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Notes from a Sketchy Kitchen: Week 2

Ya’ll ready for a lil recap? 

This week, Week 2 (Sunday, January 31st to today Saturday, February 6), was all about some naan balls and dips to make for your Super Bowl party! We had a recipe for skillet naan balls & spicy saag artichoke dip and butter chicken monkey bread. And then there was Geethanjali. OMG, ya’ll, much gratitude for the outpouring of support for her. The more YOU cook, the less likely she’ll be married off to a whackadoo goonda or anyone else for that matter.

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Now that we’ve settled that, let’s move on to some cooking tips and explorations.

BAKE LIKE NAAN OTHER

First, let’s address the naan recipe. I can’t take complete credit for it and I love to give props where props are deserved.

I badly wanted a reliable recipe for naan that didn’t require yeast. My online search for tried and tested recipes lead me to Chef De Home’s Homemade No Yeast Garlic Butter Naan. So. Damn. Delicious. It has become by go-to recipe when I’m craving naan and want to quickly make it at home.

However, you’ll notice that I used bread flour in my naan recipes this week although Chef De Home’s version calls for all-purpose flour. Why the departure? Lemme break it down.

I found myself jonesing for naan one night and wanted to try and make baked naan balls because, erhm, why not? I didn’t have all-purpose flour at home and was too lazy to make a grocery run. I did, however, have a lot of bread flour leftover from a catering gig.  

I had naan on my brains and there was no going back. I wondered what would happen if I swapped out AP flour with the bread flour.  

I am so friggin happy I did a little exploring because the naan turned out incredible – soft, buttery, and pillowy; and perfect to eat as little rolls to mop up curries and dips. 

But here’s the thing – bread flour is designed to be used with yeasted baking. So I’ll be upfront with you – I committed a baking faux pas for using bread flour without yeast. BUT I was still able to arrive at friggin delicious and texturally superior naan balls so booyah…right?! Using it sans yeast ain’t gonna kill you or have you friggin arrested by the bread police, so it’s all good. 

And, umm, helloooo, I made up naan balls anyway so I figure I can make my own rules when baking these mofos, too, right?

Right.

Screw you, purists.

Having said that, know this: you could use all purpose flour in either of the recipes I shared with ya’ll this week and they’ll come out just as fabulous. 

I don’t experiment with different flours in my cooking simply because, other than a rather obsessive romance with southern biscuit baking some years ago, I don’t often cook a lot of bread/flatbreads at home, or at work for that matter. But different flours and the texture and mouthfeel that they can impart is slowly becoming a fascination of mine. 

There are a lot of helpful resources online. Below are a few starter articles I’ve earmarked for my own edification. I’m sharing them with you as well.

For a quick read and general understanding of the differences between flours, read The Kitchn’s What’s the Difference?

Want more? Oh, I got more. Check it out! 

photo source: Joy the Baker
photo source: Joy the Baker

How to Make the Perfect Naan Bread

How & When to Swap Bread Flour for All-Purpose

Baking 101: The Difference Between Baking Flours

I’ll keep sharing what I learn. I’m sure in the weeks to come I’ll revisit naan and both leavened and unleavened versions of it sooo…be on the lookout! 

GOING NAAN-STOP

Speaking of naan, check out this card I’m selling for Valentine’s Day –

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And get this: this card, along with others, were featured on NBC News Asian America! To read the article, click here

Just between us, I’m also working on a line of foodie greeting cards so 2016 is gonna bring a whole lotta more sketchiness. In the meantime, there will recipes and testing galore.

If this week was all about naan in ball form, then next week is samosa week! The form it’ll take is just something you’ll have to check back in to see. 😉 

Aaaaand speaking of samosas, check out Samosas: Tracing the Culinary Origins of the World’s Most Beloved Pastry, written by yours truly. Here’s a hint ya’ll: samosas were NOT born in India. Pom pom pommmm. Also, there’s an easy to follow recipe for cheese sambusak.

sambusak

Want more recipes for Indian food from me? Visit the Food Section of India.com to read my articles this week. You can get tips on how to morph canned foods into some seriously delicious dishes, how to give desi twists to classic American comfort foods, how to create classic East Indian seafood recipes, and much MUCH more! 

Fuck, do I sound cars salesy?! I don’t mean to, I’m just excited about all the cooking and fooding and eating! OK, I think we should end here. Have a kickass Super Bowl Sunday! If you end up making either naan dishes for your party, be sure to take pictures and tag me on Instagram at sketchy_desi!

Balle! Balle! Balle, ya’ll! Happy Saturday! 

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