Beef Stuffed Naan

We’ve been working on Naan dough which is deceptively simple. The ingredients in Naan dough are; all-purpose flour, yeast, yogurt, a little milk and a little water. The first time we made it we started the yeast foaming by adding 1 teaspoon sugar to a yeast packet and 1/2 cup warm water. We then let it sit to foam until it looked like this (about 10 minutes):

While the yeast was getting active, we took 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and put it into a bowl. Then added 3/4 cup yogurt and stirred gently and added 1 teaspoon salt and the yeast and water. The dough should hold together but be quite liquidy. You might need to add a little milk, you might not. Set aside and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes. The first time we did this the dough it was very difficult to handle, very sticky and once formed into balls required a lot of rolling in flour for the Naan to get the right consistency.

But the results at this dinner were amazing. It was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. It was light and airy and I didn’t want to share. At. All.

Armed with our success,  Shiva and I both, separately, made Naan again, and though the results were good, honestly, neither of our results were quite as good as they were that night. Which meant it was time to experiment.

Taking the same principles and ingredients Shiva changed two things. He didn’t activate the yeast in water, so that took out 1/2 cup water, and once the yogurt and milk were added he kneaded the dough for 8-10 minutes and then let it rise.

This dough was MUCH easier to handle.

Shiva broke of palm sized balls and made round flat disks out of them just with his fingers, no rolling-pin necessary.

The Naan was then filled with the beef.

And sealed up.

The Naan dough remained, elastic, and a ‘joy to work with,’ as Shiva put it. We popped them into the oven at 400F, cooked for 10 minutes ending up with savory, bundles of goodness.

Shiva made some nice cooling Raita to dip the packets into or just to eat with a spoon. Admittedly, this wasn’t the healthiest meal I had eaten all week, but it was delicious.

Savory Beef Filling

for 8 large stuffed Naan

1 lb lean organic ground beef

1 tomato, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or paste

1 teaspoon garlic, minced or paste

2 bay leaves

1 green cardamon pods cracked

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garam marsala

1 teaspoon cumin

4 cloves

1 decent sized piece of cinnamon from a stick, but not the whole stick, Shiva broke his apart with a hammer

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 bunch cilantro roughly chopped.

Cook the beef over a medium high heat in a separate pan until the pink is gone. Drain off as much of the fat as possible. In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons neutral nut oil add the turmeric, chili, cumin and garam marsala and cook until fragrant then add onions and cook for 30 seconds, add the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Now, add all remaining spices including the ginger and garlic. When the onions and tomatoes are very soft, about 7 minutes, add the beef and cilantro and stir for 2 minutes, until well blended. Pull out the whole spices at this point. The filling can be made ahead of time.

Naan

2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour

3/4 cup good quality yogurt

1 packet dry active yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk (about)

Put flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix well. Add yogurt and stir, add milk as necessary until dough holds together, but keep it a little on the sticky side. Turn onto floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough gets that lovely elastic but not yet plastic consistency. Put back in bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

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