Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Indian Food Palooza

I've been wanting to make Naan (Indian bread) for a while now. Recently, we went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant and of course we ordered Naan. This is what really motivated me to make it at home. And so I did. I had already bookmarked a recipe I saw on Marie's blog. But what to do with all that bread? And so the idea was born to build a dinner menu around the Naan. How about some chicken curry, aromatic basmati rice, and Indian Saag Aloo (spinach/potato)? Sounds good to me :o)

Homemade Indian meal

Obviously, lots of people enjoy Indian food. I visited Barb's blog, Creative Culinary, not too long ago, and learned that she was organizing an #IndianFoodPalooza event. Everyone's invited. All you have to do is blog about an Indian dish you've prepared. There are also some prizes to be won, so if you'd like to participate, you have until March 31st. You can find more details about the #IndianFoodPalooza event here.

The chicken curry and Naan recipes can be found here. The curry was pretty easy to make. Although the recipe calls for a crockpot, I was in a hurry and cooked in on the stove in less than 2 hours, using chicken breast instead of dark chicken meat. I skipped the yogurt addition in the end.

The Naan recipe was surprisingly easy. Since the recipe makes 12 Naan, I made half the recipe and used my bread machine for kneading. It's a very supple and soft dough to work with. Since I didn't have any plain yogurt, I used sour cream instead. The bread had a nice tang to it and was wonderfully soft.

I love spinach. As I was searching for a side dish to add to our Indian dinner, I went to one of my favorite Indian cookbooks: Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyer. I came across a recipe for Saag Paneer (spinach with homemade cheese) and settled on that. We're not big Paneer fans so I substituted the Paneer with potatoes, essentially converting the recipe to Saag Aloo (spinach/potato) :o) The author of this book, Raghavan Iyer, has graciously permitted me to print the recipe for this dish on my blog. Thanks Raghavan!

No Indian meal is complete without rice, so I employed my faithful rice cooker to make my aromatic basmati rice. I used 3 cups of basmati rice, well-rinsed, and added water per my rice cooker instructions. Then I added some salt, a few pinches of saffron threads, 1 tsp of black peppercorns, 1 tsp cumin seeds, and 5 green cardamom pods. Press the ON button and you're in business. 45 minutes later you have aromatic and fluffy basmati rice.

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby and I enjoyed this dinner very very much. Everything went together really well. It was spicy without being too spicy-hot.
  • The Naan was soft and great for soaking up the juices and scooping up the spinach.
  • Don't forget to check out Barb's #IndianFoodPalooza blog post.

Saag Aloo
(adapted from Saag Paneer recipe from Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking by Raghavan Iyet - reprinted with permission from author)
Yields: 6 servings

  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped gingerroot
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, not drained
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Garam Masaala (I omitted this)
  • Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and gingerroot. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is golden brown.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne, and salt. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer 7 to 8 minutes, or until a thin film of oil starts to form on surface of sauce.
  • Stir in undrained spinach. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until spinach turns a light olive green.
  • Stir in boiled potatoes to reheat the potatoes. Cover and simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until potatoes are hot. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in whipping cream and Garam Masaala (if using).


  1. This looks so delicious Hanaa! Thanks for posting the recipes...will make this for sure! We love Indian food!

  2. Everything looks great! Thanks for reminding me that it's about time to make naan again.

  3. this is really awesome, looks so good. i will surely try this at home for once .. thanks for sharing a wonderful dishes in the blog :)

  4. These naans look like batbout :), I've never made or taste naans before, thanks for sharing!

  5. This is a delicious looking meal! I love Indian food, and almost all curries goes well with any Indian bread. Your Naan bread looks wonderful! I have another book of Raghavan Iyer, 660 Curries. Love his recipes!

  6. I love the saag version, but have never tried to make it. I have made the cauliflower version of aloo and came out very well. Please send some of this for my dinner tonight :-)

  7. It's been a while since naan has been on the menu here- thanks for sparking the interest again!

  8. This all looks so yummy, Hanaa! I've made naan and it is easy. I keep the portioned dough in the freezer and pull some out whenever we get the urge to have it fresh at home (instead of from the takeout place that is a guilty pleasure). I love using my rice cooker...it makes perfect basmati rice every time, and rice is something I'm not good at on my own. :-)


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