Indian, from scratch

As most of you know, last weekend Ryan and I made Italian food from scratch.  We have made a new plan to cook one from scratch meal each weeked.  We usually go out to dinner for Friday night, but then we plan to cook a meal, from scratch, at home on either Saturday or Sunday.

So I present to you my new movement...From Scratch Weekends!  Here is the plan, I know many of you do cook from scratch already during the week, but I am talking all out here.  I am talking as close to all your own as possible.  This is the time to splurge on ingredients.  All fresh, even local and organic if you want.  Currently for us the theme is cultural cuisine, starting with Italian and then this past weekend we did Indian (see below).  I cook at home, but not always from scratch...some time parts are pre-made.  So for from scratch weekends I encourage you to make everything, even the bread you might eat with the meal from scratch.  So who is with me?

Ok, let's get to the cooking.  Ryan and I received this cookbook for our wedding.  The only problem was locating all of the Indian spices here on the island, so we made do with what we had.  We could not locate tumeric or cardamom, even in the local grocery store.  So we settled on no cardamom, and used curry powder.  I guess ya gotta be flexible.

At least we managed to find these ingredients.

Here are the recipes we were going to attempt.

The naan would take the longest as the yeast had to rise, but it ended up being the easiet.  Oh, and if you remember that the Italian took us just over 3 hrs, you will be pleased to know this only took 2 1/2 hours (not including rise time).  However, we did have an unfortunate event during cooking.  If I tell you, you will have one of 2 reactions...laugh or cry.  I think we could have done either when it happened. 

Here's what happened:  One dish was done, the naan was cooking up nicely and I turn on the stove for my second dish...low flame..hmmm.  Oh no, gas was running low.  With the high winds outside, Ryan grabs a flashlight, checks the tank, which is empty, goes to the tank for the clothes dry, disconnects that, and rolls it over to the kitchen gas hook up, and then we once again have gas.  Too bad we burned a few pieces of naan, but we were on our way to cooking again.  The timing was at precisely the worst point ever it was like "really, right now?".  But other than that set back, here are the pics of the evening, and the end result of scratch weekends.

Mixing up the dough for the naan...

Nice looking dough.  One thing I loved about this was that there was yogurt in the dough.  I have never made naan before so I do not know if this is normally how it is made, but I liked it.

Other prep work included soaking the basmati and lentils...

Next up was working on the kitcheree.  This was neat because I got to fry up some garlic with a cinnamon stick.

Then added some curry powder, 1 cup rice and 1 1/4 cup lentils.

Then water was added to cover with about 1 inch liquid and cooked for 30-35 minutes.  Yeah, I burned the bottom because when the gas went out I removed it from the heat, but left it in the pan and didn't stir it again and I knew it was already sticking to the bottom.  Oops!

Naan time!

We wound up using some oil on the digital griddle and cooking the one side there.  This recipe called for cooking it on one side, brushing the uncooked side with butter and then placing in the broiler.  During the gas incident, they were in the broiler and that is how a few got burned.

Last thing to work on was the Phul Gobi which was peppers and cauliflower.  Again, no tumeric, so we used curry powder.  The first step was cooking up the onions and curry, then adding cauliflower for about 10 minutes and cooking with the lid on.  Then I realized there was not enough room in my pan to add the peppers so I switched to a large pot.

The end result: Candle lit dinner for 2!

Here are some close ups of the finished products:
Phul Gobi-

I love the colors on the cauliflower dish.  Next up...
Kitcheree- The lentil and rice dish

and homemade naan bread-

The best part of having made this many pieces of naan is that we froze the rest so when I make the TJ's prepackaged Indian dishes or even have an Amy's frozen Indian meal, we will now have the naan to go with it.

Here is Ryan's plate.  He was the winner!  See, he got the cinnamon..it's off to the side.

And my plate. 

Scratch weekends this past weekend was a success!

We are looking forward to next weekend's from scratch meal.  I think I know what we will do.  We also have some great cookbooks coming, although between the recipes all of you post and the internet in general who needs to buy books.  I just like having a "reference" library.  I ordered the vegetarian times cookbook and a 1 year subscription to the magazine.  I also ordered Julia child's cookbook (yes we recently watched Julie and Julia), so that will give us some French ideas.  Ryan ordered a Mexican cookbook, and I also ordered some pasta machine cookbooks.

So, I just want to remind everyone that until we moved I never really had time to cook.  It was not that I didn't know how, I could actually cook, I just didn't.  I am not a great cook, but I am enjoying trying.  What I like about being in the kitchen with my husband is that cooking becomes an activity and a way to spend time together and bond, practice team work and be relaxed (hopefully!).  So, if you are married, engaged, dating, have a roomie, or just even single living alone but have friends, spend one weekend night making a meal from scratch and really spend some time on it, with people you care about.  Get creative, get dirty, get fresh and get healthy!  This is my current inspiration...I want to say that I can do it.  I can make pasta from scratch, I can make naan bread from scratch, and I will make many more complete meals FROM SCRATCH in 2010.

QUESTION: So who's with me on FROM SCRATCH WEEKENDS?

12 comments:

Beth said...

I'm with you Melinda! I hope you try out some of the stuff I put up on the site--I'm trying to think of how to make some things vegetarian (like the recipe that went up today) so the veggies among my readers can enjoy!

And I'm pretty sure I have that same apron :-) My dad gave it to me for Christmas!

Mer said...

all about it - http://twitpic.com/otdyv (i hope this link works)

Mer said...

crap, i think it was a bad link. oh well - we made Indian from scratch a few months ago...there's a pic on my twit pic page @MeredithRae

Melissa said...

I tried naan for the first time this weekend. I've never had Indian food but between the naan and your post, I really want to try!

I don't know if I'm ready to cook from scratch. It would be a challenge for me to make one semi-homemade meal per week.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of cooking from scratch. I am trying to get more involved in the kitchen. I love that you guys are pulling from different cultures. I never make bread from scratch which would be fun to try!

Astra Libris said...

I am so excited about your from scratch weekends! SO awesome! I can't wait to see what y'all fix last weekend! We love to cook meals together on the weekends last night too, and we always make more elaborate dishes than during the week (last night I made homemade yeast bread, and Zach cooked shrimp and broccoli :-) - I love how you've made it a true tradition, though! I'm also very impressed that you made naan from scratch - I've always wanted to, but somehow thought it would be more intimidating than other yeast breads... Thank you SO much for inspiring me to get in the kitchen and fix some naan! :-)

Julie said...

wow i LOVE your from scratch weekends! can't wait to see what else you come up with :)

Chow and Chatter said...

wow awesome you even made naan great job proud of you girl and great for vegetarians

lots of love Rebecca

sophia said...

Oh. My. God. You are my HERO!! you are just too amazing for words...such kitchen courage! I love it! What's next? I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I agree, you are one heroic bride! Lucky hubby! Define "from scratch"...I may be up for a challenge : )

Gina said...

I'm all in on from scratch weekend! Hopefully I can keep up....I will try! Your posts are very inspiring! The food looks so good.

I used one of your comments on my blog for my NBC4 segment today. When you commented that Christine from the Drive Thru Diet had only been on a 1750 calorie diet, yet she was 55 pounds overweight.....um, that doesn't work! I used that in my clip because I thought it was a fantastic point!

Anonymous said...

Love making food from scratch on the weekends - its one of my favorite things to do - hell most nights, not just the weekends!

Glad, even with the gas mishap, that this turned out for you - I am just starting to like curry and I love the naan bread!

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