Hi inter-webs, Joe here. Recently, Rebekah asked me to do a guest post on Ragamuffin Diaries after we had a meal that focused on a few things up my alley—Chole Palak (an Indian curry) and naan.
You see, in the little food world that exists in our cabin, there are many things that Rebekah does and only a few things Joe does. It’s true, I help out with food prep, brainstorm recipes, and of course enjoy eating them (no peanut butter pork chops yet! Sorry, inside joke). But my main food contributions are the weekly staples: large quantities of hummus, an occasional curry, and nearly all things “kneaded”.
These foods became my realm of expertise because when I’m not around Rebekah, they comprise the vast majority of my food consumption (the rest usually coming from peanut butter). Living in the Midwest, curry is the magical food that set me apart from most cooks my age. I had learned to make curry while in England studying abroad. A friend of mine loved cooking, grew up eating curries, and learned from his mom, so I got a few lessons and began improvising my own curries.
There’s something to be said for winging a recipe and hoping it works. And with curry it usually does work. But there’s also something to be said for making an authentic dish as it is traditionally made (hopefully). Lately, we’ve been getting into the specific curries of different cultures, which is where Chole Palak comes in… (Chole meaning chickpeas, and palak meaning spinach.)
Also, a side note, I was extremely excited to make naan using homemade yogurt and ghee! I’m normally allergic to dairy, and have tried a vegan naan in the past that didn’t work well. Luckily in Fairbanks, Rebekah has been able to get raw milk locally, which I strongly recommend to anyone that can do it. I have experienced first hand the difference between pasteurized homogenized milk, and the raw stuff. My body literally cannot process foods with even a little bit of store-bought dairy in them, but my body can handle foods made with raw milk. The difference is real.
So… onward to delicious naan (made with homemade yogurt and ghee!), and Chole Palak. Enjoy!
Note: the naan is not vegan, but the curry can be made vegan simply by using olive oil instead of ghee.
2 c flour (can use white or whole wheat)
1 tsp yeast
3/4 c lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey, optional
pinch baking soda
2 Tbsp oil
2 1/2 Tbsp yogurt
ghee, for brushing
Mix together the yeast, honey (if using), and water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until frothy. Mix salt, baking soda and flour together, then add oil and yogurt. The dough will be crumbly! Add yeast and water, and knead until dough is smooth. Cover & keep in a warm place for 2-3 hours, or until about doubled in size. Heat oven to 500 degrees, with a pizza stone or cast iron pan inside (a heavy duty pan is needed to provide quick thorough heat). Knead dough for 2-3 minutes; divide into 6 parts. Roll each piece into about an 8 inch circle or oval. Before placing in the oven, wet your hands and flip naan between your palms. Then quickly place on the heated pan. Cook in the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with some ghee. Wait 2-3 minutes to let oven reheat before cooking next one. Keep cooked naan warm in a towel.
Chole Palak (Chickpeas with Spinach)
1 1/2 c dried split chickpeas, soaked overnight (chole) (You could use whole, canned chickpeas here if you’re short on time)
5 c chopped spinach (palak)
28 oz can chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
ghee, or olive oil
1/2 tsp amchuur powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp red pepper, to taste
1 tsp salt, to taste
2 tsp garam masala
Cook chickpeas. Lightly blend tomatoes, jalapeno and ginger to make a chunky puree. Heat oil; add cumin seeds and cook until they pop, then add the onion and garlic, cooking until transparent. Add tomato puree, amchuur powder, coriander, tumeric and red pepper, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add spinach, salt and 1/2-1 cup water, and cook for another 4-5 minutes covered. Add the chickpeas and mash lightly, adding more water to obtain desired consistency. Add garam masala, and cook on low heat until heated through.