Sunday, February 7, 2010

Indian Vegetable Bake with Naan Crust

I did not intend to take such a long break from EATS! Life just gets away from me and I find myself making and re-making old favorites that I've already published or if I try something new I don't have the time to type it up.

However, this recipe is so tasty that even if it takes me several weeks to make this entry, I want to share it. I was a very short-lived contributor to a food blog at one point and reviewed Laxmi Hiremath's The Dance of Spices and tested her recipe for Fragrant Dum-Style Lamb. The major draw for this dish, to me, was the fact that you top it with naan dough and bake it. MMMMM. Indian pot pie! Or, as I suggested in the naan post, Indian pasties!

I took huge liberties with Hiremath's recipe in this most recent making, and they were a huge success. The header notes of her recipe say that it's filled with cauliflower, but no cauliflower appears in the ingredients. I added some and also added peas. I omitted the mushrooms as unnecessary. Probably the biggest change is that instead of using lamb, I used Quorn tenders instead. They were perfect. If you are a meat-eater, lamb would be nice, but you could also use chicken breast. If you are a vegetarian who shies away from fake meat, you could use chickpeas as a protein.

While this dish was wonderful with the naan topping, we felt it would be nearly as good as a topping for basmati rice cooked with a few cardamom pods.

Though there is a certain amount of chopping involved and using a naan crust makes it more labor-intensive, it ended up being a reasonable amount of effort. Play around with the vegetables and proportions of things. Spinach might be a really nice addition. Or you could increase the amount of cashews.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c. vegetable oil, divided in two portions (I think I used less than this)
1 large onion, sliced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 large cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves (she called for 10 but that seemed extreme to me)
4 allspice berries
6 green cardamom pods
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (I used only about 1/8 tsp in deference to Elspeth)
1 package Quorn tenders
1/2 head cauliflower cut into small florets and pieces
3/4 c. peas (I used frozen)
1/4 c. carrots cut into rounds (1/2 c. or even 3/4 c. would be nice)
1 c. pureed tomatoes (I used canned and ended up using more like 1 1/4 cup)
1/4 c. plain yogurt (I used strained yogurt)
1/2 c. water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c. whole roasted cashews (or up to 1 cup)
1/4 recipe naan dough

DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat 2 TBSP of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  2. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is nicely caramelized (12-15 minutes)
  3. Remove the onions from the pan and puree them in a mini food processor or blender, then set aside
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until the paste starts to brown slightly
  5. Add the whole spices and cook until they're plump, about a minute
  6. Add the remaining spices and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds
  7. Add the Quorn tenders and the onion paste and mix until the Quorn is well coated with onion-spice paste
  8. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the pureed tomatoes. Continue cooking 6-8 minutes until the tomatoes have lost their raw smell
  9. Add the vegetables and stir to coat them with the onion-spice-tomato mixture. Cook for a minute or so
  10. Turn the heat to low and stir in the yogurt. Then add the water, salt, sugar and cashews. Simmer until the sauce is nice and thick, around 20 minutes (30-35 minutes if using raw meat)
  11. While the stew is simmering, preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  12. Take the 1/4 of naan dough and roll to the correct size and shape to cover your baking pan (9x13 Pyrex or a ceramic oval dish or the equivalent)
  13. Place the fragrant stew mixture in the baking dish and cover with the naan dough
  14. Bake until the naan is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes
  15. Serve with the remaining naan

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