12 July 2010
keftka beef meatballs and homemade naan
How can you follow a meal like the persian chicken with jeweled rice with ramen? You cannot. So dinner two days later consisted of another very flavorful recipe, and wasn't really any more complicated to prepare.
I've made homemade naan before, but haven't blogged about it. I still plan on created a single post showing the process, though for now I'll just talk about how great this stuff is.
The recipe (found on AllRecipes.com - I will link to it at the end of post) is enriched with milk, an egg, and sugar and comes together quickly and allowed to rise for an hour. I've changed the process up by making the dough a day ahead of time and refrigerating it, though you have to make sure the dough comes to room temperature either before shaping into individual balls to let rest, or increase the resting time.
Naan are generally prepared in a tandoor, or clay oven, though you can cook them on a skillet or a grill. I chose a regular cast iron skillet, and next time I may try the skillet I have that has grill indents. I didn't time how long it took, but the first side took less than 2 minutes, and once flipped the other side needed less than 45 seconds. As soon as I placed an uncooked naan in the skillet, I brushed the side facing up with melted butter with garlic. The garlic flavor isn't overwhelming and adds a wonderful flavor boost to the naan. (A note: The skillet doesn't have to be heated to high, but medium will work just fine as long as you make sure to let it thoroughly heat before cooking.)
The best way to cook naan is to either have someone in charge of cooking them whilst you stretch the dough out, or get the process down so that as soon as a naan comes out of the skillet you're ready to put one in. Place cooked naan in a heated oven, covered, to keep warm.
Keftka is a Middle Eastern lamb meatball, though I subbed ground beef for the lamb. The ingredients from the recipe I used sounded incredibly good, with a spice trio of allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne powder. Also included is finely ground nuts (I used pecan, though the recipe called for pine nuts), and a processed mixture of onions with fresh cilantro and parsley. A different kind of meatball compared to its Italian counterpart, but every bit as delicious and definitely unique.
Instead of broiling these as a kabob type meal, the meatballs skewered on bamboo skewers, I formed them larger, browned them in a skillet, then set them aside. After I drained most of the fat away, I sauteed an onion with salt and cumin powder until soft, adding 2 cans of diced tomatoes that I pureed. When that mixture came to a boil, I added the meatballs back, reduced to a simmer, and let cook whilst I cooked the naan. A really simple and easy dish that produced a brothy tomato mixture that you could be sopped up by a couple naan. (I also removed the meatballs about 5 minutes before serving and let the sauce continue cooking at a higher heat until ready.)
The naan comes out so chewy, warm, slightly sweet with a hint of garlic. It's very difficult to just eat one, so I don't; I ate three. I once made a different version that was leavened by baking soda and yogurt, though I didn't like it as much as this yeast version. It lacked the sweetness I liked and it also wasn't as tender. It would have made a good substitute if you're pressed for time, once I tweak the recipe.
Keftka Kabob recipe