Brunch

Second to Naan

India has a staggeringly impressive street food scene and no matter where you go, you cannot help but stumble upon street food vendors and hawkers. The dizzying array of choices presented, will render you into a quandary, not knowing what to plump for. From different types of chaats to vada pav, to frankies, to the Bombay sandwich, to samosas, to ragda patties, to various types of kebabs and fish tikkas, to dosas, the list is endless. The sizzling options are overwhelming and available by the bucketload.

With the world having woken up to the blossoming street food industry, the punter now enjoys food that is fresh, fast and contemporary, with flavours that definitely pack a punch. There's a vibrant energy around any street food stall, a feeling of exhilaration and anticipation. Those emotions are almost certainly reflected at home whenever I tell my family that it's street food Sunday. The announcement usually elicits whoops of joy! 

Over the years I can undoubtedly say that I have mastered the art of making somewhat healthier street food by combining fresh, high quality ingredients to create dynamic, zesty dishes, bursting with flavour. Naan sliders are so often part of the ultimate weekend feast and I can't make them fast enough in my house, evidently a seal of approval! There are several stages to this recipe, but it is definitely worth the effort, all made easier with having everything 'mise en place!' Homemade naan topped with chargrilled marinated paneer or chicken, pickled red onions, coriander chutney and spicy yogurt certainly hits the spot. Slam dunk!

Chicken or Paneer Naan Sliders

Serves 6 : Makes 12 small sized Naans

Ingredients

For the Naan Bread:

  • 300g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 tsp Fast Action Dried Yeast
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 160 ml Warm Water
  • 25g Melted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • Butter for brushing the cooked Naans
  • Nigella (Kalonji) Seeds (optional)

For the Tandoori Paste

  • 4 Tablespoons of Greek Yogurt
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • Juice of half a Lime
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 3cm piece of Ginger
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1.5 tsp Paprika
  • 0.5 tsp Tandoori Masala

For the Yogurt Sauce

For the Pickled Onions

  • 1 Red Onion, finely sliced
  • 0.5 tsp Salt
  • 0.5 tsp Sumac
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • 1 tbsp of Coriander (finely chopped)

Additional Ingredients

  • 320g Chicken Mini Fillets
  • 450g Paneer (cut into thick slices)
  • 250g Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Sunflower Oil

Method

  • Mix all the tandoori paste ingredients together and then divide the paste into two bowls, one for the chicken and one for the paneer. Mix well and marinate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  • Prepare the dough for the naans. Mix together the fast action dried yeast, with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the warm water. Leave this for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the flour and the salt. I use a food processor with the dough hook, but you can do this by hand.
  • After 10 minutes add the yeast mixture, the melted butter, milk and warm water and mix into the flour until all the ingredients are incorporated and you've formed a sticky dough. If you're doing this by hand, knead for 5 minutes.
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rest in a warm place, and allow to prove for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Whilst the dough is proving, prepare the onions. Mix all the ingredients together, in a bowl; the onions, salt, sumac, lemon juice and coriander. Refrigerate until required.
  • In a separate bowl mix the yogurt and the green chutney (in the recipe section) together and refrigerate.
  • Once the naan dough has doubled in size knock the air out and divide the dough into 12 balls.
  • Heat a frying pan on a moderate to high heat. Roll each ball out on your board to the size of a small plate. The dough is quite elastic so you can shape it if you wish. You may need to use some dry flour to prevent sticking.
  • Cook each naan on the frying pan until cooked and slightly charred on both sides. Brush with butter and sprinkle on nigella (kalonji) seeds. Keep the naans warm in a low oven.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil into a griddle or frying pan. Cook the paneer until browned on each side and keep aside. Repeat in a separate pan with the chicken. Its better to do this in batches.
  • Place the naans onto a platter and drizzle some of the yogurt sauce, then top with spinach leaves, add cooked, sliced chicken onto half of the naans and pieces of cooked paneer onto the other half of the naans.
  • Top randomly with the pickled red onions. A few more drizzles of the yogurt sauce and then serve.

Tips

  • Since I don't have a traditional tandoor oven, the closest I can get to the original naan is cooking it on a hot frying pan. However, if you are cooking for a crowd, double the recipe and you can always cook several naans together under a hot grill. Just keep a close eye on them, otherwise they burn easily.
  • This recipe is ideal for a summer barbecue, eating al fresco. The naans can be cooked on the barbecue, as can the chicken and paneer. Put all the ingredients out and let everyone make their own. There's plenty for everyone, including the paneer for the vegetarians
  • We can't always make everything from scratch, and if you're short of time you can always use shop bought naans as a substitute. I do urge you to make your own when you can, you will not be sorry!
  • As always the recipe is open to personal interpretation. If you haven't made the green chutney (which is in my recipe section), improvise! Substitute it with grated cucumber enhanced with some salt and chilli and use this raita as your sauce. Alternatively, if you prefer, add a little mango chutney into the plain yogurt. Play around with flavours and have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh I Say

Yay, the heat is on! It's that time of year where I have no qualms of switching the television on during the day, casting aside any work that needs to be done, all in the name of that prestigious lawn tennis tournament that is Wimbledon. This tournament has been a big part of my childhood. From Dan Maskell's velvety voice and his iconic phrase 'Oh I say,' whenever a player produced an outstanding shot, to the traditional eating of strawberries and cream and of course most importantly, the spectacular tennis. Bjorn Borg was my tennis hero and I was lucky enough to witness his dominance of the grass courts at Wimbledon, in his legendary semi-final match against Vitas Gerulitis.

Wimbledon has been basking in the heat over the last few days and Pimm's seems to be the order of the day. There is a Punjabi version of a non-alcoholic cooler which is prepared during the sweltering hot days of the Indian summer. An Indian lemonade called Shikanjvi is made using lemons or limes, sugar, black Himalayan salt, (Kala Namak) and roasted cumin powder. This thirst quencher is an acquired taste and a sweetened version can also be made. It's basically the lemon juice that makes the drink so refreshing. I've concocted a summer cocktail that is cool and reinvigorating. So whether you're at Wimbledon, Henley Royal Regatta, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show or the F1 at Silverstone, revel in in these balmy nights, sip slowly and enjoy this delightfully refreshing cocktail.

Lemonade Cucumber Mimosa

Serves 4

  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 4 cm Piece of Cucumber, grated
  • 3 Sprigs of Mint
  • 3 Sprigs of Lemon Verbena
  • 120 ml Water, chilled
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 35 cl Prosecco
  • 4 Long Pieces of Cucumber

Method

  • In a small pan heat up the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear and not grainy. Allow to cool.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon and place into a cocktail shaker.
  • Add the cucumber, mint and lemon verbena. Muddle all the ingredients together in the cocktail shaker.
  • Add the chilled water. Put the top onto the cocktail shaker and shake away.
  • Divide the lemon mixture between the 4 Champagne flutes through a small sieve, filling a third of each glass.
  • Top each glass with Prosecco.
  • Concertina each length of cucumber onto a small cocktail stick and place into the glass.

Tips

  • I am a Champagne purist and I don't like to use it for Mimosas and Bellinis, therefore it is better to use a good quality Prosecco.
  • Obviously adjust your quantities according to your needs.
  • If you don't have any lemon verbena, just use mint, although I grow both in pots in the garden and it's easy enough to grow. It can also be used in Pimm's.
  • This Mimosa also makes a great brunch drink.

Breakfast for Dinner

I'm a breakfast kinda gal, so breakfast, brunch or brinner, it all works for me. Sunday Brunch is a firm favourite in our household, whether it be Cecconi's in LA, Balthazar in New York, The Delaunay in London, or our local vintage tea shop, which does a mean eggs benedict. Sundays are for Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Espressos, Macchiatos and some hearty food followed by sport; whether it be football, cricket, tennis, F1 or golf. You've certainly hit the jackpot if you can watch all of the above on the same day. 

Brunch is really a feast of any-which-way eggs, pancakes, French toast and an array of fruit-inspired treats. An Indian brunch however, conjures up images of paranthas, dosas, idllis, or poha. All carb-laden, but extremely delish, yummy and definitely moreish. Enjoy my Indian eggs with my refreshing Strawberry Lassi, a slightly sweet, fruity, yoghurt-based drink.

Indian Eggs with Tomatoes and Paneer

Serves 2

  • 4 Eggs, free range
  • 100g Paneer, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tomato, finely chopped 
  • 1 Green Chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper, freshly ground

Method

  • In a medium frying pan heat the oil and add the chopped onions and chopped chilli. Fry on a moderate heat, until the onions are golden brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and the paneer and fry for a further minute. The paneer will start to brown a little.
  • Crack the four eggs into the pan being careful not to break the yolks. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the egg whites are set. Place in a pre-heated moderate oven for 3-4 minutes. 
  • Grind some rock salt and some freshly ground pepper over the eggs.
  • Sprinkle the eggs with the chopped coriander.
  • Place the eggs onto a plate. The yolks should still be slightly runny.
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Tips

  • You can beat the eggs, rather than leaving them whole to make scrambled eggs. Add the beaten egg to the onion, tomato, paneer mixture and stir on a low to medium heat and then serve.
  • Enjoy the eggs with my detox kale salad.

 

Strawberry Lassi

Serves 4

  • 250g Greek fat free Yoghurt
  • 250g Strawberries, hulled
  • 500ml Water
  • 2 tbsp sugar to taste or Stevia equivalent 
  • 6 ice cubes

Method

  • Use a blender to blend all the ingredients together. Make sure that your blender has the capacity to crush ice, otherwise leave this out and add ice cubes into each glass after blending.

Tips

  • Use any variation of fruit that you enjoy, or leave it au naturel.
  • Mango, strawberry and banana are favourites in our house.