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October 2012

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spices

Tonight's Dinner: Lamb Biryani with Peas, Raita & Cilantro-Onion Naan

My kitchen smells SO good right now, y'all. Seriously. I took one shortcut on this one: I used my bread machine for the mixing, kneading, and first rise on the naan. Remember that the naan is going to take a while, so start it early in the day.

Lamb Biryani with Peas

Deliciously spiced, tender ground lamb with brown basmati rice and crisp green peas.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: about 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice

  • 3 tablespoons oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated

  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

  • 1-1/2 lb ground lamb

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1-1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


Directions

Begin by cooking your rice. Place the rice in a colander with small enough holes that the rice won't fall through. Wash and rinse the rice several (3-4) times - this will ensure that it doesn't stick together. Put rice into a bowl and cover with 2-1/2 cups water. Let soak 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Bring 3-1/2 cups water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil and stir in the rice. Immediately lower the heat to a very low simmer, cover the pot with the lid, and set your timer for 25 minutes. Do not uncover the pot at all during the cooking time!! At the end of 25 minutes, remove pot from heat but leave the cover in place. Let rest for 10 minutes.

While rice is cooking, heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeños; cook another 3 minutes. Add lamb and sauté over high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up meat.

Stir in spices and salt with 1-1/2 cups water. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas and lemon juice. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered.



Raita

This cooling yogurt-based condiment is excellent served on the side with spicy Indian dishes.

Prep: 3 minutes
Chill: at least 2 hours
Yield: 2-1/2 cups

Ingredients
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, diced finely

  • 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin


Directions

Place diced cucumber in large mixing bowl. Beat yogurt with a fork until smooth, then stir in cucumbers. Add salt and cumin, stir to mix well. Cover and chill before serving.


Cilantro-Onion Naan

This is my super-simple bread machine version of naan. Don't yell at me - I know it's not traditional, but it's delicious and easy, so there! ;)

Prep: 2 minutes
In Machine: 1 hour 10 minutes (your machine might vary!)
2nd Rise: 30 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Makes: 8 naan

Ingredients
  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp dry active yeast

  • 2/3 cup warm water

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp ghee, melted (if you don't know anything about ghee, see below!)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 tsp dried minced onion

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro


Directions

Put all ingredients into your bread machine in the order recommended in your user's manual. (I have a Hitachi HB-C103; mine starts with the water, then flour, then yeast, then other ingredients.)

Remove dough from machine after first rise finishes. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal-sized pieces, roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil a baking sheet. Roll out each dough ball to 1/4" thick and place on baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes, turning twice, brushing with melted ghee before turning each time. Naan should be golden brown and puffy.

If you'd like, you can turn on the broiler and briefly toast your naan under it, turning once.

GHEE!! Ghee is clarified butter. You can buy it at the store, or you can do it yourself. Place butter (as many sticks as you like) in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-low. When all the butter is melted, keep the heat on low and let the butter boil. What is happening here is the water is being evaporated out of the butter. A white foam will form on top of the melted butter. You can blow gently on the cooking butter to move the foam out of the way so you can see the color of the liquid. About the time that it stops boiling, the liquid should be a light amber color. Remove from heat immediately or it will burn! Let stand 30 minutes, then line a strainer with cheesecloth and pour through into a sterilized jar (or several, depending on how much you made and the size of your jars!). Ghee will keep in the fridge for several months.

Comments

Do you recommend that bread machine? I've wanted one for forever, but I can never make myself buy things until I'm pretty sure they are good. :)
i got it for $5 at goodwill. i like it well enough, really. i've only had it a couple of months but i've used it quite a few times and it gives a pretty consistently decent loaf of bread.

i'm spoiled by having homemade wild sourdough bread all through my childhood; machine-made bread is never going to live up to that.