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Naan Bread

My Bread making challenge is back and today it is in the form of Naan bread. Yesterday I made hummus and we have all of the ingredients in the cabinet to make curry so I figured Naan bread would be a great match. I found a recipe that seemed pretty fuss free, required a few ingredients and didn't even involve the use of my oven which means that all of my chingoos in Korea who are reading this entry-you too can make this recipe using your fry pan and your gas range!

Instead of using water to activate the yeast, as most bread recipes do, this one used warmed milk. I let the milk and yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes while I prepared my dry ingredients in a bowl. Once I added the milk to the dry goods, I was impressed at how quickly they all came together and the lack of stickiness in the dough. I turned over the bowl to knead the dough for about 10 minutes or so until it was smooth and elastic. The recipe required the dough to be covered with a damp tea towel but since today is laundry day, I realized a little too late that I didn't have any that were not in the process of being whipped around in my washing machine, so I needed to improvise. Rob came to the rescue by offering a freshly washed and dried white t-shirt. We slightly dampened it and placed it over top of the bowl. Then we allowed it to rise under our bed-which was the only dark place that we could find mid-afternoon. I know both of these things are extremely unconventional and probably violate every cooking law in the book-but I am making do with what I have here. I left my dough to hang out in our bedroom and found myself instantly involved in other mundane Sunday type of activities.

A few hours later, I took the dough out from its nap and divided it into 10 small balls. I rolled each one out into some sort of thin blob shape because I found that trying to create a triangle, as stated in the recipe, was dumb. I have eaten Naan bread a countless number of times and have never seen one in the shape of a triangle so why should I be the one to change that. I brushed each one with water and placed in a buttered skillet and cooked for a few minutes on each side. I added chopped roasted garlic to one side of the bread because Garlic Naan is the next best thing to Mint Naan, which was not practical to make at this time of year since mint is not in season. The bread turned out golden brown and puffy, but a little too greasy for my liking, so I tried with each batch to cut down the amount of butter used to grease the pan, but that still didn't work. Next time I will maybe try to bake them in the oven at a high temperature. But overall they were delicious, especially with hummus and Massaman curry with Korean sweet potatoes.

Now that I mentioned the Korean sweet potatoes I must speak more about a new variety that I have recently been introduced to, Printer nine nights he do, (Ho Dak Sweet Potato), or literally Pumpkin Sweet Potato. It tasted like a bite of Thanksgiving. Recently a friend of mine was eating a kind of sweet potato that looked very unusual for a Korean sweet potato, so I asked her-what is that? She kindly offered me one and I took a bite and was suddenly in love. I ran home and told Rob all about them and he remembered the name and bought me some later that night when he ran out for a beer! I put them in my make shift cold cellar and learned the hard way that these beauties don't like that kind of environment as a few days later they were covered in green furry mold. I was bummed! Today while at the market I saw some and bought a bag. I had intentions of roasting a chicken for supper so I wrapped up a few in foil and cooked them alongside my chicken. As soon as I peeled away the foil and the reddish skin I knew I had purchased the same kind of potatoes that I had last week. I couldn't wait another second and my fork delved right into one. They are so sweet that no sugar needs to be added and they come with their own sweet syrup. Like I said I'm in love!

The Naan Recipe
Recipe from Cooking 4 All Seasons
Makes 10 pieces of bread

3 1 / 2 C all-purpose flour
1 / 2 t salt
1 t instant yeast (It is VERY important that you use instant yeast.)
1 1 / 2 C warm milk - not above 100F 1 t sugar
Butter to taste

1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk.
2. Let rest approximately 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast / milk mixture.
3. Mix in the salt.
4. Knead until soft and elastic.
5. Cover with a damp towel and leave in a dark place to rise until doubled, about two hours.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl, degas gently then divide into ten even balls.
7. Roll out into triangles, dusting lightly with flour as needed. I discovered that the thinner you roll it out the better.
8. Heat up a frying pan. (I used a cast iron skillet. I also liberally buttered the skillet.
9. Generously brush one side of the dough with water and begin to cook with that side down on medium heat.
10. Brush the other side with water.
11. The dough should bubble a bit as it cooks. Leave it on the heat for a few minutes, then flip it to cook the other side for a shorter amount of time.
Massaman Curry with Pumpkin Sweet Potatoes
Recipe by: Gretchen Brown
Makes 3-4 servings
1 Massaman Thai curry packet (I use one with 100% natural ingredients such as Nambji)
400 mL coconut milk
2 Pumpkin sweet potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 onion, chopped in chunks
1 TBS oil
2 TBS peanuts
1 TBS lemon juice
1 chicken breast cooked and cubed
1. Heat oil and onion and saute until translucent. Add curry paste and cook for about 1 minute until browned.
2. Add chicken and heat until browned.
3. Slowly stir in coconut milk. Add potatoes and peanuts. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
4. Serve with Naan bread or over rice.

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