Bengali Ghugni with Garlic Naan

Curried split yellow peas with ghee-fried green onions, tomatoes and chilies, served with oven-baked garlic naan..

Bengali Ghugni with Garlic Naan

For the Peas

1 cup split yellow peas, rinsed and picked over
3 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1-2 hot green chilies, chopped
6 green onions, including green tops, sliced
2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon ghee
fresh cilantro, chopped
salt

1/2 teaspoon hulled cardamon seeds
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon sweet cinnamon shards
1/2 teaspoon ginger root

Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a heavy saucepan.  Add peas, turmeric, pepper and curry leaves.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the peas are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Toast whole seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking often until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining spices and crush together in a mortar or spice grinder.

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onions and chilies (they should be sizzling) and sauté briefly.  Add tomatoes and cook until all the moisture has been absorbed.

Combined fried vegetables with cooked peas and season to taste with salt and the toasted spice mixture.  Add chopped cilantro and stir in 1 tablespoon ghee to finish, then serve hot with toasted naan.

For the Naan (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

8 ounces organic all-purpose flour (can use sprouted or soaked flour)
6 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted and mashed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
1/3 cup fresh whole milk, hand-hot
1 tablespoon ghee, melted, plus a little extra
1/3 cup plain yoghurt, lightly beaten
1 small pastured egg, lightly beaten

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour in the hand-hot milk, ghee, garlic, yoghurt and the beaten egg and mix it all together to form a ball of dough.  Place the dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until smooth.

Pour about 1/4 tsp ghee into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven and a heavy baking sheet to 500 degrees.

Punch down the dough and knead it again and divide into 9 equal balls.  While working on 1 ball, keep the remaining balls covered. Flatten the ball using your hands (or rolling pin) into a tear-shaped naan, about 6 inches in length and about 4 inches at its widest. Brush the top with melted ghee.

Remove the hot baking tray from the oven, grease it well with ghee and place the naan on to it.

Put the pan into the oven on the top rack for 2-3 minutes. It should puff up and brown slightly. It will go from browned to burnt quickly, so keep an eye on it.

Once puffed up and browned on one side, flip the naan and place back into the oven until browned, about 1 minute.

Wrap the naans in a clean tea towel and serve hot.

This post is in support of Meatless Monday, whose goal it is to goal is to help reduce
meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

Arab Orange Blossom and Sumac Pancakes

Sprouted spelt flour, cardamom pods, sumac berries and a light citrus syrup..

Arab Orange Blossom and Sumac Pancakes

Arab Orange Blossom and Sumac Pancakes

(adapted from a recipe by Michal Haines)

For the pancakes

2 1/2 tablespoons organic dry active yeast (about 1 pkg.)
1 1/2 cups warm filtered water
1 teaspoon non-refined sugar
1 1/3 cups sprouted spelt flour, sifted
2 teaspoons ground sumac berries
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cardamom seeds

Combine the yeast with 3 oz of the warm water. Stir in the sugar and let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour, then add the remaining water, sumac and cardamom.  Whisk until combined.

Cover the bowl and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour.  The batter will be very thick and bubbly.

For the syrup

1/2 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or 1/2 tablespoon dried orange peel
just enough honey or so that the syrup tastes neither particularly sweet nor tart

Bring the water to a boil, then add the lemon juice and sweetener and reduce to simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the orange blossom water and remove from the heat.

To assemble

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of batter for each pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Cook long enough so that the pancakes rise, but take care not to let them burn.

Dip the pancakes in the syrup and serve with strained yoghurt.  Garnish with toasted pistachios.

Savory Lamb Wraps

Local pastured lamb, green onions, vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic, fresh oregano, fresh mint, Greek yogurt, sea salt, cracked pepper.

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Sauté freshly-ground lamb in a small amount of ghee, coconut or olive oil until browned.  Add slivered green onions, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.

Spread yoghurt on the inside of pita or other flat bread and spoon lamb filling over the top.  Dress with fresh chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of fresh lemon garnish with fresh mint.


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Show Me The Whey pt. 2

In an earlier post, I took at look a using yoghurt as a source of liquid whey, which in turn can be used to make all sorts of great stuff like lacto-fermented ketchup or raisin chutney.  I also touched on some of the ways to use the solids that are left after the whey is removed.

In Show Me The Whey part 2, I take a closer look at some of the ways to use those solids, including a fresh cream cheese replacement and the traditional Middle-eastern labneh and oil-preserved, spice-coated dried labneh balls, all of which may be made at a cost of less than $5.

Once separated from its liquid whey, the solid labneh is ready for use as a replacement for cream cheese, including everything from a sweet or savory spread to crab & cream cheese wontons to cheesecake.  In this form, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to about a week, a little longer if salted.

Here, I’ve spread labneh on some thin pumpernickel (made from whole-grain sprouted rye) and topped with lingonberries & rosemary, fresh chives & black sea salt flakes and homemade orange-ginger jam with red pepper.  It would work just as nicely on a sprouted bagel with smoked salmon..

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Labneh on Pumpernickel with Assorted Toppings

Another good use for labneh is as labneh balls, which are made by rolling the labneh into balls, removing the remaining water by air-drying on absorbent paper for a day or so, rolling in spices such as dried mint or za’atar (sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt) and then preserving in olive oil.  Made this way, the labneh will last indefinitely on the counter (no refrigeration needed), or at least until it gets eaten..

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday