Monthly Mingle: Healthy Family Meals

When Meeta and her cohost, Michelle, of What's Cooking Blog, picked the theme of Healthy Family Dinners for this months Monthly Mingle, I'm sure Meeta had no idea that I was going to turn to her for my inspiration.

You see Meeta, in addition to being a photographer, blogger and extrodinairy cook and baker, is also a mother. She knows how important it is to feed her growing child good, healthy food. And she knows how important it is that the food taste good, or that growing child won't eat it. Fortunately, my children, like Meeta's son, are sometimes up for a bit of culinary adventure.

Since I have discovered that my boys love Indian Butter Chicken, I decided to try something similar, but different, which is where Meeta comes in: her recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. Yes, it involved more work than my oldest son's favorite jar of butter chicken sauce, or even of the homemade recipe I've made for butter chicken, but not huge amounts more. And most of it was just planning ahead.

Having an indoor grill is so handy!

That's one of the good things about a menu plan, especially one visibly posted where it can be easily accessed.

The recipe itself is not difficult, and Meeta's instructions are very good, so the only question I had to field to her was about canned cocktail tomatoes. For those of us not in Germany, use canned diced, they work just fine. And if you can't find red chilies, crushed red pepper flakes substitute well. Just be careful of the heat when feeding non-adventurous children.

To go along with this, I also made homemade Naan bread. I don't know where I printed this off from, but it says it was adapted from The Cook's Book, by Dan Lepard, and has some personalized instructions in it, things like, "I used melted butter because I love the flavor." Sounds good to me!

I know it doesn't look like I served a vegetable with this, aside from the tomatoes in the sauce, but I did. I just didn't put it on this plate for the picture. Because then it would ruin the prettyness of the tikka masala spread out across the rice. See that's how food bloggers think, isn't it?

Looking forward to seeing what else makes it to the mingle, with such a great and diverse theme to choose from. And now that I'm finally starting to feel better, I may be looking for some culinary inspiration from other families.

Go see Meeta, here, for the Tikka Masala recipe, but here is the Naan, with my notes now, not the ones on my printout.

Naan Bread
adapted from The Cook's Book, recipe by Dan Lepard, no idea where I got this from

2/3 cup water at 72F
1/3 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 cups cake flour
3 1/2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt (I don't think mine was low fat)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used kosher)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
sunflower oil, ghee or melted butter for kneading (I too used the butter and am just going to say butter in the recipe, but use whichever you want)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

In a small bowl, mix the water and yeast. Add half the flour, mix together with a fork, then cover the bowl and leave in warm place for 30 minutes.

Stir in the yogurt, then add the rest of the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix together with your hands into a soft, sticky ball. Pour 2 tsp of melted butter into the bowl and rub it over the top of the dough. Pick the dough ball up, butter and all, and squeeze it once or twice. Recover the dough, still in the bowl, and leave it to rest for 15 minutes.

Pour another 1 tsp of melted butter onto the dough, rub it lightly all over, before turning the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface. Knead the dough gently for 30 seconds, then return it to the bowl. Cover and rest for another 15 minutes.

Knead the dough, now a fairly smooth ball, on the oiled surface for a few minutes, then divide it into the number of breads you want to make (I think I had 5). Dust the portions with flour and leave them for 5 minutes.

Heat a wok or a nonstick skillet with a lid over medium heat.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it it out into a teardrop shape, dusting well with flour as you go. The dough should be quite thin when you are done rolling.

Lay the rolled out piece of dough in the hot pan, brushing the surface with a little oil, ghee or melted butter (though it is recommended if you use butter to mix it with a bit of oil so it will not burn so easily, which is what I did.) If using the herbs, have it mixed with the butter before brushing it on. Place the lid on the pan and leave for 1 minute. (This is enough time to prepare your next piece of dough.)

When the naan has risen slightly and is slightly browned on the bottom, flip and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a clean dish towel.

Repeat until all the naan is cooked.

Enjoy with some lovely Chicken Tikka Masala.

1 comment:

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Oh Jenny you make me sound - so overly human. I am not! I feel honored that you and your family enjoyed this meal. and yes having a grill in the kitchen is the coolest. great to have you mingle with us!