A year and a half ago, I went with a group of fellow college students to India for a three-week anthropology crash course on globalization. There were about 20 of us in the whole gaggle, standing out like sore thumbs with bulky cameras hanging around our necks and gaping open mouths at the sights of slums and the Taj Mahal. To be honest, we learned nothing about globalization - but we did learn a whole heck of a lot about life, and food. I swore after those three weeks of dipping strange foods into even stranger sauces that I would never eat Indian food again. It just never sat well with me (though I'm sure the sights, smells and sounds around me at the time didn't help).
Now, over a year later, I'm slowly coming around again to the idea of gulab jamun, murgh makhani and perhaps the most well-known Indian food, naan.
I kid you not, my friends and I spent nearly the whole three weeks eating nothing but naan (except that one hotel we stayed at that served omelettes and apple pie a la mode, which I promise you I ate every day we were there. Oh, and that night we went to Pizza Hut. Best. Pizza. Ever.). To say the least, I was "naan-ed" out when I got home, though I do love the bread. It's like the pita bread of Asia - extremely versatile in taste and texture, and useful as an edible utensil, as well. Plus, it's simple to make but still substantial in flavor.
There are probably a billion ways to make naan
. Being that I'm partial to healthy foods, I made mine with half whole-wheat flour and half white bread flour. I also decided to use milk instead of yogurt and vegetable oil instead of ghee (clarified butter, something I don't have just lying around the house). It turned out a little differently than what I ate in India (as I'm now an expert on naan, having eaten so dang much of it), but it still sufficed as an incredible shovel by which my husband scooped our rice and potato curry dinner into his mouth. And it warmed me up a little more to the world of Indian cuisine.
Stephanie (aka Girl versus Dough) has joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie's Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!