We're mostly vegetarian, meaning we don't eat red meat or poultry at home, although we occasionally eat fish, and are more flexible when travelling. As well, I have a digestive intolerance to onions and garlic (try explaining that one in restaurants), so I often have to get creative with savoury dishes. This makes it even more satisfying to find a new recipe that we all like, and which I don't have to modify for our restrictions.
If you try out these recipes, I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we did! Both these dishes take time and some preparation, so they're good for a winter weekend spent at home.
1 medium butter-nut squash (or other orange-flesh winter squash), about 1 1/2 pounds or 700 g
2 tbsp ghee or butter
1/2 - 1 tsp garam masala
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili flakes
8 cups (2 L) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) brown basmati rice
1/2 cup (125 ml) red lentils
salt, to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove stem from squash, cut in half length-wise, and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on a baking dish, and bake for 30-45 minutes. Squash should be soft and caramelised. Let squash cool, then scoop out cooked flesh and mash or press through a food-mill.
2. Melt the butter/ghee in a soup pot at medium heat. Add the spices (the amounts depend on how much seasoning you enjoy. You can always start with a little, and add more at the end), and simmer in the butter for about a minute, until they become fragrant. Add the water and increase the heat to medium high. Once the water is boiling, add the rice, cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the rice for about 20-25 minutes, until tender.
3. Add the red lentils, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until they are soft.
4. Stir in the cooked squash and season with salt to taste. Thin with hot water if it's too thick. Warm through if necessary.
5. Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with cilantro to serve.
I have no idea how authentic this recipe is, but it worked for me, and was very good. The bread takes about 1.5 hours to make, but if you time it right, will be ready at the same time as you finish the stew.
1/4 cup milk, heated until luke-warm
2 tsp bread yeast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt (not skim)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups unbleached flour, plus a little more for dusting/rolling
2 tbsp butter, melted
1. Place the yeast in a small bowl, and add the milk a little at a time, stirring gently. Set aside for about 10 minutes.
2. Whisk together the oil, yogurt, egg, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk and yeast mixture. Slowly add the flour until you get a soft dough. Kneed on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes, until the dough feels smooth.
3. Place dough in a floured bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
4. Preheat your oven to 450 F, or as hot as it will get. Remove the dough from the bowl, kneed gently to form a ball, then cut the ball into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball, and let rest for a couple minutes. Pull or roll each ball of dough into a circle about 7 inches across and 3/8" thick.
5. Place a couple baking sheets in the oven for a minute to heat up, then gently place the breads on the pans (I found I could get 2 per pan), and bake for 3-4 minutes - until brown on the bottom and puffed.
6. Remove from the oven, and turn on the broiler to high. While this is heating, brush the tops of the bread with the melted butter. Return the breads to the oven, just under the broiler, and toast until golden brown on top.
Enjoy warm naan bread with the stew above, or with your favourite curry!
P.S. The give-away contests from last week are still open until November 15, so don't forget to comment if you'd like a chance to win! Patterns, kit, magazine, toys.