September 20, 2023
Originating in ancient Egypt and brought to India by the Persians, naan is one the most popular flatbreads in India. For hundreds of years, it was the part of the decadent cuisine of royal households that did not extend to their subjects. Even today, naan is not commonly found in homes as they are made in large tandoors; barrel shaped wood or charcoal fired clay ovens heated to over 600 degrees F. Restaurants are where most folks go to get naans as home ovens are not common in India. Here in the west, if you have a pizza stone or a hot surface to put bread on, you can make naans at home. Taking a page out of my own book, I adapted the royal naan recipe from Masala to give this bread a thick fluffier consistency yet kept the spirit of a naan intact. I added plums, onions, and seasonings on top. Serve it with yogurt tossed with cumin and black pepper, bean spreads, flavored oils, or ghee as a starter or to accompany a hearty stew.
September 11, 2023
There are few fruits quite as glorious as a ripe black mission fig. Historians believe that figs are as old as humankind and the drought resistant fig tree is one of the first plants to be cultivated during ancient times. While one can prepare jams and chutneys from fresh figs, this often does injustice to their ripe beauty. The best way to enjoy a fig is as a dessert, simply sliced and drizzled with honey or chocolate or as an appetizer with minimal seasoning. Here are figs dipped in melted butter and rolled in sesame seeds and nuts. The butter can be seasoned with salt, red chile or finely minced herbs of your choice. This recipe may be simple but biting into this luscious buttery sesame crusted fig is a luxurious experience. Just eat it as it or place it on warm toast or over marinated greens.
September 04, 2023
Growing up in an entirely vegetarian state of Gujarat where even eggs were considered ‘non-veg’ and eggless cakes abound, egg dishes were not the norm. French toast may be well-known here and in France, of course but it’s almost unheard of in most of Asia or at least it was in the era that I was growing up. However, toast dipped in a savory egg batter with spices and fried in ghee was a popular breakfast in our family circle. My favorite was this version with a seasoned cheese mixture sandwiched in the middle of 2 slices. Almost like grilled cheese colliding with a French toast but leaving the sugar in its wake. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser and is quick to make from ingredients easy to find in your refrigerator.