add another to your baking tray of naan in the oven. Serve with lots of chopped fresh coriander.