Monday, October 8, 2012

Salted Apple Cider Caramel and a Side of Naan

Two great tastes that um, well, no. You see, we left for Austin on Sunday morning, and I typically make something crazy on Saturday. With no place for whatever I made to go, I scaled it down a bit. While I figured I could get off my lazy arse and attempt a homemade naan to go with what was left of our Sag Paneer, I also wanted to do something in the spirit of the season. I had a jug of apple cider in my fridge, and a pretty constant desire to get this caramel thing down right (previous installments have had near phantom of the opera results)

 The secret to caramel, you see, is to actually leave it the hell alone. Not just say that you're going to, but actually do it. Multi-task, but multi-task in your kitchen so that you can keep an eye on it. For instance....Make some Naan.

Naan for the Lazy - Adapted from Veena Chopra's Indian Vegetarian

2 3/4 cups Flour 
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tblsp Soy Yogurt 
6 Tblsp Coconut Milk (leave room for more)
2 Tblsp Earth Balance
 1 tsp Nigella/Charnushka Seeds (optional)

I picked up the Nigella seeds from, you guessed it, Penzeys. I wouldn't put it past me to name my firstborn, Penzey. We all have our addictions.

When I first had naan with these seeds in it, I thought they were bits of char from the oven. The best way I can describe their taste is: familiar. Try it and see if it doesn't remind you of that implacable something from your childhood. Backyard grills, or blue skies, it haunts me still. Do you have to have these seeds? Of course not. 'Have to' and 'should' are two very different things.

Preheat your oven to 450 ° 
Mix your flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut the earth balance into the dough until it reaches a small pebbles state. It's best if you use your hands in this one. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in your soy yogurt, seeds if you have them, and coconut milk. Combine everything until it comes together into a ball, try not to over work it. If the 6 tablespoons of coconut milk are not enough, add more by the tablespoon until everything comes together. I'm going to tell you right now, mine was dry, you don't want that. You want a silken, smooth texture. So don't do this when you're distracted about having to be stuck a mile up in the air in a small metal tube for 4 hours, it could mess with your naan mojo. Let the dough rest for a half an hour. 

This dough is dry. Don't let this be your dough. I'm an honest person, I could tell you that this was the greatest thing I ever made. That the resulting naan was so good that I was instantly transported to my favorite Indian restaurant and all my naan related troubles vanished for good, but no. I won't do that to you. I'll give you the nitty gritty and the skinned knees of it all, and give you the tips to make yours work. Hell, I'm not even sure if naan has two 'a's in it, but it does now, baby. It does now.

Divide your silky, smooth dough into 4-6 pieces and arrange them on a parchment lined sturdy baking tray. Brush the top of the naan with lightly water. As you may notice, I did not do that.

 Bake for 10 minutes, or until browned, flip, and brush the top with water. Bake another 10 minutes or until golden. If your naan are smaller, start off with 5 minutes and go from there.

Brush tops with some earth balance, or even coconut oil. Me, I got some nice naan frisbees. You, you will do better. I have faith in you.

 With the kinda bad also comes the good, as it is with so many things. I cheered myself up with some salted apple cider caramel in my latte. When I get home, I may bake it into a pie. Or maybe just sit in the corner cradling the jar murmuring 'preciousssss' Whatever I decide to do with it, it shall be delicious. You know I'm just going to eat it straight up, right? Just so we're clear here.


Mandee said...

Mmm. that caramel looks delicious! Shame about the naan ;)

Mihl said...

I love nigella seeds. I like your description about bits of char from the oven.

I have always had good results with yeasted naan. I hope next time you find a recipe that works better.