When I made naan recently, I told you all that I ate it with some green lentil dal. That probably didn’t mean much to some of you. If I were reading this about a month ago I would be just as lost as you most likely are. Here’s just a little background I learned through some major internet researching (Google, anyone?). “Dal” can actually mean a split lentil, pea, or bean. You might be thinking that I’m talking in circles because now all you know is that I made green lentil…split lentils. So helpful for you all. You’re welcome!
To be fair, “dal” can also mean a stew-like dish prepared with, well, dal. So turns out I’m not completely losing it! This means that in the simplest terms, this dish is a green lentil stew. Often served with rice and bread (hence, the naan), this dish is oh-so-much-more than just a stew. It’s full of flavor and spices that will make your mouth wonder why it has never tasted something so delicious before. Want. more. now!
*Side note: I’m not a pro at Indian cuisine, or any cuisine for that matter. This is seriously delicious stuff but don’t look at me for the traditional recipe that your great aunt twice removed from India used to make. I probably don’t have it here.
This is a vegetarian dish, which is cool. I’m not vegetarian and my husband is most definitely not a vegetarian. Every so often I try some tasty vegetarian dishes but if Travis had it his way we would probably be eating steak and chicken every day. Mostly steak. BUT, I must say that it’s big news that Travis actually told me this dish is a keeper and not a bit of meat was to be found. Must mean it’s pretty darn good without it. Just saying.
Green Lentil Dal
A delicious and vegetarian Indian green lentil stew served with rice and naan.
I have a confession. I do believe that when I made and ate this naan, it was the first naan I ever ate. EVER! Can you even believe that?? I am so ashamed. I feel like I’ve been living under a rock. If you’ve never eaten fresh naan before, I think it’s safe to say you’re living under a rock too. A very sad rock…with no naan. Don’t worry though, I was right with you there until recently.
Whether you’ve had naan many, many times or whether this is your first time, you won’t be disappointed. These little guys are fluffy and light and chewy. Oh, and the garlic butter. Yeah. Enough said. I actually forgot to put the garlic butter on my first few naan because I didn’t know any better. Add the garlic butter. It’s wonderful either way…But trust me, add the butter.
Naan is the perfect pair for many dishes! Try it with chicken tikka masala. Hello wonderful Indian food. I made mine with some lentil dhal (dahl? I’m still figuring that one out. HELP!). However you spell it…it was AMAZING! I think I even ate some leftovers with some hummus. Yum yum.
I’ll be honest, the naan is best within the first day or two but you can store it a couple of days in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil. Just make sure to wrap it up tight. If it starts to get a little hard, microwave for a few seconds and it should soften up a bit!
Delicious homemade naan that will leave your mouth watering!
Stir warm water and honey in your stand mixer bowl until the honey dissolves. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir with a fork. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture becomes foamy.
Using a dough hook on your stand mixer, put mixer on low speed and gradually add the yogurt, salt, baking powder, egg, and flour.
Mix on medium-low for 2-3 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased (with cooking spray or olive oil) bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, melt the butter in a small saute pan. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Strain out the garlic and set the butter aside.
Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured surface and separate into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll into a circle about 1/4" thick.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat. Butter one side of the rolled out naan dough and place buttered side down in the heated pan. Once in the pan, butter the other side. Let cook for about 1 minute on the first side, flip, and cook for another 30-60 seconds.
Keep naan covered with a kitchen towel until ready to serve. Sprinkle with cilantro to serve, optional.
You will know that the naan is getting ready to flip when large bubbles start to form.
I first had chicken tikka masala a couple of years ago at a nice little Indian restaurant near college with some friends. It looked fairly typical. Chicken. Rice. Reddish, orange sauce. Little did I know I was going to have a flavor EXPLOSION in my mouth. Wow, I was in for a delicious surprise.
In very general terms, tikka masala is a tomato and cream based sauce with a slew of spices added. It’s very hard to describe to someone who has never had it but it’s a flavor that you will for sure remember once you have had it. It’s kind of spicy and earthy and warm. Yeah…that was a horrible description. I don’t even know what that means. Needless to say, I am seriously drooling right now and wondering how I can come up with a last minute version of this with what is in my house because we are out of leftovers.
Before I had this dish at that Indian restaurant, I never really even knew what tikka masala was let alone attempt to make it! Now I LOVE to make it and crave it often. As in I crave it every time I am coming up with the weekly menu.
Now, this is for sure not a recipe based off of traditional Indian cooking techniques. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re probably better off somewhere else. I grew up Slovak in a house where pierogi and stuffed cabbage were the menu items, not Indian cuisine. However, I find this dish delicious and packed with flavors similar to what I remember from my first tikka masala experience. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and curry powder. Sear chicken until just cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add butter to the skillet. When the butter is melted, add the onion and sauté until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Add the cumin, salt, ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric. Sauté 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in whipping cream, paprika, and sugar. Simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return chicken to the skillet with the sauce and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over rice.
This can get pretty spicy depending on how much cayenne pepper you add. If you do not like it spicy, try using the 1/2 teaspoon (or less) of cayenne pepper. This is definitely best over rice because the rice gets coated in the delicious sauce as well.